Archive for May, 2011

Squish Rabbit – First Copy

I love mail. Nearly everything is digital now-a-days, especially when it comes to correspondence, so more than ever it’s exciting to get mail with sticky tape and handwriting and creases and stamps. Just a few days ago I had a particularly exciting package arrive. My first copy of Squish Rabbit (the US version) came in a crisp white envelope, all the way from New York. It even had a handwritten note from my editor with it.

I was out with my partner when it arrived, so we had an emergency celebratory coffee just to mark the occasion. As you can imagine, there’s been much excitement at my house. Even my special little pup Frank has been caught up in the thrill of it all. I’m so proud of this book, and so grateful to everyone that has helped it to become all it is. Squish has been with me for a long time, so I’m thrilled to finally have his story in hardcopy.

For the first few days after it arrived I could be seen gripping the book, repeating the words ‘It’s a book! Look, it’s a real book!’ to anyone who would listen. But it’s slowly becoming more real to me that it will be in bookstores in just a few short months…

Booked Out

One of my favourite things about being a writer and illustrator is getting the chance to speak to children about what I do. Back at school, I remember having people from different backgrounds and professions come and speak to us. I remember listening to them and having new worlds of possibilities open up in my mind.

Now, as an adult, I’ve had the tables turn as I get to go back into schools to do the talking. Yet even now I end up feeling like I’m the one getting the most from it. I continue to have my mind open up as kids ask thoughtful questions and offer me new perspectives on my work. I come away feeling inspired, with new energy for what I do.

So I’m incredibly excited to have been recently signed up by the amazing Booked Out, a speakers agency for writers, artists and thinkers. I recently popped in to visit the team in their lovely rooftop office in Prahran, Melbourne. Their website says:

Booked Out is a speakers agency for the Arts. With roots firmly planted in Australian literature, Booked Out has long-established connections with all major and independent publishers and we count some of Australia’s most popular authors among our friends and colleagues.

I love doing school visits, literary festivals and running workshops for young people. I am also doing more adult based workshops, talking about the craft of writing and illustrating for children. Check out my profile on Booked Out’s website, and if you’re ever interested in having me talk or present, please contact them.

Squish Rabbit Downunder

I’m excited to announce that Squish is now officially an Aussie rabbit! He will be published here by the wonderful University of Queensland Press (who distribute through Penguin Australia) in early September. An extra bit of excitement for me is that UQ is my old stomping ground: I studied Occupational Therapy there and lived on campus for several years. I’ve been working with the delightful team of editors and designers at UQP, sprucing Squish and polishing him and preparing him for his downunder release. He has even been rumoured to be getting a special squishy cover…

I hopped on over to their offices yesterday afternoon to see the print proofs and they’re looking amazing! Have you noticed I’ve now used TWO exclamation marks in one post? And you know how much I hate those. I must be excited.

Stay tuned for details of the launch (which may just be on my September birthday, where this little rabbit will be exiting her 20s).

The Writer’s Studio – Guest Post

Tristan Bancks (author, actor, filmmaker, bloggerworld changer and general nice guy) is currently doing a “Writer’s Studio” special on his blog. Each week he’s profiling a guest author, having them speak about their writing space: how important it is to them, how it’s evolved and even making them provide photo evidence (suddenly writers around Australia have much cleaner offices).

This week I’ve appeared on his blog. Click here to hop on over for a peek into the decorated interior of my writerly habits.

Here’s a sneaky rabbit peek at the interview:

I wrote my latest book in a number of different places – in my mind, my office, my living room, my local coffee shop, my car. It’s a picture book, so I often write little bits on scraps of paper and scribble images on napkins, but then I do more formal work in my office at home. The space I write in is incredibly important to me – I believe physical space is as important in writing as mental space.

He’s already profiled a number of fabulous authors. Make sure to check out:

The Hill that Broke

I love small towns. They remind me of home, as I grew up in a small coastal town up in North Queensland called Mackay. There’s something that will always feel oddly comforting to me about wide quiet streets, kids riding bikes without helmets, dogs unchained and people with quick smiles and ready conversation. That’s how I felt in Broken Hill (NSW) where I recently spent a week stealing colour from the desert and writing in the sand.

We three in the local newspaper

I was there with my partner (in crime) David Stavanger, a talented writer and performance poet, and beautiful Melbourne based poet Matt Hetherington. We three were on a writing / illustrating residency funded by the local library, put up in a little white cottage on the north side of town.

Put simply, our time looked a bit like this:

Write, cook, eat, wander, write, scribble (in my case), sleep, meet locals, write, wonder, marvel at wide skies, scribble, laugh, drink milkshakes, write, talk writing, dream writing, eat writing, more sleep  –  basically writer’s heaven.

Matt and I looking like something out of a Kerouac novel

We each had projects we were currently working on, however part of the residency was also to develop some work based on our time in Broken Hill. We spent time meeting and mentoring local writers, doing interviews about our work and stealing librarian’s cars (for trips out into the desert and on milkshake seeking missions). The boys also did an incredible performance at a funky joint called The Palace Hotel, which has possibly the coolest front office in history (think taxidermy zoo crossed with British aristocracy chic) and ceilings covered in roman style frescos (done by an indigenous man who paid his stay with paintings).

I’ll do two more posts about our stay over the next few days, firstly about the things that inspired my writing and scribbling while in the broken hill, and lastly to post up some of the work I completed while there. In the meantime I’m back in bustling Brisvegas, missing the open skies and friendly laid back locals…

Bell's Milkbar, the Hill's infamous milkshake joint (would you believe David and I went 3 times in 6 days?)

About this Blog…

A blog of ramblings about the world of writing and illustrating for children, by an author / illustrator who might just have a thing for rabbits.

Katherine's picture books, 'Squish Rabbit' and 'Brave Squish Rabbit', are out with Viking (Penguin, US) and UQP (Australia). Please e-mail if you would like her to blog about something in particular.

All text & images  Katherine Battersby

Released Sept 2012:


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