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2016 Australian Book Tour

LW LaunchI am now just weeks away from my first trip back to Australia in over two years. While down under I’ll be launching my latest book, Little Wing (at Riverbend Books), as well as visiting many amazing schools, public libraries and various literary festivals. I’m so looking forward to seeing everyone and meeting lots of little readers!

Unfortunately I won’t be running any workshops for adult writers this time around, however I am doing a number of public readings and workshops for children, so if you have a young reader / writer / creator in your life, feel free to bring them along. If you’d like to catch me, here’s where I’ll be:

AUGUST

  • Sat 13th: Launching Little Wing at Riverbend Books, Brisbane
  • Mon 15th: Sunnybank Hills Library
  • Tues 16th: Grange Library
  • Tues 16th: Carindale Library
  • Wed 17th: Kenmore Library
  • Wed 17th: Wynnum Library
  • Thurs 18th – Fri 19th: Toowoomba Gammar School (private event)
  • Sat 20th: Beenleigh Library
  • Sat 20th: Marsden Library
  • Mon 22nd: Paddington C&K Kindergarten (private event)
  • Tues 23rd: John Paul College (private event)
  • Wed 24th: Islamic College of Brisbane (private event)
  • Thurs 25th: Ashgrove Literature Festival

SEPTEMBER

  • Wed 7th – Sun 11th: Brisbane Writers Festival
    • I’ll be doing a number of talks for young readers (find out more here) and will be around the festival each day, signing books and meeting little readers.

In between events you’ll likely find me in coffee shops, bookstores, weekend markets, by the river, on the beach and anywhere that houses friendly faces and serves tea. Following my time in Australia I’ll also be sneaking off to Vietnam for a few weeks to eat pho and dumplings, explore the mountains and find a little patch of beach to borrow.

See you soon, Australia…

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Facebook Author Page

You may have noticed I’m not using my blog as much as I used to. I still love blogging (and will continue to do so occasionally), but putting worthwhile posts together takes time when I often only have snippets in amongst busy days. But I do love online worlds – connecting with those who love books and other writers and parents and little readers and fellow rabbit enthusiasts. In many ways I’ve found my Facebook Author Page has taken over. As a platform I find it more immediate and a lot more interactive. I can post up photos and links daily and people can send me things too, and then conversations flow and fun things happen. So if you haven’t found me over there yet…

CLICK HERE (yes, here)

Feel free to hop on over, as I’d love to meet you. And just in case you’re wondering, these are the kinds of things I’ve posted in the last month or so…

A sneak peek of the latest project I’m working on:

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The novels I read week to week:

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The delightful literary luggage tag a friend gifted me as I headed off on an adventure:

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The only rabbit that has stayed still long enough to be photographed since I arrived in Canada:

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A couple of gorgeous illustrated books I picked up in Cuba. They’re in Spanish of course, but luckily I have a Spanish speaker in my household:

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The only rabbit I spotted while in Cuba, down a side alley in Matanzas:

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The gorgeous sunset we were treated to at a literary event in Brisbane called ‘Romancing the Stars’:

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And finally a special February Valentine’s Day wish from both Squish and I:

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Hope to see you over there

Shhh… Deadline Looming

This is a bit of an apology really. Because all has been quiet on the Western Front (aka. my blog) for a while now. Posts have been sporadic at best, even though I’ve had plenty of things I’d love to blog about. But I do have a good excuse, if you’re willing to listen…

I have been holed up in my writerly burrow, working to deadline on book 2. I’ve been researching the shape of a squirrel’s paws, quietly observing the oddities of chickens, and creeping back into the mind of one very small rabbit. What fun.

Once I can carve out a little more time, I’ll be back on the blogosphere with posts about:

  1. The Melbourne launch of Squish Rabbit (Saturday 5th November)
  2. What it’s like writing to contract
  3. Creating a picture book series
  4. Pictures of strange rabbits (which I’ve been collecting on my travels)
But for now, please accept this peace offering – a sneaky peak illustration that may just end up in book 2:
Now I’d better get back to it, otherwise I may end up like Mr Hitchihiker’s Guide to the Galaxy…

I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by  …..~  Douglas Adams

Rabbity Book Launch

As of yesterday, Squish Rabbit is now officially in Australian stores! Only a few days now until the Brisbane book launch, which will be held at the glorious Black Cat Books in Paddington. Please join us if you can.

There may even be an appearance from a little furry friend…

(click on the image to see a larger version of the invite)

Whitsunday Voices

Dear blog: will you ever forgive me for so neglecting you? I was off gallivanting (how often does one get to use that word?) with other writers and illustrators, lovers of literature and hordes of enthusiastic kids. And not just anywhere, but in the balmy, sub-tropical, north Queensland town of Mackay. Can you see now why it’s taken me a while to come back down to earth enough to blog?

This year’s Whitsunday Voices Youth Literature Festival was easily the highlight of my writerly times to date. Everyone involved was energetic and engaging, from the organisers and school staff to the 5000 students who attended over the two days. The event was buzzing with story in all its forms: books, art, poetry, movement and music. I had a number of student minders allocated to me over the festival, and I hope they know how much I appreciated their smiles and conversation (even amongst the stress of making sure I got to each room on time – thanks girls). I got to meet some incredibly creative youngsters in my illustration workshops, where we made our own textured papers and created different interpretations of an Australian bush scape. The book talks were also great fun, where we got a bit silly in creating some monster characters. In one session we designed a monster based on a giraffe, and below you can see some of the results (I particularly like the spacey monster).

Writers get the reputation of being a bit reclusive, but this certainly isn’t the case when you get them all together. The other writers and illustrators involved were not only incredibly talented and inspiring to be around, but also genuinely lovely people. Gus Gordon is a hoot, and I had kids quoting his jokes at me in the playground (Gus, I might have stolen a few for my own use). PDMartin was my festival sister, and in her sessions shared some fascinating stories of the research that goes into her crime novels. Ruben Meerman (aka The Surfing Scientist) was just as energetic and entertaining as he is on TV. Ghostboy was the beating heart of the festival, leaving a trail of poetry and mischief in his wake. There were so many other incredible creators and I feel really lucky that I got to spend an intense couple of days with them all. I know I’ve come away from it with some good friends and kindred spirits.

Probably the best group photo, although unfortunately I'm not in it. From left to right: Michael Wagner, Ghostboy (David Stavanger), Tristan Bancks, Gus Gordon, PDMartin, Deb Abela, John Danalis, Ruben Meerman and James Roy

Gus, me and Deb in the hotel lounge before the big dinner

The festival finished off with the big literary dinner, decorated (as described by Ghostboy I believe) like a Tim Burton style prom night. There was much talking. Much drinking. And it almost goes without saying: much dancing. There might be photo evidence of the latter, but for the sake of all involved they wont be going up on this blog. I have been accused of dancing on tables in the past (Michael Gerard Bauer, I’m looking at you) but I will just say this – there was certainly some tabletop dancing, but not by me.

So much goes into these events and yet they always seem to pass in the blink of an eye. And with all that it’s over for another year. I’m home again, trying to adjust to the cold and rainy Adelaide winter and get back into my writing / illustrating projects. It’s not going to be easy, but thoughts of other festivals to come will keep me going…

Collaboration

Sorry I’ve been a bit absent of late. I’ve been squirrelling (or rabbiting?) away on the edits of Squish Rabbit, with lots of to and fro with my editor and art director. When I say this, people often react with something like ‘How much are they making you change?’ I’m surprised so many people feel this way, because I’ve always imagined creating a book is a collaborative process. And not just something that was forced on people, but rather a positive process – something to be excited about.

In no other industry do people work alone. When I was an Occupational Therapist, I might have seen my clients alone, but I had regular supervision sessions – a place where I could openly discuss cases with someone more senior than myself, so we could share the decisions. I also worked in an office with countless other OTs and allied health professionals, and we were constantly discussing cases and throwing ideas around. I loved that process. Even those in private practice organise supervision or maintain links with public services for support and learning.

Yet when it comes to creative pursuits, people harbour this ideal of the ‘lone creator’. The individual slaving away at their desk. The isolated mind. The single genius who creates entire worlds. Ha!

In a way, this image terrifies me. I’d go insane if that was me. Not only that, but I know that my work would never be the best it could be if I worked in isolation. I rely on others’ feedback, in all stages of my writing and illustration – from the very first, rough idea, through to the finished manuscript.

My editor and art director have been so good for me. With encouragement and constructive feedback, they’ve helped me to take the story to a new level. I’ve learnt so much, things that will change the way I work from now on. It wasn’t always easy, but sometimes the most challenging bits of feedback are the most important.

I know not everyone is as lucky as I’ve been. I’m working with people who clearly respect me as a creator, and are focussed on nurturing my vision for the story. But I do think that collaboration can be a wonderful thing, not something to be feared or shunned.


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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