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June 15, 2011

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Narelle Oliver’s travels

November 16, 2010

More news from the road this week with Narelle Oliver landing safely home from a trip to Urandangi which is here:

And looks like this, after it rains:

“Urandangi State School has two resident pet kangaroos – Beanie and Stella (rescued as joeys by the teachers and now sporting disposable nappies and very happy),” says Narelle, “They hop around the school some days like extra students.” Here they are, Beanie is the one Narelle is feeding.

We want one!


Lunch with the PM by Sally Rippin

November 10, 2010

Well, I put on a frock and got myself down to Fed Square today for my lunch date with Ms Gillard. Today, the winners of the PM literary awards were announced.

I was 99.9% certain that I wasn’t going to win because I was convincedthat the winner would be given some notice to prepare a speech, despite being told by the organisers that this wasn’t the case and to prepare something anyway. Which, of course, I didn’t.

When the winner of the Fiction Award,Eva Hornung for Dog Boy, was announced (my pick!) she wasn’t there to collect it (apparently too busy collecting hay) so her publisher, Michael Heyward from Text Publishing accepted the award on her behalf. He had a very well-prepared speech on hand, which only convinced me even further that he already knew that Eva had won.
But THEN, when the non-fiction award was announced, the winner (Grace Karsken for The Colony: A History of Early Sydney) was standing not far from me and the look of genuine shock on her face chilled me to the bone. It wasn’t possible: surely they couldn’t just spring it on someone like that? That’s a heart attack waiting to happen! You’re talking $100,000 here – not a rose and a handshake. In my world, that’s life-changing stuff! (Or at least mortgage-denting.) However, despite being almost in tears, Ms Karsken pulled a very well-prepared speech from her handbag and read it out beautifully, even remembering to thank the PM and to call the minister for the Arts, Minister Crean, instead of just Simon, as I no doubt would have done.
This is when I went into panic mode. If the winners genuinely didn’t know they’d won, then I was still in with a chance! What was worse was that Martine Murray (the author of our shortlisted book) still hadn’t arrived and there was a very strong possibility that I would have to stumble up there on my own. At this stage I was thanking God I hadn’t worn heels. If my name was announced and I didn’t black out on the spot I would surely stumble walking up the stairs to the podium. And fall. On national television. Right into Our Julia!

When the YA winner (Bill Condon for Confessions of a Liar, Thief and Failed Sex God) was announced and his wife, Di Bates, squealed in excitement, the terrifying possibility of appearing with Ms Gillard on national television with no speech prepared loomed even closer. At that moment I tried frantically to recall all the names of people I would have to thank and, of course, not a single one came to me. My editor! She was standing just there! What was her surname, for god’s sakes? I had worked on THE BOOK with her for blooming months but my mind was a total blank. I could barely remember my partner’s name, and he was standing right next to me.
Then there were the other dilemmas that came flashing through my mind: do I take my handbag, or leave it? Do I offer my sweat-drenched palm to the PM or wipe it on my frock first? What was Mr Crean’s title again? Where was Martine, for goodness’ sakes? Was it too late to text her to see how far away she was? What if I was texting when they called my name. Oh, Lordy!
So, when Lorraine Marwood’s name was announced for her children’s novel Star Jumps, and I saw all the panic and shock rip through her body as she tried to decide whether or not to take her handbag to the podium, and whether on not she had time to fish around inside it for her camera, to be honest, even though the one hundred thousand tax-free dollars would have come in handy, all I could think of at that moment was: ‘There but for the grace of God go I.’
So, it was terribly lovely to be shortlisted, lovelier still to be at a fancy lunch with the PM (who didn’t stay to eat – she does have a country to run) but I tell you what, if I’m ever shortlisted for something again, I’ll be prepared!
Congratulations again to all the winners!

Cross-posted from Sally Rippin.

Great Northern Land

November 5, 2010

This week and next, several Booked Outers are going bush to work with 5 schools in Central North Queensland. Author/illustrators making the journey are Narelle Oliver, John Danalis and Dave Hackett from SE Qld and Jeff Raglus and Ann James from Vic.

John sent us this pic from the road. Literally.


Trust John Danalis to ride there


Michael Grant down under!

November 3, 2010

Michael Grant, author of the GONE series is in Australia this month to launch his latest book in the series, LIES published in Australia by Hardie Grant . Booked Out has him zipping around to schools all over Melbourne this week, starting with Wyndham Vale on Monday. Check out librarian Tye Cattanach’s post about the visit.