Tag Archives: Book Week

Winter update: books, mountains and Archie

We don’t bother too much with winter in Queensland, but this year it feels like we’ve overlooked it entirely. A couple of chilly mornings and that was it, which might explain why my photo gallery is looking so much more impressive than my word count. It’s been too glorious to be indoors at my desk. And who can resist pointing a camera at a bright blue winter sky or a perfect sunrise.

Certainly not me.

Unfortunately my propensity for posting winter snaps has prompted a few awkward questions, like: Are you still writing?

Well, yes, of course. (Social media counts, right?)

In truth I’m working on a project that is proving a little trickier than I had hoped. Some stories just fly off the keyboard, others need to be prodded and poked and considered from every angle. They reveal themselves slowly. Unfortunately the latter seems to be the case for this one. Hopefully the finished product will be worth the wait!

I can’t offer too much detail, but I can give you a taste of what I’ve been up to these past few months, when I haven’t been prodding my story.

Books

Book Week always puts a spring in my step.  This year I was invited to be part of the Ashgrove Literature Festival and also joined the celebrations at Faith Lutheran College, Redlands, sharing stories with an amazing bunch of kids who obviously really love reading. And what an inspirational group of  librarians, teachers and staff I worked with during the week. Three cheers for you all. I don’t know how you do that every day!

Mountains

Mt Warning (above): The remains of a volcanic plug in the Tweed River region of NSW. Magnificent tropical rainforest and stunning views over Cape Byron and the Border Range. A four hour return walk if you keep up the pace. The final stretch is steep and rocky. Make sure you wear appropriate footwear and watch your step!

Nothing beats writer’s block like a good walk in the bush on a glorious winter’s day!

Mt Cooroora (below): Best known as the venue for the annual Pomona King and Queen of the Mountain race. It’s a steep climb but the views over the Sunshine Coast hinterland are definitely worth the trek. Race winners get up and back in less than 30 minutes, but I’d allow one to two hours.

Archie

It’s Archibald Prize time!

A visit to the Art Gallery of NSW to see the finalists in Australia’s most prestigious portrait prize is a must, but getting the chance to frock up, admire the portraits and meet a few of the artists is a very special treat. I was lucky enough to be mingling with celebs of the art world last week: getting the low down from Prize winner Mitch Cairns on the vibrant portrait of his artist-partner, Agatha Gothe-Snape, and gleaning some insight into  the work of super-talented, Kim Leutwyler, who painted football star, Michelle Heyman, to secure a place in the Archibald exhibition.

 

Loved your work and your stories, and thank you for making me look cooler than I actually am!

Thanks also to my ever-glam book-group buddy, Elizabeth Blackwood for keeping me company while my hubby shared sartorial notes with iconic comedian Barry Humphries. Magenta rules!

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You come across the most surprising characters at the Archibald Prize Exhibition.

So, that was my winter. Now, back to some proper work!

Julie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Librarians Rock Book Week

A great big round of applause for all of the school librarians who made Book Week special. Love your work. It is such a pleasure to visit a school and see kids so excited about reading!

Here are a few highlights from my school visits. Thank you to the librarians, staff and students who made me feel so welcome!

 

Hope to see you all again soon!

 

Book Week stories

Celebrating Book Week with Uber Librarian Alison Findlay and Picture Book Queen Juliette Maclver
Celebrating Book Week with Uber Librarian Alison Findlay and Picture Book Queen Juliette Maclver

A massive round of applause to all of the school librarians who made Book Week rock. Far from being the buttoned-up noise-Nazis that we’ve come to expect, the librarians I’ve encountered love to see kids excited about reading, and they’ll happily put on a costume, throw a parade and lure authors away from their desks to get things going.

Holidays are normally fun – right? But when Jack Wilde, his brother Ben and their friends Lachlan and Mimi visit Hazard River nothing is normal. The gang comes up agaist rogue fishermen, smugglers and dodgy developers as they explore the River. How will they survive the summer?
Holidays are normally fun – right? But when Jack Wilde, his brother Ben and their friends Lachlan and Mimi visit Hazard River nothing is normal. The gang comes up agaist rogue fishermen, smugglers and dodgy developers as they explore the River. How will they survive the summer?

I spent Book Week with students from John Paul College and Churchie, in Brisbane, sharing the inspiration for the Hazard River series.

Things started for me with a holiday on the Noosa River. My sons teamed up with friends and spent the summer exploring sand banks, dodging sting rays and snakes. I had to write about it.

Hazard River student picI’m delighted to see Shark Frenzy, Bat Attack, Snake Surprise, Tiger Terror, Blood Money and Toads’ Revenge still entertaining kids five years after the first book in the series was published.

The stories are fast-paced and action-packed with a subtle message about the environment. Even though there are very angry animals on the covers (thanks to Illustrator Extraordinaire – Marc McBride), the baddies are rogue fishermen, dodgy developers and smugglers.

Hazard River student picsOne class I worked with came up with some very creative answers to the big mystery in Shark Frenzy. Why did a dead shark wash up on the bank of Hazard River? Perhaps it was killed by a zombie diver. Or maybe it was  a rogue chicken.

You’ll just have to read the book and find out!

Hazard River student picBook Julie for a school visit.

See the Hazard River teachers’ notes.