BREAKING NEWS: Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Awards Announced

shortlist2It’s the sticker that is instantly recognisable for generations of Australians. The tick of excellence for a future Australian classic. The seal of approval by the Children’s Book Council of Australia.

The CBCA is a volunteer run, not for profit, organisation that was established in 1945 and is comprised of branches of individual members who are passionate about children’s and young adult literature.

Congratulations to all the winners of this wonderful honour.

9781742758510 Older Readers:

* Felicity Castagna – The Incredible Here and Now (More…)

* Melissa Keil – Life in Outer Space (More…)

* Will Kostakis – The First Third (More…)

* Allyse Near – Fairytales for Wilde Girls (More…)

* Fiona Wood – Wildlife (More…)

* Claire Zorn – The Sky so Heavy (More…)

Younger Readers:

* 9781921977565Anna Branford, illus by Sarah Davis – Violet Mackerel’s Possible Friend (More…)

* Julie Hunt – Song for a Scarlet Runner (More…)

* Catherine Jinks – City of Orphans: A Very Unusual Pursuit (More…)

* Barry Jonsberg – My Life as an Alphabet (More…)

* Dianne Wolfer, illus by Brian Simmonds – Light Horse Boy (More…)

Early Childhood:

* 9781921720161Janeen Brian – I’m a Dirty Dinosaur (More…)

* Mem Fox, illus by Emma Quay – Baby Bedtime (More…)

* Libby Gleeson, illus by Freya Blackwood – Banjo and Ruby Red (More…)

* Alison Lester – Kissed by the Moon (More…)

* Jan Ormerod, illus by Andrew Joyner – The Swap (More…)

* Dianne Wolfer, illus by Karen Blair – Granny Grommet and Me (More…)

Picture Book of the Year:

* Margaret Wild, illus by Freya Blackwood – The Treasure Box (More…)9780734410672

* Nick Bland - King Pig (More…)

* Bob Graham – Silver Buttons (More…)

* Danny Parker, illus by Matt Ottley – Parachute (More…)

* Doug MacLeod, illus by Craig Smith – The Windy Farm (More…)

* Shaun Tan – Rules of Summer (More…)

Eve Pownall Award for Information Books:

9780733331176* Christopher Faille, illus by Danny Snell – Jeremy (More…)

* Peter Gouldthorpe – Ice, Wind, Rock (More…)

* Mark Greenwood, illus by Terry Denton – Jandamarra (More…)

* Paul Ham – Yoko’s Diary: The Life of a Young Girl in Hiroshima during WWII (More…)

* Rae Murdie, illus by Chris Nixon- Meet Captain Cook (More…)

* Laklak Burarrwanga and family – Welcome To My Country (More…)

BREAKING NEWS: 2014 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards Shortlists Announced

The shortlists for this year’s NSW Premier’s Literary Awards have been announced.

In their 34 year history, the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards have honoured many of Australia’s greatest writers and most significant works. The Awards help to establish values and standards in Australian literature and draw international attention to some of the country’s best writers and to the cultural environment that nurtures them.

Minister George Souris MP, Minister for the Arts welcomed the announcement of the shortlist. “The NSW Premier’s Literary Awards promote national and international recognition of our dynamic literary community and the work of our talented writers,” Mr Souris said. “The Awards continue to support and encourage great Australian writing, and demonstrate the value and importance of reading to the people of NSW.”

CHRISTINA STEAD PRIZE FOR FICTION

* Georgia Blain - The Secret Lives of Men (More…)

* Richard Flanagan - The Narrow Road to the Deep North (More…)

* Ashley Hay - The Railwayman’s Wife (More…)

* Michelle de Kretser – Questions of Travel (More…)

* Trevor Shearston - Game (More…)

* Alexis Wright - The Swan Book (More…)

DOUGLAS STEWART PRIZE FOR NON-FICTION

* Kristina Olsson – Boy, Lost: A Family Memoir (More…)

* David Hunt – Girt: The Unauthorised History of Australia (More…)

* Gideon Haigh – On Warne (More…)

* Michael Fullilove - Rendezvous with Destiny (More…)

* Steve Bisley - Stillways: A Memoir (More…)

* Peter Butt – Who Killed Dr Bogle and Mrs Chandler? (More…)

PATRICIA WRIGHTSON PRIZE FOR CHILDREN’S LITERATURE

* Catherine Jinks - A Very Unusual Pursuit (More…)

* Jackie French - Refuge (More…)

* Penny Tangey – Stay Well Soon (More…)

* Katrina Nannestad -The Girl Who Brought Mischief (More…)

* Tony Davis - The Big Dry (More…)

* Mark Greenwood and Terry Denton - Jandamarra (More…)

ETHEL TURNER PRIZE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE’S LITERATURE

* Fiona Wood – Wildlife (More…)

* Barry Jonsberg – My Life As an Alphabet (More…)

* Kelly Gardiner – The Sultan’s Eyes (More…)

* Felicity Castanga – The Incredible Here and Now (More…)

* Alison Croggon - Black Spring (More…)

* A.J. Betts – Zac and Mia (More…)

GLENDA ADAMS AWARD FOR NEW WRITING

the-night-guest* Fiona McFarlane – The Night Guest (More…)

* Laura Jean McKay – Holiday in Cambodia (More…)

* Margaret Merrilees – The First Week (More…)

* Yvette Walker – Letters to the End of Love (More…)

Karen Foxlee, author of Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

ophelia-and-the-marvellous-boyThe Booktopia Book Guru asks

Karen Foxlee

author of Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy

Ten Terrifying Questions

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1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born in Mount Isa in far North West Queensland.  It’s a mining town a long way from anywhere but an amazing place to grow up. Our playground was the dry Leichhardt River, a few streets away from house, and we spent hours exploring there.  Mum would send us off in the morning with a 2 litre bottle of water and tell us not to annoy any snakes. I went to Barkly Highway State School and later Mount Isa State High.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

At twelve I wanted to be a writer, at eighteen a nurse (but secretly still wanted to be a writer) and at thirty, surprise, I wanted to be… a writer.

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

That I had to wear black stockings and boots with everything.

4. What were three works of art – book or painting or piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?

Adam Ant – Ant music! I can remember hearing this as a ten year old girl in our small town in the middle of nowhere, and realising how huge and exciting and unknown the world was to me! It made me feel creative, this song, and it was…. thrilling. Still get goose-bumps when I hear this song. I am transported.

The Reader’s Digest book Strange Stories, Amazing Facts. I know! Not high literature but it had such a huge impact on me as a child.  My siblings and I LOVED it.  It was so terrifying and interesting and horrifying.  Fingernails that grow after death, ghosts, doppelgangers, auras, spirit writing, and my favourite (which scared me senseless) – spontaneous human combustion!!!! It fuelled much of my early fantasy writing.

And then, of course, Andersen’s The Snow Queen, read to me by my mum. This fairy-tale planted the seed of a love for quest stories and terrible villains. The Snow Queen has been lurking around in my head ever since.

5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?
Karen Foxlee

It think because all my life I’ve had stories inside me wanting to be told.  I had to teach myself how to write and I still am learning every time I put pen to paper.  I can remember as a teenager always feeling like the words “controlled” me, not the other way around.  I had to learn how to control my prose.  I had to learn how to get those stories out of me. Every novel I’ve written I’ve learnt more about writing, about being creative and, most importantly, about myself.

6. Please tell us about your novel, Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy

Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy is about a little girl who peeks through a keyhole in a vast, crumbling museum and finds a boy being kept prisoner there.  Together, the pair of them, have to save the world from the wicked Snow Queen. There are frightening challenges and fearsome creatures and a giant clock ticking down to the end of time. Kids and adults who love quirky, fast-paced, exciting adventure fantasy, will love this story.

Publishers Blurb:

Eleven-year-old Ophelia might not be brave, but she certainly is curious. Her family is still reeling from her mother’s death, and in a bid to cheer everyone up, her father has taken a job at an enormous gothic museum in a city where it never stops snowing. Ophelia can’t wait to explore and quickly discovers an impossibility. In a forgotten room, down a dark corridor, she finds a boy, who says he’s been imprisoned for 303 years by an evil Snow Queen who has a clock that is ticking down towards the end of the world. A sensible girl like Ophelia doesn’t quite believe him, but there’s no denying he needs her help. Ghosts, wolves, misery birds, magical swords – and even fabled Snow Queens – do their very best to stop Ophelia. She will have to garner all her courage, strength and cleverness if she is to rescue this most Marvellous Boy.

7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?

Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy is about the power of friendship and never, ever giving up.  I hope that’s what kids and adults alike take away from it.

8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?

Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy I admire too many people to mention. There are so many wonderful Queensland writers right now! Kris Olsson, Melissa Lucashenko, Belinda Jeffrey, Christopher Currie, Chris Somerville, Annah Faulkner, Patrick Holland, Chris Bongers, Krissy Kneen.

 9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

To not be scared of the creative process and to be brave enough to write what moves me.  To keep learning and improving.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Just write.  Write and write and write.  Don’t worry about blogging platforms and marketing and networking and websites.  Just write.  Love your stories.  It’s old-fashioned, I know, but that’s how you become a writer.

Karen, thank you for playing.

Ophelia Blog Tour Banner

Vote For Australia’s Favourite Novelist 2014 – Final Round of Voting

There is only one more week of voting left to decide who is Australia’s Favourite Novelist!

This is the longlist as voted by you, congratulations to all the novelists for making it onto this extraordinary list.

But the job isn’t finished. We need your final vote to decide the order of the top 50.

Vote for all your favourite authors, and spread the word, tell your friends and family to get voting! The poll closes 5pm Saturday.

Next week we’ll announce the Top 50 as voted by you and decide who, in 2014, is Australia’s Favourite Novelist!

 

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Vote For Australia’s Favourite Novelist 2014 – Heat 5

January is the month of Australian Stories at Booktopia, and to celebrate we need your help to discover Australia’s Favourite Novelist for 2014!

This is it folks. Your last chance to push your favourite authors into next week’s final round of voting. Last year’s winner Kate Morton is also in this heat!

Next week we’ll have the top 100 authors from all the heats for you to vote for!

Remember you can select as many authors as you like with your vote and give them the chance to become Australia’s Favourite Novelist!

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Vote For Australia’s Favourite Novelist 2014 – Heat 4

January is the month of Australian Stories at Booktopia, and to celebrate we need your help to discover Australia’s Favourite Novelist for 2014!

Heat 4 is full of some huge names and exciting newcomers. Who will you vote for?

Thanks to everyone who has voted so far, the response has been incredible! And thanks to all the wonderful authors and publishers for spreading the word!

Remember you can select as many authors as you like with your vote and give them the chance to become Australia’s Favourite Novelist!

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Vote For Australia’s Favourite Novelist 2014 – Heat 3

January is the month of Australian Stories at Booktopia, and to celebrate we need your help to discover Australia’s Favourite Novelist for 2014!

Today’s list is full of the most popular writers in Australia today, it’s a tough one!

Remember you can select as many authors as you like with your vote and give them the chance to become Australia’s Favourite Novelist!

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Vote For Australia’s Favourite Novelist 2014 – Heat 2

January is the month of Australian Stories at Booktopia, and to celebrate we need your help to discover Australia’s Favourite Novelist for 2014!

Yesterday had some big surprises as Australia searched their hearts and bookcases, will today be the same?

A reminder that this is only Heat 2, so you might see some of your favourites missing today. Don’t worry, over the week you’ll have a chance to vote for all of your favourites in their respective heats.

Today’s list includes Nobel, Pulitzer, Orange and Miles Franklin Prize-Winners!

Vote now to see them advance to the final round of voting next week and have the chance to become Australia’s Favourite Novelist!

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Vote For Australia’s Favourite Novelist 2014 – Heat 1

January is the month of Australian Stories at Booktopia, and to celebrate we need your help to discover Australia’s Favourite Novelist for 2014!

We’ve taken your nominations and today is the day to put your votes forward. You can vote for as many novelists as you like.

A reminder that this is only Heat 1, so you might see some of your favourites missing today. Don’t worry, over the next 5 days you’ll have a chance to vote for all of your favourites in their respective heats.

Today we have brilliant bestsellers, acclaimed award-winners and exciting newbies! Vote now to see them advance to the final round of voting next week and have the chance to become Australia’s Favourite Novelist!

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GUEST BLOG: Six Masterclass Picture Books by Nicki Greenberg, author of The Naughtiest Reindeer

I love picture books in so many different ways: as stories, as works of art, as frolics, as meditations, and of course for the joy and fascination that they spark in my own kids. But sometimes I encounter a book that especially inspires me as a practitioner.

These are picture books that perform their dances with such mastery that I want to stand up and applaud – and then sit down again to study and learn from their moves.

Here (in no particular order) are six of the best: my current favourite master class picture books.


Frog and Toad Together

by Arnold Lobel

A master class in simplicity

Frog and Toad are all about understatement: deadpan dialogue, sober brown-toned pictures and quietly delivered punch-lines, with Frog playing the gracious straight man to his shambolic friend Toad.

The stories’ wit, poignancy and wonderful dialogue are especially impressive because the books are written as “easy readers” for children just beginning to read by themselves.

Most “readers” make you want to tear your own head off. But these are a master class in the weight and subtlety that simple language can carry off.

Click here for more details


Too Many Elephants in This House

by Ursula Dubosarsky and Andrew Joyner

A master class in visual and verbal balance

Every line in this book – whether of the written or the drawn variety – is perfectly formed and performed. And better still, text and image “pass” the storytelling back and forth seamlessly. Eric and his Too Many Elephants rampage through the book, but their moves are always wonderfully choreographed in daring, assured compositions. Fabulous.

Click here for more details


Doctor De Soto

by William Steig

A master class in humanity

Doctor De Soto is a mouse and a dentist who generally refuses to treat animals dangerous to mice. But one day he and his wife make an exception for a very sore fox. The humanity of these characters – ordinary (animal) people who have great ideas, make mistakes, work together, are brave in everyday ways, and sometimes take a day off – is beautiful. Steig’s lovely drawing style embodies this humanity: a master class in the strength and character of a wobbly line.

Click here for more details


The Great Paper Caper

by Oliver Jeffers

A master class in design

My favourite piece of picture book design: gorgeous page layouts combining quirky creatures, rich application of paint, landscapes of vibrating colour, clever collage and lots of visual humour and physical comedy.

I want these pictures blown up floor-to-ceiling size so I can live inside them.

Click here for more details


The Arrival

by Shaun Tan

A master class in world creation

Shaun Tan is kind of superhuman. In The Arrival he creates not only a linked collection of fantastical and meaningful outer worlds, but also invites us into the fully realised inner worlds of their characters – all without a word. It’s emotionally powerful, paced like a great piece of music and spectacularly beautiful. How does he do it?

Click here for more details


Madeline

by Ludwig Bemelmans

A master class in freedom

In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines / Lived twelve little girls in two straight lines… And those might be the only straight lines in the book! I love Madeline for the irrepressible spontaneity of Bemelmans’ writing and drawing style and of Madeline herself – a perfect conflating of form and content. This book reminds me of the importance of the happy accident: the magic that can happen when you let yourself doodle, daydream, riff on a catchy line, loosen up. A master class in letting go and letting rip.

Click here for more details


Nicki’s new book, The Naughtiest Reindeer is published by Allen & Unwin.

A gorgeous, funny Christmas picture book from an acclaimed CBCA award-winning creator.

Rudolf the reindeer was lying in bed with a runny red nose and an ache in his head. ‘I’m sorry,’ he groaned. ‘I just can’t pull a sled. You’ll have to ask my sister Ruby instead.’

It’s the night before Christmas and Rudolf is sneezing his little red nose off. So Santa needs another reindeer to help pull the sleigh. Rudolf’s sister Ruby is a little reindeer who always finds herself in BIG trouble. Will she find a way to bring her best behaviour? Or will she bring chaos to Christmas Day?

A cheeky and charming celebration of the Christmas spirit.

Grab a copy of Nicki’s The Naughtiest Reindeer here

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