Three book launches!

May 5th, 2024

It’s been a hectic month, with Fledgewitch released on April 4, followed by not one, but three book launches, all with the help of the State library of Tasmania.

The launches

In Hobart, MC Marylouise Jones dressed as a tree from the Floating Forest, and the kids from Albuera Street Primary School performed a scene from chapter 2, where Countess Xantha and Count Zaccar drag poor Brim away from home to the School for Prevention of Witches.

In Launceston and George Town, the MC was Lyndon Riggall (who was also starring at the Princess Theatre as a suspected serial killer, which was an … interesting combination). The Launceston performers were from Scotch Oakburn College.

Despite the best efforts of George Town Primary School, we couldn’t get together a bunch of kids to do the play. So we had to improvise with volunteers from the audience – which turned out to be hilarious fun.

I’m so thankful to the brilliant librarians in each case who helped make these launches possible.

Childhood haunts

While I was up north, I visited Windermere, where my best friend in high school used to live. The Tamar Valley is the landscape of my childhood – paperback trees and she-oaks – and I love it.

I drove around the narrow winding roads remembering where we used to ride horses, and finding my friend’s parents’ memorial plaques in the churchyard. They were lovely people, so it was nice going to say a quiet hello to them. And the Windermere church must be one of the most beautiful old churches in Tasmania, in one of the most beautiful settings.

Books to watch out for in May

There are two exquisite middle grade novels coming up this month, and they’re both getting rave reviews.

The first is The Kindness Project, by Deborah Abela. It’s Deb’s first verse novel, and although verse novels aren’t usually my thing, I love this one. It’s about four kids who are given a class project to make the world a better place. Trouble is, they don’t like each other … until they discover they have much more in common than they thought, including some pretty big worries.

I love the way Deb has used with different fonts and lettering to accentuate the action and the kids’ feelings about what’s happening. This is a playful book that addresses big topics in a very accessible way, and is full of warmth and good-heartedness.

The second book is Cora Seen and Heard, by Zanni Louise. It’s the story of Cora, who gets tongue tied at the worst possible moments and would rather hide in the library than step on a stage. But when her family moves to a small town in Tasmania to renovate an old theatre, she sets out to reinvent herself.

Zanni is justifiably well-known for her picture books, but she also has a wonderful capacity for writing heartfelt middle grade novels that capture the anguish and the joys of being young. Plus the idea of living in an old theatre is irresistible!

I saw both these books develop from the initial idea, and read them in manuscript, and am so very happy that they are now out in the world. Highly recommended, both of them.


I did an interview for ABC radio a few weeks ago, and they’ve added 4 minutes of it – where I talk about being arrested for busking, and dynamited while scuba diving – to Story Stream. You can listen to it here.

5 Writers 5 Minutes

On the podcast this month we’ve done a deep dive into the making of Fledgewitch, as well as talking about writing stuff that matters, creating realistic locations, and what to do when the writing gets hard. You can find all episodes here. And if you want us to address a particular topic, just let us know.

Thanks for reading!

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