It’s been forever, I know.
First things first. Quintana of Charyn has been chosen as one of Kirkus Books Best Teen Books of 2013.
Next, here is the cover of the Penguin Classic edition of Looking For Alibrandi which will come out next April. Alibrandi turned 21 this year. It marked the beginning of my published writing career and it’s amazing to know that readers still see it as refreshing and topical.
Here is also an essay by the wonderfully talented Alice Pung, who wrote the multi award winning, Unpolished Gem, and Her Father’s Daughter.
When I read Alice’s essay I had a bit of cry. More than a bit. I have an antagonistic relationship with Alibrandi because I’ve spent so many years trying not to be defined by it, but Alice’s words made me remember the change it bought into the life of its shy, awkward writer. It made me remember how much confidence this novel has given me, and how it’s shaped every decision I’ve made as a writer. And more than anything, the essay reminded me of how the novel gave some of us a voice. I love where I live, but I grew up feeling like I was part of the minority and I still believe we need to work harder to share this country with others who don’t belong to a dominant culture.
Which leads to the wonderful work done by the Edmund Rice Centre when it comes to asylum seekers. The next link is the teaching guide for refugee issues across the curriculum. I’m proud that Finnikin of the Rock is on the reading list. The Lumatere Chronicles are certainly part of a response to the refugee crises and I’d encourage anyone in a classroom to work with the ERC’s intelligent teaching resource, whether you live in Australia or the rest of the world. The piece of dialogue from Evanjalin in Finnikin of the Rock that I’m most proud of is “It’s against the rules of humanity to believe there is nothing we can do.‘ and I’m always grateful to social justice organisations for reminding me of that.
Here is the link:
Next, but short and sweet, but I promise Jellicoe the film, is still happening, so be patient and watch this space in the new year.
Last, but not least, I rarely speak about my personal life, but this month I became a mum to a 2 year old. She’s a delight and has a sense of joy and hope in her eyes, yet I do believe she’ll make my hair go all that much grey in her teenage years, because she’s already so headstrong. No female protagonist I’ve ever written has prepared me for this…well perhaps Princes Jasmina. We’re finding our rhythm with each other at the moment, but I can already hear, in her laughter, the beauty in that song.