Christmas Press have just put up a great little trailer for Four Up In Lights, my chapterbook with Cheryl Orsini, which comes out in September. Have a look!
I’m delighted to reveal the gorgeous cover of Four Up In Lights, the third and final in the fun little chapter-book series I’ve created with the wonderful illustrator Cheryl Orsini. The series, which has been very popular with young readers, is about the funny, fast-paced adventures of four friends who just happen to be vintage vehicles–two cars, a motorbike and a tractor–and I’ve really loved writing it, and loved, too, collaborating with Cheryl, who has made our four friends come to such lively, characterful and endearing life! Four Up In Lights will be released in September by Christmas Press, and is a sequel to Four On The Run(2020) and Four All At Sea (2021).
Isn’t the cover just beautiful! And below the cover you can also see the books as a set–they look pretty good together, don’t they!
I’m very pleased to announce that Cold Iron, The Green Prince and The Firebird, my three YA fantasy novels that were originally selected for the fabulous Untapped project and republished as ebooks available to buy and borrow, will now also be republished in print, by Brio Books/Booktopia. The books were originally published in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, and were popular with readers, so it’s wonderful to see them acquire a new lease of life in both print and e-editions. And just look at their striking new print covers, below! (You can also see a link to the page for each book, under its cover.) The novels are being published over July, August and September this year within the Untapped series, which includes lots of other wonderful, previously out of print books by a large range of fantastic Australian authors, both for adults and young adults. You can check out the whole series here. All books are available to be pre-ordered now.
Last night was the opening of my Angel Time exhibition with the wonderful painter Angus Nivison, at the New England Regional Art Museum in Armidale. It was so exciting to see it up: it looks absolutely wonderful, so gorgeously and imaginatively displayed, immersive and extraordinary, my words and Angus’ striking, haunting artworks flowing in and out of each other beautifully. As well as my poems, song lyrics and prose fragment displayed on the walls next to the paintings they are inspired by, there are several audio readings, accessible via QR codes, of extracts from my novel The Ghost Squad which directly inspired others of Angus’ paintings, and also a ‘word cloud’ which is projected onto translucent hangings: looks so spookily effective! There was a big, interested crowd present and lots of great comments–people were really intrigued by it. The exhibition is on till August 28, so lots of opportunities for people to see it! Below are some pics from the exhibition.
This was an absolutely fantastic creative collaboration, the whole way through, and I am so grateful to Caroline Downer and Arts North West for initiating it, and to Rachael Parsons, Belinda Hungerford and the whole NERAM team for showcasing it so magnificently. And of course, the very warmest of thanks to my co-creator, Angus Nivison, who’s not only a most extraordinary artist, but also a lovely, generous human being and a real pleasure to work with!
Today I met with the wonderful locally-based painter Angus Nivison, as well as Arts North West director Caroline Downer, New England Regional Art Museum Director Rachael Parsons and NERAM exhibition director Belinda Hungerford, to plan the final stages for a wonderful collaborative exhibition that Angus and I are creating. Called Angel Time, it will open on July 1 at NERAM and will go till August 28. It is something that grew out of an Arts North West workshop last year called Looking Both Ways, where artists and writers were paired together to create joint works. Angus and I led that workshop and part of it was that he and I would then create works for an exhibition this year. Angus had recently read my book The Ghost Squad and to my delight he loved it so much that he decided to use it as the basis for a series of paintings, based on certain elements of the book and its themes and allusions. Then, based on my seeing these paintings, in my turn I created some new pieces for several of his artworks: poems, prose, song lyrics and more…As well, for several of the paintings directly inspired by incidents or moments in the book, I’ve recorded short readings from The Ghost Squad.
It’s been such an inspiring and exciting process–and today, with both painting and word-based works created, it was all at the stage where we could sit down with the NERAM directors and talk about how it will all be shown in the physical space of the gallery. It’s going to be just amazing, I can’t wait!
And it’s a cracker! By Dianne Bates, it was published in Buzz Words magazine today, May 23 2022.
Here’s the full review:
Inside Story: The Wonderful World of Writing, Illustrating and Publishing Children’s Books compiled by Sophie Masson, Kathy Creamer, Beattie Alvarez, and Peter Creamer, edited by Jen Scanlan and Sharnee Rawson (United Publishers of Armidale) PB RRP $29.99 ISBN9780648815457
Reviewed by Dianne Bates
Here is an invaluable resource and reference book for aspiring writers, illustrators, editors and designers or anyone interested in Australian children’s books. It is the first publication by the newly formed UPA, a collaboration between two independent publishing houses: Christmas Press and Little Pink Dogs, in association with the New England Writers’ Centre. And what a comprehensive and beautifully designed and presented book it is! Designed by Rae Ainsworth, the book covers all aspects of writing, illustrating, and publishing children’s books. It includes a section on what happens in the publishing process, how to pitch to publishers, alternative publishing models, useful organisations, and resources.
On each page there are coloured photographs and graphics, break-out boxes, and information (and advice) from a wide range of industry workers. Colourful double-page spreads introduce each topic, and there are also numerous lists of children’s books under headings such as picture books, illustrated storybooks, fiction anthologies, graphic novels, and more. Any inspiring author would benefit from the advice and tips offered by authors, agents, editors, publishers, and illustrators such as Stephen Axelsen, Pippa Masson, Ian Irvine, Jenny Blackford, and dozens more.
There is, as one would suspect, a clear bias towards books published by Christmas Press and Little Pink Dog Books, but other publishers shine in the book, too. It’s gratifying to see that the compilers have included poetry collections and anthologies, with advice from editors and compilers. Ursula Dubosarsky, Richard Tulloch and Duncan Ball share information and tips for writing plays, with Ball sharing his discoveries as former editor of The School Magazine.
In the tail end of this very engaging book is a list of useful organisations and resources for everyone, including editors, designers, and publishers. Numerous publishers have granted permission to use images from their titles, and there is a page of acknowledgements to the many people who have contributed material (and crowdfunding income). Interestingly, there’s a double page spread at the end of the book with photographs and biographies of the compilers, editors, and book designers.
There are many hours of interesting reading in this comprehensive book. Highly recommended!
The print edition of A Hundred Words for Butterfly is now available through any bookshop, across Australia! Returning from my big five-week trip to Europe–including to the Basque country–I was delighted to receive copies from my lovely publisher, Bronwyn Mehan of Spineless Wonders, and to meet in person with her and SW team members Camilla Cripps and Bettina Kaiser, on a beautiful sunny day in Sydney!
Something a bit different: a little video I made about an ocean voyage, from Australia to France, on a French ship, through the Pacific, Carribbean, Atlantic and then Mediterranean, a voyage which I went on as a child, with my family. It was an amazing trip whose memory still lingers in my mind, and which has inspired scenes in more than one of my books. My dad documented it all with his trusty super8 film camera, my brother-in-law recently converted the films to MP4 files, and I’ve made the video from screenshot stills captured from the films. I hope you might enjoy it!
My latest post on Writer Unboxed is about integrating all kinds of narrative forms–such as for instance, newspaper articles, blog posts, transcripts of audio or radio, and more– within a novel, in order to extend the main narrative. Hope it’s of interest–read it here.