A long time ago in a land far away, I used to write plays. Then I went and wrote songs and played in bands for a while. Then I got a job and did all that stuff. And over the past few years I've been getting into writing short stories, writing articles, and most recently, writing and illustrating a children's book.
But every now and then one of those plays pops up, and I was contacted recently by a young woman who is studying my play Indiscretions (published in Playmarket's No8 Wire) as part of her high school coursework.
Then yesterday another play of mine, Painted Lips, was mentioned in an article about the fabulously talented Michelle Langstone and Caroline Bell-Booth.
It's kind of nice to get a reminder of my old work, at a time when my new work is starting to take off.
Well this is exciting - these are advance copies of the #Brucethecat book Bruce Finds A Home!
Thank you so much to Mary Egan Publishing who have done such a brilliant job on the production, and of course to all our Kickstarter backers - we literally couldn't have done this without you!
We're on track to send our books to backers in November as promised. If you didn't pre-order a copy, don't worry - they'll be available for sale through my website a bit later (I'll be sure to let you know when).
Video music by Bensound.com.
I've just returned from three amazing days in Auckland at the Storylines Hui - a conference for children's book writers and illustrators. Here are some notes from the sessions I attended...
Workshop: Great ideas and writing texts for picture books with Kyle Mewburn
Kyle took us a high-octane roller-coaster ride of his tips and tricks:
Workshop: Illustrating children's books with Gavin Bishop
Gavin took us through his journey into children's books, which began with a degree in fine arts. Listening to his story was an absolute delight. Here are some of the pointers I took away:
We all had the opportunity to pitch to publishers and agents if we wanted to. I pitched to three publishers. I need to work on my pitch, but I really appreciated the chance to meet the publishers and hear their feedback.
I'm including a line about our conference dinner because our table won third prize in the 'design a label for a bottle of wine' competition! We won for 'The Little Yellow Swigger' (other possible label ideas included 'The Wine in the Meadow' and 'Duck Drunk').
Workshop: Illustration for children's picture books with Vasanti Unka
I love Vasanti's work and her workshop was really useful. Some top takeaways include:
Workshop: Writing catchy poetry for children with Paula Green
I entered the workshop with some serious FOMO (David Elliot was giving a workshop at the same time, which I missed) but Paula's session was an absolute delight.
The conference finished with a wonderful speech from Joy Cowley, who spoke about the power of books to affirm and empower children. It was a fabulous hui and I'm already looking forward to the next one!
I'm on holiday!
Which means - over the next two weeks I'll be writing and sending away a submission or two, continuing to fulfill my custom Kickstarter rewards (I've done the custom videos and have just got the custom illustrations to go), trying to squeeze in as much reading as I can, and preparing to go to the Storylines Hui in Auckland this weekend!
Storylines is a network for children's book authors and illustrators, and at the Hui I'll have the opportunity to hear from legends like Tessa Duder, Joy Cowley, David Elliot and more. I'm also going to meet some local publishers and pitch a new idea to them. Wish me luck!
2023 Burns fellow Kathryn van Beek has an MA from Victoria University Wellington - Te Herenga Waka’s International Institute of Modern Letters. She is a winner of the Mindfood Short Story Competition and the Headland Prize. Her collection of short stories, Pet, is available as a podcast, and her work has also appeared in Overland, takahē, Newsroom, and the Sunday Star-Times. She lives in UNESCO City of Literature Ōtepoti Dunedin with her two rescue cats.