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26 August 2007 ·

Festival season and deadlines

After all the excitement of being on the Nim’s Island set, (then a week getting over a cold – just life’s little way of bringing you down to earth again!) it’s now the Festival and Children’s Book Week time of year. At the moment I’m frantically revising the third Mokie and Bik sequel, and also doing a light edit on the second one which has just arrived back from Henry Holt with Jonathon Bean’s energetic roughs in place. I’ve been reading aloud from all three stories to try and ensure the same rhythm carries through. Luckily I haven’t found anything I want to change in the first book, the one that was published in July, but a few phrases in the typeset sequel – and of course lots in the new manuscript. I’ve been stuck on two words in the second paragraph for the last two days, but maybe today will be the day… I’ve promised to send it at the beginning of September, so wish me luck!

Last Wednesday I went the Chisholm Institute Festival, at the Frankston and Berwick campuses, and spoke to a couple of great groups of keen writers on the experience of having a book turned into a movie, and on Nim’s story generally. Aspiring writers are given so much gloom and doom news all the time – it’s important to remember that we all started off as aspiring writers once, and that there are no magic formulae except to go on writing the stories you need to tell, crafting them just the very best way you can – and go on hoping! Publishers may have huge slush piles, and sometimes close their doors on unsolicited manuscripts for a while, but the bottom line is that they all need and want to find new writers.

On the subject of new writers… I’ve been judging a short story competition for the Australian Women’s Writers, and next Friday will go up to give the awards. And then Saturday I’ll be speaking at Rosebud library at 9:00 am, and Hastings Library at 1:00 as part of the Mornington Peninsula Writers’ Festival. The sessions are aimed at children but I presume that anyone is welcome.

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Wendy Orr is a Canadian-born Australian writer. Her books for children and adults have been published in 27 countries and won awards around the world. Nim’s Island and Nim at Sea have also become feature films, starring Jodie Foster and Abigail Breslin (Nim’s Island) and Bindi Irwin (Return to Nim’s Island.) Her latest book is Cuckoo’s Flight, a companion to the highly acclaimed Bronze Age novels Dragonfly Song and Swallow’s Dance. Read full bio