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14 April 2008 ·

Minneapolis and the Public Library Conference

After a few days in sunny Santa Monica, I headed for Minneapolis and the Public Library Conference. It was massive – I think there 15,000 attendees – mindboggling! And so many stands, with so many books… it’ll feel like Christmas when my parcel arrives, because once I’d decided to send a box it seemed sensible to fill it properly.

Minneapolis is also the home of Lauren Stringer, the artist who’s just started working on my picture book text, One Night. Her home’s a fascinating old house, a type I’ve always wanted to live in, full of amazing art, and it was one of those rare and wonderful meetings that feels much more like picking up an old friendship than meeting for the first time. I can’t wait to see what she does with the story.
One of the first books that I saw of Lauren’s was ‘Our Family Tree’, which is quite magical – and I also really love her latest, “Winter is the warmest season”.

We held a preview screening of Nim’s Island for the conference attendees on the Thursday night; it was a lovely atmosphere; people laughed and clapped and asked great questions afterwards – very encouraging as to what audience reactions were likely to be when it actually came out. Best of all, at least on a personal letter, was that I was able to relax and see it as a film, separate from me, and just enjoy it, so I didn’t even cry till Nim did, near the end.

I also met Ingrid Lawes, author of Savvy, at dinner after the movie. The book has gone in my box to read when I get home, but the first sentence convinced me – I predict a great future for the book, and for Ingrid.

It was also great to meet some young Nim fans at a signing at Barnes and Noble in Maple Grove, and then the many librians who came to the signing at the conference the morning after the screening.

Of course Minneapolis was a good reminder of northern winters; there was still snow on the ground, and a snow storm prediccted for the Friday we were due to fly back to LA – I was quite happy that didn’t eventuate!

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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