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20 April 2008 ·

Nim’s Island – the blue carpet premiere

What can I say about this day? Incredible, surreal, overwhelming… the culmination of five years dreaming, planning, and working. Even though I’d already seen the film twice, and had the fun of the Australian premier at Seaworld, it still hadn’t seen quite real. But a whole day of a party to celebrate it… somehow I had to believe it: the movie is done, out there, and belongs to the world. By now I’ve had I don’t know how many emails telling me how much people are enjoying it, but on March 30 it was still very new and uncertain.

It felt a bit like a wedding day; my daughter and I had our hair done, did our makeup together, managed to eat a sandwich… and then we were all (husband, son, daughter and I) picked up to arrive at Graumann’s Chinese Theater by 2:00. I knew there’d be fans and people watching, knew there’d be press – but I just hadn’t imagined quite how many people there’d be; how much noise, and buzz and excitement. It was just extraordinary. I hadn’t expected the press would want to speak to me, but I was photographed till I was totally confused about whether I was supposed to be looking left or right, up or down – I’m sure some of the pictures show me looking like a deer in headlights! – and interviewed (that was easier; I can always talk!) It was lovely to see how interested journalists were in the story behind the story, of how I’d written the book and how Paula had found it. It took about 45 minutes to get up the carpet, and by the end I had even more admiration for the stars and how easy they make it look.

And such a wonderful cinema; I can’t imagine anything more special. In fact I can’t imagine anything more special than this whole day; watching with such a huge and appreciative audience, the party afterwards; seeing everyone involved and knowing that we’d done it. I can’t even describe the emotion: joy, of course, and relief, but I think gratitude was the primary one; gratitude to everyone who’s worked on it, to Paula Mazur for picking it up and running with it, and becoming my friend; to Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett, to Cary Granat and everyone at Walden… and to the three wonderful actors who brought my characters to life.

I have been extraordinarily lucky. I’m writing this from my parents’ home on an island near Vancouver, just near the small rocky islets that inspired my island story so many years ago, and gradually coming to terms with realising that the final result of that story is now out in the world, being shared with thousands more children and families right around the world.

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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