recent news and the stella prize schools program nsw launch

stella prize schools program launchI can’t believe it’s almost September! The last few months have been busy. At the end of May I was privileged to be a part of the Reading Matters Conference, where I met a whole bunch of fabulous people including the great folk at the Centre for Youth Literature (if you don’t know about them already I recommend you check them out). I also met some amazing authors, local and international, and was lucky enough to speak on panels with Clare Atkins, Priya Kuriyan, Sean Williams and Jared Thomas.

In June I visited PFLAG Western Sydney to talk about The Flywheel. Those PFLAG-ers – what a bunch of legends.

In July I was invited to be writer in residence at Inside A Dog, where I blogged about diversity in YA fiction, writing great characters, making great sandwiches and cats who give birth to chihuahuas, among other things: you can check out my posts here.

Earlier this month I chatted to Neil Phipps at Eastside Radio about The Flywheel and gay YA.

Next month the fun continues. I am very pleased to be part of the celebrations at the launch of the Stella Prize Schools Program in NSW. Authors Randa Abdel-Fattah, JC Burke, Emily Maguire and I will be discussing the ways unconscious bias affected our teenage reading habits, and how our books seek to address contemporary issues around gender and diversity. The panel will be moderated by Stella Prize Schools Coordinator Bec Kavanagh, and followed by book signings and refreshments.

Do join us!

Where: Sydney Story Factory, 176 Redfern Street, Redfern NSW 2016
When: 5:30–7:30pm, Wednesday 9 September
Cost: Free
RSVP: schools@thestellaprize.com.au

keeping it real at the sydney writers’ festival

SWFIn very exciting news, on 24 May I will be at the Sydney Writers’ Festival talking about The Flywheel and realistic young adult fiction (no vampires allowed) with some seriously awesome YA talent. Also on the panel are New York Times bestseller Laurie Halse Anderson (whose latest book, The Impossible Knife of Memory is a cracker), Australian writer Barry Jonsberg, author of the wonderful My Life as an Alphabet and It’s Not All About YOU, Calma!, and the legendary Melina Marchetta, who has written some of my favourite books of all time (If you haven’t read Looking for Alibrandi and Saving Francesca start TONIGHT). Event details are on the SWF website

first book club with kill your darlings at readings

KYD event flywheelI had a great night at Readings Carlton Bookshop on 26 March for the First Book Club, presented by the lovely folk at Kill Your Darlings. Veronica Sullivan (also one of the Melbourne Writers Festival 2015’s 30 under 30) led a great discussion about the book, which was followed by questions from the audience. I really enjoyed meeting everyone and chatting about The Flywheel, why I wrote it, and where it came from. If you’re interested in reading more about my influences you can check out the piece I wrote for KYD prior to the event.

a mighty book launch

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAflywheel1OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn 7 February The Flywheel was officially launched. It was awesome. Gleebooks hosted, Events Manager Elizabeth Allen gave a beautiful intro and Hilary Rogers of Hardie Grant Egmont did a splendid job of sending The Flywheel off into the wide world. Thanks to everyone who came and made it such a special day.

launch of the flywheel

the flywheel cover

It is with great pleasure and excitement that I announce the launch of The Flywheel! It will be held on Saturday 7 February 2015 at 3.00pm at Gleebooks, Glebe, in Sydney. For details and to book a spot click on this link.

Seventeen-year-old Delilah’s crazy life is about to get crazier. Ever since her father took off overseas, she’s been struggling to run the family’s café — The Flywheel— without him and survive high school. But after a misjudged crush on one of the cool girls, she’s become the school punchline as well. With all that’s on her plate she barely has time for her favourite distraction – spying on the beautiful Rosa, who dances flamenco at the tapas bar across the road.
Only her best friend Charlie knows how she feels about Rosa, but he has romantic problems of his own. When his plan to win an older woman’s heart goes horribly wrong, Del is the only one who can help Charlie stay out of jail.
All this leaves Del grappling with some seriously curly questions. Is it okay to break the law to help a friend? How can a girl tell another girl she likes her without it ending in humiliation and heartbreak? And – the big one – is it ever truly possible to dance in public without falling over?

istanbul artist in residency program

istanbul rooftops

I just returned from Istanbul where I was on a residency at Maumau Works, which is situated in the Beyoglu region of the city. I was there with Chicago-based writer Emily Robbins, Boston-based artist Bahar Yurukoglu, Capetown-based writer and artist Tazneem Mononoke Wentzel and Pau Cata, director of CeRRCa, an Artist in Residency program in Catalonia. I had an incredible time learning about Istanbul and Turkey and meeting artists working in different media in different parts of the world. If you are interested in undertaking an international residency, do apply. I found out about Maumau on Res Artis. Transartists is another site worth checking out.

thrilled to be a reading matters 2015 author

The Reading Matters conference is a biennial youth literature conference that explores YA issues and trends and celebrates new as well as established young adult writers. The 2015 conference authors were announced today and I’m absolutely thrilled to be one of them.

The conference will be on 29-30 May at the Arts Centre in Melbourne (how good is Melbourne?). Thanks so much to the Centre for Youth Literature at the State Library of Victoria for the invite!

You can find the full list of Reading Matters 2015 authors here.

the list on saturday

 Lighthouse3I love a dinner party scene. It’s an author’s chance to get the whole cast together and have them interact. The characters perform their social graces with various amounts of charm and hypocrisy. Then, as the night wears on and the drinking increases, relations deteriorate. People get nasty, say rude things and attack each other with cutlery.

Today’s List: My Favourite Dinner Party Scenes in Fiction:

1. To The Lighthouse, Virgina Woolf

Hosts: The Ramsays

Guests: William Bankes, Lily Briscoe, Charles Tansley, Augustus Carmichael, Minta Doyle, Paul Rayley

Menu: Soup, Boeuf en Daube.

Highlights: Mrs Ramsay wears “her golden haze”; the Boeuf en Daube is a “perfect triumph”.

2. American Pastoral, Philip Roth

Hosts: Seymour “Swede” Levov and Dawn Levov

Guests: Bill and Jesse Orcutt, Shiela and Shelly Salzman, Marcia and Barry Umanoff, the senior Levovs.

Menu: Cold cucumber soup, steak, red onion, shucked corn, beefsteak tomatoes, baguettes, strawberry-rhubarb pie, Burgundy wine, lots of Scotch.

Highlights: Seymour Levov learns his wife is having an affair with their architect (“why, beneath the florid expanse of Hawaiian shirt, were his hips and buttocks moving like that?”); Jessie Orcutt stabs Seymour’s father with a fork.

3. There But For The, Ali Smith

Hosts: Gen and Eric (GenEric) Lee

Guests: Hugo and Caroline, Richard and Hannah, Miles Garth and Mark Palmer, Terence, Bernice and Brooke Bayoude.

Menu: Lamb tagine and couscous (omelette and couscous for Miles), brûlée, wine.

Highlights: Terence knows a great deal about musicals; Richard calls Terence a “fucking pansy”; Miles goes upstairs “between main course and the sweet”, locks himself in one of the bedrooms and stays there for months.