Sunday 10 March 2013

Canberra is celebrating 100 Years!

                                       Happy Birthday Canberra

It's Canberra 100th Birthday and so much is happening in the Capital. The weather is absolutely brilliant and the events lined up to kick off the celebrations all weekend are amazing. It's going to be a big weekend!

On the 8th March I headed off to see the Enlighten Festival. What a visual delight it was.
I started at the National Gallery and walked to Old Parliament House, across Reconciliation Place towards the National Library soaking up the atmosphere and clicking away at every visual display change on the icons. Along the walk back- I stopped to take more pictures of the Portrait Gallery and back to sit and soak up he stunning designs on the Gallery. The artwork of Toulouse Letrec as  never  seen  before. I hope you enjoy the pictures and can appreciate the magnificence of the buildings and the artwork.


The National Library by day-

The National Library at night

The National Library- featuring Walter Burley Griffin, his wife Marion and part of their winning design for Australia's Capital City- Canberra in 1913.


The Portrait Gallery

The National Gallery

Outside The National Gallery- Parisian themed boulevarde

The Parisian theme- National Gallery

Nancy Bentley wins ACT Writing and Publishing Awards 2012- Children's section

At the ACT Writers Centre Christmas party in late December 2012, I was thrilled to hear my name announced as the winner of the ACT Writing and Publishing Awards 2012- Children's Section. 

My beautiful, true, story of six year-old, Nancy Bentley The First Australian Female Sailor was chosen as the winning entry. It was a marvellous moment, and the prize of a gift voucher from Paperchain Bookstore, Manuka, was a pleasant surprise. 
Best of all- I received hundreds of fabulous gold stickers to place on my books. I have never valued stickers so much in my life.

Illustrated by my friend and a very talented illustrator- Jacqui Grantford. Published by New Frontier Publishing

The ACT Writers Centre Christmas party was a delightful evening. After the Awards I got to meet with the other winning authors for a photo-shoot.

Winners of the ACT Writing and Publishing Awards- 2012

Me celebrating my win. I was very excited.
My book and the Award

The Gold stickers

This the beautiful floral arrangement I received from my publisher-  New Frontier Publishing. The arrangement arrived a few days later and was such a wonderful surprise. My dearest thanks to Sophia and Peter Whitfield, who own, and run a fabulous Publishing House and treat their Authors like family.

Saturday 10 November 2012

Busy times with a new writing project

My work in progress. I needed to really spread out so took over the dining room table.
 Since August I have been very busy working on commissioned work for Walker Books. (I shall tell all when I can) So it has been head down and work, work, work.  This has kept me locked away in my study, and libraries  researching, writing and editing for months.   I have  completed the project before my deadline date (first stage at least) and will be back to editing for publication very soon. It has been a wonderful project to work on and so very interesting. It will be exciting to announce what it is when I am able to.

A few weeks ago, on the spur of the moment, I flew down to Melbourne to meet with my Publisher and was fortunate enough to meet up with lots of writing friends while I was there for the 2 days. (note*** they are all very brilliant Australian Authors) It was great to meet and have dinner and catch up on news.

Dinner  the first night with sensational children's authors and Publisher  (L-R)  Karen Tayleur, Claire Saxby, Sue Lawson, Maryann Ballantyne (Walker Books), Corinne King, Carole Wilkinson, Bernadette Kelly & me

My second night out- Meredith Costain, Boori Bryor, Frane Lessac, Mark Greenwood and me ( reflected in the mirror Paul Collins- Ford Street Publishing)

This past week has been devoted to other things. I started  on making over my study. It seemed like a great idea until I got in such a mess I wished I'd never begun anything. I sorted piles of papers, boxes, tidied manuscripts and also off-loaded and donated hundreds of books during the moving stage. Below is the chaos of throwing all the books you own on the floor. Not recommended for the faint-hearted.

The piles of books I removed from my shelves. Can't believe I owned so many.

 After two days of hard work it was - out with the old desk and shelving and in with the beautiful new desk and new shelving.

I still have some sorting to do, pictures to hang and rearranging of how I want things- but I'm loving my new work environment.

Tuesday 16 October 2012

Literary Award winners Announced 2012

 Speech Pathology Book of the Year Awards 2012

The Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Awards were established in 2003. The awards are presented annually for excellence in the development of children’s speech, language and literacy skills.
I must say how very honoured I have felt with my latest picture book  Nancy Bentley, The First Australian female Sailor  being shortlisted in the Lower primary category of these awards.  Thank you Speech Pathology Australia :)
It has been a long wait for the announcement but finally,last night at the Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne, the wining authors and books were announced.
Congratulations to the winners!!
The winning titles in each of the categories are:

Young Children
  • Come Down, Cat! (Sonya Hartnett, Viking)
 Lower Primary
  • The Little Refugee (Anh & Suzanne Do, illus by Bruce Whatley, A&U)
 Upper Primary
  • The Invisible Hero (Elizabeth Fensham, UQP)
 Indigenous Children
  • The Snake and the Boy (Azmen Sebastian, Magabala).

 A Lifetime Achievement Award was also presented to author and illustrator Graeme Base. Base won the Lower Primary category in the Speech Pathology Awards in 2005 for Jungle Drums (Puffin) and in 2007 for Uno’s Garden (Viking). His most recent book, Little Elephants, was published by Viking this month.

While the Speech Pathology awards were underway in Melbourne, I was in a book store in
Canberra attending a literary event. Children's Author Tania McCartney interviewed award winning Children's Author- Graeme Base. While Tania managed to get Graeme to open up about the ideas and stimulation behind many of his books, there was not the slightest hint from Graeme or his Publishing House team that he was being bestowed with the prestigious Lifetime award in Melbourne at the same time!

However, it was lovely to hear Graeme talk about his journey to becoming an author and the mysterious moments of fate that sent him on the road to success. As an author it is always fascinating to hear other authors speak about their books, their ideas and why they wrote the book they did.

Tania McCartney is a wonderful, vivacious local Canberra author. Want to know more...  just go visit Tania's website.


While net surfing do pop in and visit the Kids Book Reviews site and read a recent review of my picture book  Max Meets a Monster.

Friday 12 October 2012

Exploring Canberra

Over the past week I have been out and about enjoying the Capital.  On Tuesday, I had a wonderful afternoon at Floriade. 

Waiting for a day without wild wind and heavy rain seemed almost impossible, so braving the chilly overcast day and armed with an umbrella, I headed off to smell the roses... actually they were poppies.

The gardens were spectacular with thousands and thousands of poppies in the most beautiful displays.

Views of the garden from Poppy level

I loved this pansy. The perfect butterfly design caught my eye.

There was something for everyone. Cafes, restaurants, kids zones and stalls. The Gnome display was fun to visit. The garden Gnomes were all hand painted by local school children.

The Reptile Zone wasn't my favourite area.
It was far too scary with the staff standing
 in a small tent holding giant boa constrictors!
I prefer the animals to be in glass enclosures- so much safer to look at them.
I particularly loved the pancake stack of Monitor Lizards. What a bonding bunch. 

On Thursday, my adventures continued as I set off to explore the Museum of Democracy at Old Parliament House. What a fabulous and fascinating place it is. It houses a wealth of old pictures and information on Canberra and the history of Australian democracy.
 If you decide to visit allow a few hours to wander, read all the information, play with the interactive screens and spend some time just sitting to absorb the historic building.

The Duke and Duchess of York opened Old Parliament House on 9th May 1927

The crowds outside Old Parliament House on the day it opened.

The Senate

The House of Representatives

View from the Media gallery

An unusual displays of old typewriters used by the media to report on events during sittings.

Old and very tiny press room.

A replica of the Speakers Chair for people to sit in. Yes I did!
 It was surprisingly large and I felt a little like Alice in Wonderland when I climbed up.

I have to say it was fun sitting on the couch inside the Prime Minister's Office and having the whole place to myself. Oh the power...

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