I always get a knot in my stomach at the thought of my latest book being launched into the world. Doing nothing to mark the release of a book can feel horribly anti-climatic. Yet book launches can feel like throwing a surprise birthday party for yourself. What if no one comes and I’m left clutching a bunch of balloons and feeling unloved? Maybe I’m just like all those girls in my workshops who feel shy about sharing their work. I can get ridiculously squirmy about my book launches (yet I love other people’s book launches!).
India Dark was such a massive, protracted, complicated work. From when I first heard the true story on which it was based back in 2001, through to the first serious notes I made about fictionalising it in 2005, the countless hours in the SLV pouring over dusty scrapbooks and peering at microfiche in 2006, the long, hot months in India in 2007, right through to the final round of proofs that I marked up last month, this novel has been a long time coming.
So I think it deserves some celebrating. Thanks to serious encouragement from many quarters it looks like India Dark will have three official launches; one in Melbourne and one in Canberra in August, and, hopefully, one in Western Australia in September. There will also be a special event held in Eltham on Indian Independence day, Sunday 15th August, hosted by the wonderful Meera Govil of Eltham Books.
Brenda Niall, author of many brilliant biographies and also two of my favourite books on the history of Australian children’s literature, Australia Through the Looking Glass and Seven Little Billabongs will be doing the official honours for the Melbourne launch. It will be hosted by Asialink at the Sidney Myer Asia Centre at the University of Melbourne on 5th August from 6-7.30 pm. There will also be a short Q&A session with the publisher Kabita Dhara who has recently founded Brass Monkey publishing house. And there will be wine and yummy things and lots of good chat too. Readings will be selling books and I’ll be signing them and blushing and fretting and hoping that my new baby will be loved and appreciated as it heads out into the world.
Anthony Eaton, YA author extraordinaire, will be launching India Dark for me in Canberra on 19th August at Asia Bookroom. Anthony lectures in creative writing at Canberra University and did a Phd on YA fiction. Asia Bookroom is one of the most impressive bookshops that I’ve ever visited. I’m stoked to have such a brilliant combination for the Canberra event.
The WA launch will be in September but is yet to be confirmed, depending on whether a free date can be found on the crowded calendar of the Fremantle Children’s Literature Centre.
Now all I need is a Sydney and Adelaide launch and I’d have a Quinella. But what about Brisbane? I’d love a Brisbane launch and one in Darwin too! Is there a word for that? Sept-something-or-other? Maybe slightly delusional and over-excited is the phrase that best describes me at the moment as I contemplate the release of India Dark into the wilds of the big, bad reading world.