Ned Kelly & The Green Sash Launch

Tonight the Fremantle Children’s Literature Centre was bustling. A huge crowd turned up for the launch of Ned Kelly & the Green Sash by Mark Greenwood and Frane Lessac.

Lesley Reece mc’d the evening, Janet Holmes à Court did the official send-off and a young reviewer/blogger, Esme Stubbs, gave an eloquent summary and review of the book. Both Mark and Frané spoke beautifully about their work and the inspiration behind the book. An exhibition of the original artwork lined the walls of the centre. Afterwards, the crowd lingered to toast the book’s success and talk. It was possibly the smoothest book launch I’ve ever attended.

Sigh. I wish I was a picture book writer and/or illustrator. There’s something so accessible, so immediate and delicious about picture books. I love the way they work on so many levels and how much they can convey. When I grow up, I think I would like to be a picture book writer and illustrator. I would like to be Frane and Mark rolled into one. Though I suspect that first I’ll have to spend a decade or so learning how to draw and then figure out how to write in a completely different style.

Late in the evening I sat chatting with a couple of other authors, talking about the sort of writers we had become. One of the authors, who writes in many forms, including picture books, chapter books, short stories, journalism and the odd novel said that writing was like a form of play, like rolling in mud and loving every minute of it. The other writer said it was a form of dreaming where you look at the stars and contemplate the universe. I felt a bit appalled to realise that for me, some days, writing is like marching up and down in a trench and that as I march, the trench grows deeper. I feel that it’s important to defend this trench that I have dug for myself. It has nine novels lining its walls. I’ve worked hard to make it deep, so deep that I can hardly see over the side. But perhaps it might be time for me to climb out, splash about in the mud for a while and gaze at the stars.

Kirsty is an Australian author of books for children and young adults.

“Books are windows into other ways of being.”

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