(I totally blanked on my two year bloggiversary) Tell me that doesn't mean something? Or it is purely coincidental? Who knows?
I've told you where I work and some of what I do.
In the past week I've been lucky enough to attend two book events when previously a Reading Matters conference, a NY event and a Melina Marchetta appearance were all I'd been able to do. Melbourne was given the title City of Literature in 2008 and for good reason. There's a lot going on.
Last Sunday I attended the launch of Our Australian Girl, a middle grade series by Penguin. Getting to Readings Hawthorn in one piece and on time was an accomplishment. All four authors were in attendance, as were the cover models (looking very different in modern clothing) and a whole host of other people. Gabrielle Wang is an author who I've gotten to know largely via our shared loved of Supernatural. She's a tiny lady with enormous class (and good taste in pop culture) and it was great to see her speak briefly about the plight of her Chinese/Aboriginal Australian girl. The other three authors (Sherryl Clark, Sofie Laguna and Alison Lloyd) all spoke, as did the editor (Davina Bell - of the divine red dress), publisher (Jane Godwin) and designer of the fabulous covers.
What is exciting and mildly concerning for me was meeting new people. I am a newbie to Melbourne and everything is new. Everything. Public transport, place names, geography, bookstores etc. I know people from years of online communication but I've definitely lacked in getting to know people face to face. Adelaide, my beloved home town, doesn't get the face time that Melbourne and Sydney gets so my predicament is understandable. I am reticent in unfamiliar situations but give me five minutes and I dive in. I like to access the water first. It was fun to meet some of the authors and Penguin team behind this series with its encompassing of Australian history and their stories.
I also got to meet Megan Burke from Literary Life for the first time. Bloggers are people that I know but don't 'know'. I've only ever met four (seriously) - Rhiannon Hart (2009 Reading Matters), Steph Bowe (2009 Inky announcement), Mitali (Cassandra Clare event, Union Square) and the amazing Steph Su (Natural History Museum). It's always fantastic to meet people that share your interest so passionately and immediately kick into 'what are you reading?' talk. Great minds.....read YA :) Megan has been my telescope into Melbourne writing events and launches throughout last year and she's done a bang up job at sharing the event with everyone here. She shares the event in such detail and enthusiasm so you feel like you were there yourself.
I also got to attend another middle grade series event throughout the week. Specky Magee is a series of books that can be found on most desks in Australian schools. Detailing the football (AFL, not soccer) adventures of Simon 'Specky' Magee' it is now reaching the end of the series with the tenth title - Specky Magee. The two authors - Felice Arena & Garry Lyon - spoke about the process in detail (again read Megan's report of the event) and entertained the attendees with sparky repartee. For me it was enormously informative as I got to meet many Melbourne booksellers. I got to hear what they loved reading and what was selling well, aspects of YA that I would normally only guess at. I also go to make them some suggestions - Anna & the French Kiss - and I am waiting on the thank you emails :P I also got to see what Penguin Australia looks like on the inside before their eventual move to the Docklands.
One lovely bookseller asked if I were a blogger (I didn't bring it up, I swear) and I said I was. She then went onto say that she's read this blog for years and that she recommends it to her teen customers. I was a little shocked. In some respects this blog is (was) a reading journal and I would forget people read it. It's lovely to hear, though surprising. I am so sorry I've misplaced your name in my brain, lovely bookseller, but thank you.
And lastly, a big HELLO to Mrs Cernera's English class. Thank you for dropping by. I am sorry that I was your homework but I hope you choose to come by again because you wish to :) This former teacher was delighted to be a small part of your electronic learning.