We are delighted to announce that there was a lovely advance review, by Lian Hingee of Readings, of Fil and Harry in this week’s edition of the Weekly Book Newsletter (Books+Publishing). Here’s an extract from the review:
Written by Jenny Blackford, whose debut book The Girl in the Mirror won the 2020 Davitt Award for Best Children’s Crime Novel, Fil & Harry also includes whimsical illustrations by Kristin Devine…..It is a gentle novel with short, accessible chapters and some excellent vocabulary-building words for emerging readers to discover. It’s perfect for readers aged seven and up.
Congratulations to Jenny and Kristin! It’s a great start for the novel’s reception.
We are delighted to reveal today the gorgeous front and full cover of Fil and Harry, a fabulous new junior novel by Jenny Blackford, which we are publishing on May 1. The beautiful cover illustration is by Kristin Devine, who has also created some great internal black and white illustrations for the book. Design of the covers is by Kristin and by Authors’ Elves.
Sharnee Rawson, an experienced regionally-based writer and editor who has worked in a range of media, is soon about to complete a bachelor degree in Media and Communications at UNE, majoring in Writing and Publishing, acquiring several academic awards in the process. Wishing to extend her experience to book publishing, she approached us with her excellent resume, and after a fruitful meeting online discussing possible projects she might be involved in, we were delighted to confirm her appointment.
Congratulations and welcome, Sharnee! We are delighted to have you working with us on several projects over the next few months. And we would like to introduce you to our readers, friends and supporters. So, here are a few questions for you!
How did you come to select us as publishers you’d like to work with?
Although there were several fantastic publishers based in the New England region, United Publishers of Armidale was distinguished by its its combination of two prominent children’s book publishers, Christmas Press and Little Pink Dog Books. I had known since the beginning of my undergraduate degree that I wanted to be involved in book publishing for younger audiences, so when I discovered United Publishers of Armidale, I knew I had to take part!
Like us, you are based in Armidale—have you always lived there, or have you come here more recently?
I’ve lived in a motley of places over the years, but for most of my life, I called a small rural property near Grafton home. It was after graduating from high school in 2017 that I moved to Armidale to begin my bachelor’s degree at the University of New England. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to explore many of the national parks in the region, including favourites like Gara Gorge and Wollomombi Falls. It’s certainly a beautiful area.
Can you tell us about your professional background as an editor and writer? What kinds of things have you worked on?
I’ve had some previous experience in the publishing industry, although, until recently, it has primarily been in news and journalism. One of the most rewarding of these positions was as a content writer at News Corp’s The Daily Examiner. The experience was fascinating, and it granted me the opportunity to work with a range of mediums, including paper-based publications, online publications and videographic material. Working at News Corp also prepared me for my next role at Tune!FM where I had the privilege of working as editor-in-chief for the company’s online news platform. United Publishers of Armidale is my first experience at a book publishing company.
Tell us about the degree you are about to complete, and why you chose to major in writing and publishing? And what’s next for your studies?
Currently, I’m in my final trimester of a Bachelor of Media and Communications degree with a major in Writing and Publishing. Originally, I had enrolled as a Bachelor of Arts student, but I quickly realised media and communications offered the specialisation I needed to enter the publishing industry. So far, I haven’t been disappointed! In 2021, I plan to enrol in a Bachelor of Media and Communications with Honours degree and continue my studies at the University of New England.
What areas interest you most in publishing? What do you hope to learn from the internship with us? And what opportunities do you hope might come from it?
As most individuals within the publishing industry will probably agree, interest in the field began through a love of reading. In high school, I remember googling ‘Jobs relating to books’ and when I read about the publishing industry, I thought, ‘Great! A job where I can read all day!’ I now know there’s a lot more to publishing than simply reading, but I still haven’t lost my passion. In editing, in particular, there’s something about refining a text that will be read and enjoyed by like-minded readers that offers enormous appeal. Through my internship at United Publishers of Armidale, I would love to continue to develop my editing skills and gain further insight into various aspects of publishing. Hopefully, the experience will lead me to further work opportunities within the industry.
And finally—What’s on your reading pile at the moment?
American Gods by Neil Gaiman is currently sitting on my bedside table. I’ve loved the author’s previous work and can’t wait to tuck in!
Six-year-old Australian author Chelsea Hardi’s first picture book to be published in 2021
Richmond Publishing, in association with Christmas Press, is proud to announce that in April 2021 it will be publishing The Magic Ball of String, a beautiful picture book with text by a fabulous debut author, six-year-old Sydney resident Chelsea Hardi, who is not only one of Australia’s but also one of the world’s youngest published authors.
Chelsea was born to tell stories and narrates them to her mother, Irina, before going to sleep every night. She has always been in love with Russian fairytales which comforted her when at the age of four and a half, suffering from pneumonia, she was in hospital in Moscow for an extended period. It was during this difficult time that, influenced by those fairytales, she created the first version of The Magic Ball of String, telling it to her mother who wrote it down for her. Since then, the story has evolved through the editing process, which Chelsea was fully a part of, to become a fresh and charming tale of adventure, family love, the power of kindness, and the unexpected magic of a certain ball of string.
With beautiful pictures by acclaimed international illustrator Olya Badulina, this book is a dream come true for the young author, and one that children and families across Australia will take to their hearts.
Richmond Publishing (a division of Oliver Freeman Pty Ltd) is delighted that The Magic Ball of String will be on the 2021 publishing list of award-winning children’s books publisher Christmas Press, which will be promoting and marketing the book across its networks. And Christmas Press is delighted to be working in association with Richmond Publishing on the release of this very special book which so exemplifies the magic of stories in the lives of children.
Three beautiful princesses set out to explore the kingdom, looking for adventure. When they become separated from their father, and cross paths with a hungry bear, they become lost in the midst of a dark forest. The eldest princess is determined to find a way home, and the King is determined to find his daughters. And with the help of a man with a brave and kind heart, the grateful gesture of a tiny hedgehog, and a magic ball of string, everyone may just find what they truly seek …
We are delighted to announce our new Junior Fiction list, for young readers who want to graduate from chapter books, but aren’t ready yet to move into middle-grade fiction, and who still like illustrations in their reading! And we’re even more delighted that Fil and Harry, the debut book on this list, is by the award-winning team of author Jenny Blackford and illustrator Kristin Devine. Jenny’s previous novel with us, The Girl in the Mirror (published last year in the Eagle Books imprint) won the 2020 Davitt Award for Best Children’s Crime Novel, while in 2019 Kristin won first place in the New England Illustration Award, which is open to illustrators all over Australia.
Can Fil’s cat Harry really talk? And can he find a way out of the tangle she’s in? Read more about this fresh, lively and touching novel here. We’re publishing it in May 2021. Watch this space!
We are very pleased to announce that Christmas Press is taking part in the Books from Australia website, an initiative from the Australian Publishers’ Association, supported by the Australia Council, to help present Australian books to international publishers for the Frankfurt Book Fair, which this year is being held online.
Christmas Press is absolutely delighted to announce that Jenny Blackford’s fabulous middle-grade novel, The Girl in the Mirror, which we published in our Eagle Books imprint in 2019, is the winner of the Best Children’s Crime Novel category in the 2020 Davitt Awards.
The Awards, which were presented by legendary Scottish crime writer Val McDermid in a virtual ceremony yesterday, Saturday September 26, featured a shortlist of 24 books across six categories. You can find the video of the ceremony here.
Prestigious annual awards with a 20-year history, the Davitts are run by the Sisters in Crime Australia literary organisation and showcase the best crime novels by Australian women writers.
The Girl in the Mirror, an enthralling mix of murder mystery, time slip and ghost story, is the debut middle-grade novel of acclaimed poet and short story writer Jenny Blackford. Illustrated with atmospheric black and white pictures by Fiona McDonald, the novel has received wide acclaim, with reviewers praising its ‘clever storytelling’ (Buzz Words), ‘silky smooth prose’ (Compulsive Reader) and its ‘enjoyable and revelatory’ qualities (ReadPlus). As Geoffrey McSkimming writes in the back cover quote, it is truly a ‘spine-tingling winner.’
Publishing director of Christmas Press, Sophie Masson, said, ‘Jenny initially submitted her novel to us some time ago in one of our open submissions period, and it immediately caught the eye of our commissioning editor Beattie Alvarez, for its haunting atmosphere, gripping narrative and sharp, evocative writing. We loved working with Jenny and are very proud to have published The Girl in the Mirror. We warmly congratulate Jenny on this very well-deserved win and thank the Davitt Awards judges and Sisters in Crime Australia for supporting the best in crime fiction by Australian women writers.’
There’s a great new video reading by John Heffernan of his beautiful book with Kate Durack, Two Tales of Brothers from Ancient Mesopotamia. It’s on Camp Quality’s Happiness Hub, and it’s a lot of fun! Watch it below.
We are delighted to join with United Publishers of Armidale in bringing you the virtual launch today, Friday August 28, of Four on the Run, a lively, funny chapter book for young readers written by Sophie Masson and illustrated by Cheryl Orsini. The Virtual Launch, hosted on the United Publishers of Armidale website, features a series of fabulous videos for you to enjoy. The book is being launched by Lesley Gibbes, author of acclaimed junior fiction and picture book, and you’ll hear from her in the first video. Then in the second video, you’ll hear from author Sophie Masson, introducing the book and its inspiration and process, and in the third video, Sophie reads the intriguing first chapter of the book. The final video is a little book trailer.
You can view these today, or on any day! Thank you for joining us in the celebration of Four on the Run, and we hope you enjoy. And don’t forget to visit the book’s Featured Pages on the UPA website for more information, and wonderful activities!