Elaine Forrestal

Unexpected Places Books Can Take You

Cover of To See the World by Elaine forrestal

Talking to other writers and illustrators at the Writer’s Festival and at A Night With Our Stars this week, the topic of ‘where our books have taken us’ came up. Sometimes these places are predictable because of the setting of the story, but sometimes it is quite the opposite.

For instance you would expect my book, To See the World, to take me to France. After all that is where Rose de Freycinet began and ended her voyage around the world and I needed to visit the places where she grew up and where she lived as an adult. However, in 2015, Rose’s story took me  to Bologna, in Italy. Bologna is not on the sea and Italy is on the other side of the Mediterranean from Toulon, the port where Rose stowed away on board ‘l’Urania’. But Bologna does have a famous  International Book Fair. To See the World was chosen by the Australian Publishers Association to be promoted, along with other Australian titles, at the Fair and I was invited to sit at the Author’s Table and speak about Rose’s adventures. I got to introduce Rose to people from all over the world!

In October 2017, almost two hundred years to the day since Rose set out on her big adventure, the same book took me to Sauveterre, which is the main town in the entre de mer region, near Bordeaux. I was invited to help with the launch and publicity for their new Mediateque. The town  had outgrown its old library and the Mayor and his hard-working team set up a new library and IT centre. It was very exciting for me to be part of the launch of a project so dear to my heart and, at the end of the day, they appointed me ‘marraine au-dela de mer’ (Godmother from beyond the sea). To See the World is already on their shelves and they are planning to incorporate it into translation projects for English classes when they come in to work in their new library.

The book world in full of surprises!