Elaine Forrestal

Children’s Book Week 2016

Children’s Book Week dress-up day at Yanchep Beach Pri­mary School

Children’s Book Week is once again in full swing with lots of things hap­pen­ing, includ­ing dress-up parades of book char­ac­ters, meet-the-author and work­shop ses­sions and pre­sen­ta­tion cer­e­monies for the win­ners of the Tim Win­ton Awards and Make Your Own Story Book competition.

Offi­cially Children’s Book Week starts today, but for me and many other WA authors and illus­tra­tors Book Week has become Book Two or Three Weeks as we stretch our­selves to accom­mo­date met­ro­pol­i­tan and coun­try schools. It is always a life-affirming expe­ri­ence and I feel that I ben­e­fit from it as much as the stu­dents do. As a full-time author I spend so much of my time work­ing alone in my office that it is a refresh­ing change to be actu­ally talk­ing face to face with so many of my read­ers, rather than talk­ing to them from the pages of my books.

Thank you for hav­ing me at your schools and libraries, and keep read­ing and  writing.

Children’s Book Week(s) 2016

Elaine For­re­stal speak­ing to a group of stu­dents dur­ing Children’s Book Week.

Children’s Book Week is always an excit­ing time! Not only do I get to meet lit­er­ally thou­sands of peo­ple who are read­ing my books, I get to chat to them about what I am writ­ing now. I can run ideas past them, ask their opin­ions and find out what they are think­ing; what scares them, what both­ers them the most in their world? And what do they really love? It’s a stim­u­lat­ing and pro­duc­tive time for me and, in spite of its title, usu­ally spreads over more than one week.

For me Children’s Book Week starts tomor­row. Maybe I will see you. If you do hap­pen to be one of the five thou­sand peo­ple I will talk to between now and the 26th August don’t for­get to ask me about the new book I am writ­ing. And if you are not one of the peo­ple I will see face to face you can always ask the ques­tion (and any oth­ers you may have) by email­ing me through this website.

Happy Book Week

Rottnest Retreat 2016

A small boy fas­ci­nated by the pea­cock out­side the Rot­tnest Gen­eral Store. There has to be a story there!

As always the annual SCBWI Rot­tnest Retreat was stim­u­lat­ing, chal­leng­ing, infor­ma­tive and heaps of fun.

This year Erica Wag­ner, from Allen and Unwin, was the vis­it­ing pub­lisher and her inter­ac­tive ses­sions deliv­ered lots of use­ful infor­ma­tion. Erica gave us a rare and valu­able insider’s view of the pub­lish­ing indus­try. She was typ­i­cally hon­est and gen­er­ous with her time, and was not afraid to say just how intu­itive the whole process of writ­ing and pub­lish­ing has to be in order to keep pro­duc­ing the very best books for read­ers — whether young or not so young.

Thank you Erica.

Even in Paris Black Jack Anderson can find me

Never trust a pirate.

Clearly Black Jack Ander­son has not fin­ished with me yet.

After two other recent con­tacts in Aus­tralia, one from doc­u­men­tary mak­ers and one from a radio sta­tion, Black Jack Ander­son has man­aged to track me down to Paris! I am here with some fam­ily mem­bers, essen­tially for the Fete de la Musique but stay­ing on to check out the amaz­ing gal­leries, restau­rants, mar­kets and boulan­geries. I am also doing some work, which is made easy by the inter­net and the well-equipped apart­ment we stay in on the Place Vauban.

The lat­est expres­sion of inter­est has come from Great South­ern Film and Tele­vi­sion who are mak­ing a third series of Coast Aus­tralia,  fol­low­ing their suc­cess in Eng­land. So keep your eyes open and check out the pro­gram­ming for Foxtel’s His­tory Chan­nel early next year. In typ­i­cal pirate fash­ion You just never know where Black Jack Ander­son will pop up next.

2016 Tim Winton Awards

Young writ­ers devel­op­ing their story ideas with Elaine Forrestal.

It’s that time of year again. The time when our tal­ented young writ­ers set­tle down at their desks or key­boards and write, write, write.

Once they have a story — a first draft — they will read it, then re-write it. Not just once but many times as they find the voices of their char­ac­ters, make adjust­ments to their plots and pol­ish up their spelling, gram­mar and punc­tu­a­tion. They will think about a title for their work and about how best to present it. If they are typ­ing their story they may add dif­fer­ent fonts and dec­o­ra­tions — although that is not what the judges of the com­pe­ti­tion will be look­ing for. The judges will focus on orig­i­nal­ity, con­trol of lan­guage and whether or not the story is con­vinc­ing enough to trans­port them to that other time and place — the world of the story. Judges are some­times heavy. The story has to be strong enough to lift them. A strong story requires a lot of thought­ful con­cen­tra­tion, patience and deter­mi­na­tion. But a prize win­ning story will def­i­nitely be worth the effort.

Sadly, here in WA, we no longer have the Young Writer’s Com­pe­ti­tion. Until two years ago it was the longest run­ning com­pe­ti­tion of its kind in Aus­tralia. How­ever we do still have the Tim Win­ton Awards which have recently expanded to cover the whole State and have been going from strength to strength.

Entries for the annual Tim Win­ton Awards close on the 4th July so hurry up and get your story into the best pos­si­ble shape. When you are happy with it, ask your school, or Com­mu­nity Librar­ian for an entry form, fill it out and attach it to your story. Then send the whole lot in to the Subi­aco Library. Who knows? With imag­i­na­tion and hard work you might one day become as famous, and suc­cess­ful, as Tim Win­ton himself.

Happy writ­ing!