Posted in Australian fiction, Books, Crashing Down, Fremantle Press, Getting published, Kate McCaffrey, Literary Awards, Media Appearances, writing

Crashing Down Launch

It seems appropriate to update this blog with the biggest news of late- my fourth novel Crashing Down was launched last night at Sacred Heart College Sorrento. It was a fantastic night, a turn out of about 140 people ranging from students, teachers, parents through to industry folk- oh, and of course, family and friends. Catherine Kolomyjec did an awesome job organising the event, aided by Emma Killian and supported by some of my Year 10 Lit kids- who were absolute standouts both in front of, and behind, the camera. News from my publisher is that the first print run of Crashing Down is already 3/4 sold! Not bad news to hear on the night of the launch.

Jan Nichols, in top form, dressed as a midwife to “birth” the new baby (the theme of the book being teen pregnancy). The celebrity guest in Norman Jorgensson (Jack’s Island and The Last Viking- to be launched in September at the State Library)  was a true crowd pleaser.

The reviews are coming in- the latest can be accessed via this link

And so, a good night was had by all!!

CD Book Launch CD Book Launch 2 CD Book Launch 3 CD Book Launch 4 CD Book Launch 5 CD Book Launch 6 CD Book Launch 7 CD Book Launch 8 CD Book Launch 9 CD Book Launch 10 CD Book Launch 11 CD Book Launch 12 CD Book Launch 13 CD Book Launch 14 CD Book Launch 15

Posted in ASLA Conference, Books, Booktalkers, CBC, cyber bullying, Destroying Avalon, drugs, ETA, In Ecstasy, international rights, Kununurra's Wrtiter's Festival, literary appearances, Literary Awards, Matt Ottley, Media Appearances, Somerset Writer's Festival

Why I Can’t Say Sorry

I know I should– but it’s shallow and empty now, isn’t it? I leave this blog for lengths of time and then breeze in when I seem to have nothing better to do. So I will not insult you with another apology. Instead I’ll try and justify my absence by bringing you all up to date with the latest happenings.

I handed over the manuscript ‘Murder Within’ in January- just before school started– then was inundated with the trials and tribulations of teaching! I flew off quickly to Melbourne- for Booktalkers at the State Library of Vic, with none other than the legendery John Marsden– I pulled my 12 year old daughter out of school to attend with me. Unfortunately John’s farm fell within the bush fire zone and he was unable to get a car out to attend the night. Twas still great– with Kirsty Murray, Sue Saliba, Tim Pelger and Don Henderson in fine form commenting on what influences our writing.

A week later I was off to Somerset Writer’s Festival in Queensland. What a fantastic week that was. Andrew Stark– organiser of the library conference performed magical acts to pull the event together and then the Writer’s Festival itself followed. I was in the company of some brilliant people, terrific authors and illustrators– Lee Fox, Tobhy Riddle, Suzanne Gervay, Kate Forsyth, Garth Nix,Debora Abela, Tristan Bancks, Shamini Flint, Rob Newton, and Matt Ottley. Just on Matt, for a second, not only was I impressed with his sandgroper status– yes he also crossed the spinifex curtain to attend Somerset– but the man is an all out genuis. I tell you- how can anyone not read Requium for a Beast and not see genuis at work?? Not only are his illustrations brilliant– but Matt composes his own music! I’m not being parochial when I say that Matt deserves all the credit and kudos he is receiveing (especially with his latest nod from the CBC!!)

Following that– teaching, marking, reporting and a few visits to schools. School holidays- which is a laugh, isn’t it– whose holiday is this??? Not mine!! I’d received word from the publisher that I needed to re-write a part of the latest book– oh, only about 20, 000 words!!! Hello! So first week of my delightful holiday was spent doing such. Second week– marking 4 classes of work– delightful!! And now I’ve just teed up the latest gig guide with my publicist– so I’ll let you have it:

16 May- ETA panel-  at Perth College- discussing female vs male protagonists (I think!!)

23-27 July Kununurra Writer’s Festival (I’ve never been to the Kimberley– I’m really looking forward to it)

25 & 27 August- Morley library– for CBC Book Week (PS Aug 25 is my birthday!!!)

2 October– breakfast at Frasers for ASLA Conference. Later that day I’m sure I’m on a panel!!

That’s it so far. Will keep you posted on other happenings.


Oh, by the way– Hungary has bought rights to Destroying Avalon– now I can boast I share JK Rowlings publisher!! (if only it was her bank balance!!!) That’s me– up to date i think. Will try and be a better blogger!!!

Posted in Books, CBC, cyber bullying, Destroying Avalon, Literary Awards, reviews, Uncategorized, writing

Children’s Book Council Celebrity Brunch

Last Sunday it was a privilege to attend the CBC’s Celebrity Brunch where the short listed books were reviewed. This year three wonderful students from St Stephen’s School Carramar were invited to review the Older Reader’s Section. After they came to terms with the fact their all time favourite English teacher’s book wasn’t on the list (though we all were delighted it made Notables!!) they set about reviewing.

Well, wasn’t I the proud teacher! My students (who I share with the Head of Department- actually they’re really hers, but I like to claim them) were  well spoken, intelligent and engaging, the three of them were wonderful ambassadors for the school. They opened the proceedings and then each celebrity reviewer stood up to make their contribution.

I had a light bulb moment. Now, this is going to seem patently obvious to most people- and it something I’ve paid lip service to myself (without really understanding) a review is just one opinion. I know- there is no great revelation here. But when you watch people stand up and deliver their review it puts into context the faceless reviewer. Reviewers are just people with their own likes and dislikes, their bad days, fights with their partners, annoying or delinquent children, they are normal, everyday people who have an opinion to express.

I guess I realised the scathing reviews (not that there’s been that many) but the ones I remember- before any of the praiseworthy -are just the opinion of someone who didn’t like something I wrote. Perhaps they’d been a victim of bullying as a child and thought I trivialised it, perhaps they expected something more of the book that I didn’t deliver, perhaps they just didn’t like the way I wrote. What I learnt was it didn’t really matter. I need to take on more of the praiseworthy reviews- because after all, these people obviously have more in common with me. Why should I disregard those reviews that praise my work in favour of the ones that diss it?

So, I have a new mind set with regard to reviews- one that I really hope I can embrace. From now on I will look at all reviews (good and bad- you never know there might be something to learn from the bad ones!!)and try my hardest to remember what the good ones say!

Posted in awards, Books, cyber bullying, Destroying Avalon, Literary Awards, The Australian Therapists' Award

The Australian Therapists’ Award for Children’s Literature

Well, here is more exciting news! A few weeks ago the winner of the Australian Therapists’ Award for Children’s Literature (try saying that ten times really fast) was announced. My publisher contacted me to tell me that Destroying Avalon was highly commended in this award. It’s a terrific honour!

So I googled the Australian Therapists’ Award for Children’s Literature to see who the winner was and found nothing. The website hasn’t been updated (last year it was won by JC Burke for The Story of Tom Brennan)- couldn’t find any information- anywhere.

So then I stumbled across Delwyne Stephens blog (she is an Australian author of YA fiction) and I found this: (I quote)

“WHEELS was listed as a recommended read in the Australian Family Therapists’ Award for Children’s Literature. I was thrilled because WHEELS was one of ten ‘recommended reads’ from a strong field.

The winners in the older readers catergory were Sue Lawson for “Allie McGregor’s True Colours” (Black Dog Books) with highly commended going to “Destroying Avalon” (Kate McCaffrey, Fremantle Arts Centre Press) and “Ten Things I Hate About Me” by Randa Adel-Fattah published by Pan Macmillan.”

Wheels is Delwyne’s book and so I’d like to take the opportunity to say congratulations Delwyne for getting the listing as a “recommended read” and thanks for the information about the award! Also congrats to both Sue Lawson and Randa Adel-Fattah- (all books on my reading list)!!

Posted in awards, Books, cyber bullying, Destroying Avalon, Literary Awards, Uncategorized, WA Premier's Book Awards, writing

The Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards Presentation Night

It’s true, I have the inside information, I know who the winners are! They were announced last night at a dinner held amongst ‘the stacks’ in the State Library. And so…


The Travel Writer   Simone Lazaroo


All the Time in the World  Dennis Haskell


Destroying Avalon  Kate McCaffrey


The Arrival  Shaun Tan


Sardines  Hellie Turner


Rob Riley  Quentin Beresford

Arthur Tang  Peter Edwards


The Workshops   Bobbie Oliver & Patrick Bertola


The Arrival  Shaun Tan

I don’t think it came as a great surprise to anyone that Shaun’s book would win the Premier’s Prize- and deservedly so. It is an outstanding success. Shaun was unable to make the presentation but his very proud parents accepted the award- which I imagine must have been a huge thrill!

I honestly had not prepared a speech- as anyone at the presentation will attest to! I hadn’t even mentally prepared one- so I gave a rather perfunctory and generalised thank you. After the shock wore off I realised I’d failed to acknowledge the other short listed authors; Julia Lawrinson, Katy Watson-Kell and Diana Chase- the only remedy was to personally acknowledge them, after the presentation ended! I didn’t really thank the judges at all- and so I’d now like to take this opportunity to send a big thank you to them- Ms Chloe Mauger, Professor Andrew Taylor, Professor Ed Jagger and Ms Lucille Fisher. As Simone Lazaroo said everyone else was mentioned in the book’s acknowledge pages- and in Destroying Avalon there is a page and a half of acknowledgements (you all know who you are)!!

It was a fantastic honour and I am thrilled to have my book acknowledged in such a way! The lesson of the night was, of course,what happens when you spend all your time thinking about clothes and none of it on what you should say if you should win!!!

Posted in awards, Books, Literary Awards, Uncategorized, WA Premier's Book Awards

WA’s Gliterati Literati

Last night it was both a thrill and an honour to rub shoulders with the WA Premier’s Book Awards shortlisted authors at a cocktail function. The function was held in the foyer of the State Library. They weren’t all there- I expect more of them will attend the dinner, but it was a good turn out in a friendly and relaxed environment.

All the shortlisted books were show cased- some beautiful looking books (shallow as it sounds I ALWAYS judge a book by its cover) and I got to mingle with the likes of Julia Lawrinson, Katy Watson Kell, Liliana Stafford and her daughter Sophia Zielinski,  Raewyn Caisley and Diana Chase to name a few.

We drank wine- and made merry, and then we were all presented with a certificate (Julia got two!!) And the night wrapped up quite early. Except for Jason and I! Childless and in town for the first time, in a long time, we ended up having dinner at Valentinos, alfresco-style watching Northbridge crank it up for a Friday night. At the risk of showing my age hasn’t the night life in the city improved?! It was only about eight o’clock and the place was full of people eating out and pubbing it. I think sleepy old Perth has woken up!! Having said that, it was a great vibe- a lovely dinner- I wasn’t too keen on the vino- a little young and sharp. But the gnocchi was good- not as good as Jason’s home-made gnocchi- but honestly I’ve never tasted any as good as his!

Home before eleven and a good evening was had by all. It was only this morning I realised what a blunder I’d made! What a colossal error! Oh the missed opportunity. There I was surrounded by short listed authors discussing all the important issues relevant to the local writing scene and I forgot to ask the most important thing! What were they wearing to the dinner? Formal? Smart dress? Dress? Pants? Oh bum- how could I have been so foolish!! Liliana, Julia, Katy, Diana- anyone out there reading this you MUST comment- what will you be wearing?!!

Posted in awards, cyber bullying, Literary Awards, WA Premier's Book Awards

The Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards 2006

Yes, it does say 2006- though it’s 2007- but it’s a ceremony about books published in 2006 and awarded in the following year!! Get it????

The shortlist was announced last week (I think) and there are some excellent titles on the list:


Sally Clarke                          In the Space Behind his Eyes (self pub)

Dr Quentin Beresford        Rob Riley: An Aboriginal Leader’s Quest for Justice      (Aboriginal Studies Press)

Peter Edwards                  Arthur Tange: Last of the Mandarins (A&U)

Monique La Fontaine         New Legend (Kimberley Law and Cultural Centre)

Elizabeth Jolley                         Learning to Dance (Penguin)


Wes Olsen                                  Gallipoli: The Western Australian Story (UWA)

Bobbie Oliver & Patrick Bertola        The Workshops: A History of the Midland Government Railway Workshops (UWA)

James Cameron                          Millendon Memoirs (Hesperion)


Marion May Campbell                       Shadow Thief (Pandanus)

Gail Jones                                                Dreams of Speaking (Vintage)

Simone Lazaroo                                   The Travel Writer (Pan Macmillan)

Mike Williams                                         The Music of Dunes (FACP)


Raewyn Caisley                              Tai’s Penguin (Penguin)

Anthony Eaton                              Nathan Nuttboard Family Matters (UQP)

Jan Omerod                                   Water Witcher (Little Hare)

Liliana Stafford & Sophia Zielinski              The Shy Mala (Windy Hollow)

Shaun Tan                                           The Arrival (Hachette Livre)

Joy & Mike Lefroy & Marion Duke              The Catalpa Escape (FACP)


Deanne Leber                                     Book of Days (self pub)

Dennis Haskell                                       All The Time in the World (Salt)

John Kinsella                                            Sacre Coeur: A Salt Tragedy (Vagabond)

Graeme Miles                                       Phosphorescence (FACP)

Mark Reid                                        A Difficult Faith (FACP)

Young Adults

Julia Lawrinson                                     Suburban Freak Show (Hatchette Livre)

Julia Lawrinson                                       Bye, Beautiful (Penguin)

Diana Chase                                         No More Borders For Joseph (FACP)

Kate McCaffrey                                Destroying Avalon (FACP)

Katy Watson-Kell                                 Mama’s Trippin’ (FACP)


John Aitken                                      The Ships Pass Quietly (Blue Room Theatre)

Melissa Cantwell                                Marmalade and Egg (Perth TheatreCo)

Sarah Rossetti                                     Episode 14 “Pure Poetry” (RB Films)

Hellie Turner                                        Sardines (Tropic Sun Theatre)

Ian Wilding                                     The Carnivores (Black Swan Theatre Co)

The winners will be announced at a gala dinner at the State Library of WA on the 8th June. It’s all very exciting- until the reality hits- what to wear???

Posted in awards, Books, cyber bullying, Difference of Opinion, Literary Awards, Media Appearances

The Lazy Blogger

A thousand apologies Constant Reader (thanks Stephen King)! I’ve committed a blogger’s cardinal sin- to create a blog and then fail to diligently post! It’s been weeks since my last blog (sounds like a confession- doesn’t it) but though I appear lazy- it’s been a lack of time that’s been the enemy.

After the whirlwind Sydney trip and the excitement of the TV appearance and the Notable mention from the Children’s Book Council of Australia- a thousand other things required attention.

I had a meeting with my editor- over the next stage of my latest work (currently titled) In Ecstasy. She is full of fabulous ideas- an editor sees the words, direction, psychology from a completely different perspective than a writer! It’s an amazing relationship.

I came away (from a lovely lunch) with a head brimming full of ideas, and still no time to formulate them!! So much to do, so much to do. But now I’ve gestated them I will formulate them today and tomorrow and indulge a much needed manic writing frenzy over the next couple of weeks. The plan is to hand it over by the end of May.

Which reminds me!

On the 21st May I fly to Melbourne to workshop Destroying Avalon at Ivanhoe Grammar and participate in the launch of their cyber bullying policy- (I’m sure that means anti-cyber bullying!!)

When I return- the 24th May I’m back at school (remember I teach too!) and then participating in an AISWA (Association of Independent Schools WA) cyber bullying Professional Development Day.

Ohhh, yeah ther’s more news too- but I think that needs a post of it’s own….

So read on!!!

Posted in awards, Books, cyber bullying, Literary Awards

Children’s Book Council of Australia Awards 2007

Tuesday this week, the CBC announced its list of Notable Books- approximately two hours before the announcement of the shortlist. The Notable Books are novels selected from each category that the CBC found worthy (in some way) of recommending.  From their website is this comment about the Notables:

The Judges of the 2007 Awards commend these titles as a source for individual reading and gift giving, and for inclusion in Australian and international public and school library collections.

This is the list for the Older Reader’s Category:

Abdel-Fattah, Randa Ten things I hate about me Pan Macmillan Australia, 2006
Bateson, Catherine His name in fire (Young Adult Fiction) University of Queensland Press, 2006
Bauer, Michael Gerard
Don’t call me Ishmael! Omnibus Books, Scholastic Australia, 2006
Bone, Ian Love cuts Penguin Group (Australia), 2006
Boyd, Maria Will Random House Australia, 2006
Carmichael,Claire Ads R Us Random House Australia, 2006
Caswell, Brian Loop University of Queensland Press, 2006
Clarke, Judith One whole and perfect day Allen & Unwin, 2006
Cornish, David M.
Monster blood tattoo book 1: Foundling Omnibus Books, Scholastic Australia, 2006
Dubosarsky, Ursula The red shoe Allen & Unwin, 2006
Earls, Nick Monica Bloom Penguin Group (Australia), 2006
Gardner, Scot Gravity Pan Macmillan Australia, 2006
Godwin, Jane Falling from Grace Penguin Group (Australia), 2006
Greenwood, Kerry Ravens rising
(Stormbringer Book 3)
Lothian Books, Hachette Livre Australia, 2006
Herrick, Steven Lonesome howl Allen & Unwin, 2006
Horniman, Joanne Little Wing Allen & Unwin, 2006
Howell, Simmone Notes from the teenage underground Pan Macmillan Australia, 2006
Jonsberg, Barry Dreamrider Allen & Unwin, 2006
Lanagan, Margo Red spikes Allen & Unwin 2006
Lawrinson, Julia Bye, Beautiful Penguin Group (Australia), 2006
McCaffrey, Kate Destroying Avalon Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 2006
McCarthy, Maureen Rose by any other name Allen & Unwin 2006
Nix, Garth Sir Thursday
(Keys to the Kingdom Book 4)
Allen & Unwin, 2006
Shanahan, Lisa
My big birkett Allen & Unwin, 2006

Did you notice Destroying Avalon rates a mention? I was thrilled! The short list that was announced later consisted of some very impressive titles (the big guns of Australian YA lit were out in force last year!)

Bauer, Michael Gerard   Don’t Call Me Ishmael!

Clarke, Judith   One Whole and Perfect Day

Cornish, David M.   Monster Blood Tatoo  Book 1: Foundling

Dubosarsky, Ursula   The Red Shoe

Lanagan, Margo   Red Spikes

Shanahan, Lisa   My Big Birkett

Good luck to the finalists- the Award is announced during Children’s Book Week which runs from the 18th – 24th August.