It's been a great four weeks, celebrating new books with writer friends. And the topics are so wide-ranging that I marvel at their passions and knowledge! In early June, Bronwen Scott (who is working on a crime novel with lots of scientific stuff in it) celebrated the release of her first title, a non-fiction book called Spineless: Dealing with Pests and Pals in Your Home and Backyard. This fascinated me - I have as many pests as the next person, from spiders to wasps, and never mind the ants and millipedes. This is the book you need when you're not sure whether to attack with a broom, or be kind and trap and release. I listened in to an interview she did on Radio National, where listeners phoned in with questions about their own pests and what to do with them. A bit like the gardening show on steroids!
Last weekend, I launched Dee White's first YA novel, Letters to Leonardo. As I said at the launch, Dee has done a great job of creating a believable YA voice. This is a novel of mystery - Matt turns 15 and receives a birthday card from his mother. Usually no big deal, except Matt was told his mother was dead. Dee had over 100 people at her launch, and we all got to chat and eat cake and celebrate the book with her.
I had my own bit of fun today. Although The Littlest Pirate and the Treasure Map (Aussie Nibbles S.) wasn't launched as such, this morning I went along to Dymocks at Camberwell and discovered a whole bunch of lively 3- and 4-year-olds, all dressed up as pirates. One even had a little parrot on his shoulder. I read the picture book, we coloured in, shared some cake and I showed them my pirate flag and special pirate glasses. I wasn't brave enough to sing the pirate song I'd made up.
And finally I am allowed to announce that my friend, Gina Perry, has won a Silver World Medal in the 2009 New York Festivals Radio Programming Awards for her radio documentary, Beyond the Shock Machine. If you heard this broadcast earlier this year on Radio Eye on the ABC, you will know what an amazing story it is. Stanley Millgram ran a series of controversial experiments more than 40 years ago, designed to test how far people would go when instructed to give electric shocks to others in a test situation. While someone in another room answered questions, a wrong answer required the "tester" to give a shock via a machine in front of them. Compliance? Obedience? Lack of moral judgement? Who would go all the way on the voltage meter? And why did it take Millgram so long to reveal to the testers that the person in the other room was faking it? It is a fascinating story. Congratulations, Gina, and also to the ABC producer and team that worked with you.
Time for champagne!