Dr Maurice Saxby AM is the author of the standard reference work History of Australian children’s literature. Maurice worked at Kuring-gai CAE and he has received many awards including the Dromkeen Medal and the Nan Chauncy Award and has lectured on the subject both in Australia and internationally.
I was lucky enough to meet Maurice at The Dromkeen Dinner at The State Library earlier this year. What a delightful man – so happy to talk and to share his passions. The world of children’s literature is truly magical – I had to keep pinching myself that night, I couldn’t believe that I was spending such a glorious evening with so many amazing people.
I felt the same way yesterday when I attended the Literature Live launch at The Prahran Library in Greville St. Prahran. I arrived an hour early and so had time to wander around Greville St. The first shop I entered was a body piercing shop – WHAT! No I didn’t get my tongue pierced, I bought a small nose ring. I’ve been getting around with a sleeper in my nose and thought it was about time to lash out and get a more discreet, less earingy nose ring, it was very self indulgent I know. Next I looked for a place to eat and decided to try Palate.
After lunch I strolled back down Greville St. to the library where I was greeted by Pam Horsey who is one of the executive members of CLAN Soon after we were ushered into a side room where the launch was to take place. I’d never been to the Prahran Library before and it took me back to when I was a child and my first visit to a library.
Here’s a poem I wrote about that… It’s called – My First Trip to the Library
When I was nearly six years old
My father took my hand
And walked me to the library
A strange exotic land
He sat me down between the aisles
And said he’d be back soon
Surrounded by a thousand books
A blissful afternoon
At first I really wasn’t sure
Exactly what to do
I tipped my head and read the spines
And soon discovered Pooh
Of course I speak of Winnie
The bear of little brain
Of Piglet, Roo and Kanga
A trip down memory lane
My dad would read these stories
When I was tucked in bed
But now I got to choose some books
That I could read instead
And though there were a thousand books
The choice was never ending
I knew that Milne would never waste
The time that I’d be spending
Once we’d mingled and introduced ourselves to everyone the Mayor of Stonnington City, Cr John Chandler launched the Literature Live Festival and Madeleine Meyer’s book The Carpet, an exquisite book published by Helen Chamberlin of Windy Hollow Books. I will be reviewing it for PASS IT ON next week. This was followed by a heart felt speech by Basil Varghese, NEEF’s CEO where he shared a lovely pearl of wisdom. He said that all carpets must have a mistake, as like the human being, they cannot be perfect. Which made me feel so much better about showing my rhyming verses to the amazing Elizabeth Honey, my mentor for the day. She has the patience of a Saint! Her meticulous editing and brain storming produced so many surprising and delightful ideas that I left feeling elated, exhausted and extremely grateful. Here’s how one page looked after being scrutinized by Elizabeth’s very keen eyes. And there are ten more pages just like this one! Heaven’s and I thought they were pretty good as they were!! Which
goes to show that opportunities like this are truly invaluable. To be able to present your work to seasoned authors, editors and publishers is really as good as it gets. I am so thankful that I have been chosen and I intend to squeeze every drop of knowledge that I can over the next two weeks. Be prepared to be squeezed people
So my next adventure is back to the Prahran Library on Friday where Elizabeth Honey will be giving a school workshop, I get to sit in and see how the professionals do it. After that it’s lunch with Helen Chamberlin followed by a meeting with Sarah Brennan, the Children’s Publisher at Allen & Unwin. Can’t wait!