Maurice Saxby Mentorship – Day 1

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.

Palate has a charming atmosphere, and I ordered salt and pepper calamari on rocket with a garlic aioli – delicious!

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!

2 thoughts on “Maurice Saxby Mentorship – Day 1

  1. oh Wow! i would love to meet Helen! i enjoyed this very much. I think i would have been shaking in my little fairy wings hehee. good luck with it, enjoy!!!

  2. The whole event sounds so worth while. I love the photo of your work with all the markings over it. Feedback that is treasured, nurtured, pondered upon and then acted on = progress. 🙂

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