Cristy Burne

Author, editor, science writer

Leave a comment

Write Your Childhood with the Town of Victoria Park Arts Season

Want to share a story from your childhood with today’s children? It could be a tale of growing up in another country, an experience of overcoming adversity, or a story from Australia’s history…

I’m very excited to announce a terrific opportunity…

Cristy Burne and Frane Lessac.jpg…Along with incredible children’s book creator, Frané Lessac, I’ll be running a free series of Write Your Childhood workshops as part of the 2018 Town of Victoria Park Arts Season.

The workshops are designed for adults with a unique story to tell about their childhood: retirees, recent arrivals, total beginners, those who grew up in another country, or who experienced another way of life. We want to help you share your story.

The workshops are free, but places are extremely limited.

The workshops will be held once a week for a month, to give participants time to work on their projects at home.

Free childcare is provided on-site, with a gorgeous leafy playground for your little ones to enjoy while you get creative in the adjacent room.

Note: You should be able to attend all four workshops to secure your place.

WRITE YOUR CHILDHOOD: About the workshops

Join a group of beginner writers and learn how to write and illustrate a children’s book that tells a story from your childhood. Facilitated by children’s author Cristy Burne and author-illustrator Frané Lessac, this series of workshops aims to:

  • help residents from all walks of life to make connections in their community
  • give these residents a voice to share stories from their childhood in a format children can enjoy.


Venue: All workshops are held at the Victoria Park Community Centre.
246 Gloucestor St
East Victoria Park
(This is the home of the HoneyPot Play Group, between LeisureLife and John McMillan Park).

Week 1: Wednesday 21 March, 1pm – 2.30pm
Connecting with your childhood—getting ideas and meeting each other.

Facilitator: Cristy Burne

Week 2: Wednesday 28 March, 1pm – 2.30pm
Nuts and bolts of writing for children—techniques and tips for telling your story using pictures and words.

Facilitator: Frané Lessac

Week 3: Wednesday 4 April, 1pm – 2.30pm
Crash course in illustration—hands-on illustration workshop with a focus on children’s picture books.
Facilitator: Frané Lessac

Week 4:Wednesday 11 April, 1pm – 2.30pmBringing it all together—sharing the final product and tips on where-to-from-here.
Facilitator: Cristy Burne)


Post course exhibition: Selected works from the workshop (such as beautifully presented phrases, paragraphs, sketches or illustrations) will be exhibited in the foyer of the Town of Victoria Park Library.



Places are strictly limited. If you’d like one, please contact me with your expression of interest, including a short paragraph about why you’d love to participate and the story or types of stories you’re interested in exploring.

artsseasonlogo.pngProudly supported by the Town of Victoria Park and the Victoria Park Community Centre Inc.

Read about the program in the Southern Gazette.

Leave a comment

Curated by Kids: Perth Writers Festival

In 2017 I was lucky enough to interview some of the 2017 Kid Curators for the Perth Writers Festival. One year later, it could be me in the author hot seat, being interviewed by the kids as part of Perth Writers Week! (How exciting!)(/me trembles in boots)

Find out more about the Curated By Kids program here.

My interview with the curators first appeared in Crinkling News.


The hottest stars of the children’s book world will be at the mercy of ten kids this Perth Writer’s Festival.

The kid curators are a specially selected team of book lovers. They’re in charge of designing and hosting interactive sessions across the biggest day of the PWF program: Family Day.

“I was extremely happy to get in,” says Madelaine Mayo, 10. “I screamed! But I’m also a bit scared, excited, terrified. Everyone will be coming to see what we do.”

Jarvis Hicks, 11, says he was “a mess” when he found out. “I was so happy.”

By kids, for kids

The team are now working hard to brainstorm ideas and invent workshops.

“Everyone’s really nice,” says Zoe Wallin, 10. “We all read books, we all think alike. When you read, you have that imaginative thinking, so you’re a bit more creative, a bit more out-there.”

Madelaine agrees. “I love being surrounded by other people who love books.”

Each of the ten curators brings their own talents to the table.

For example, Jarvis is an illustrator and actor with experience in multiple musicals, Zoe is a keen author of horror and action-adventure and a member of her inter-school public speaking team, and Madelaine is an accomplished writer, winning last year’s Children’s Book Council of Australia’s Make Your Own Story Book competition.

Backstage passes

On the day, the team will be working even harder: interviewing authors and illustrators on stage, publishing book reviews on the festival blog, managing all the details behind the scenes, and then relaxing backstage in the festival Green Room to munch on cake and hobnob with the stars.

The curators were formally introduced from their front-row seats at the launch of the Perth International Arts Festival last week.

“Helping a massive festival that everyone in WA knows about… I’m quite nervous, and really excited at the same,” says Zoe.

As well as planning and hosting Family Day, the lucky ten receive training and mentoring for their roles, and book prize packs for their school and personal library.

Meet the 2017 Kid Curators

Jarvis Hicks, Host, Interviewer

  • Recently read book: How to Train Your Dragon series by Cressida Cowell
  • I most want to meet: Donovan Bixley, author/illustrator of Much Ado About Shakespeare and Lance Balchin, author/illustrator of Mechanica

Madelaine Mayo, Producer, Reviewer

  • Recently read book: Nancy Drew and the Bungalow Mystery by Carolyn Keene
  • I most want to meet: James Foley, author/illustrator of Brobot

Zoe Wallin, Host, Interviewer

  • Recently read book: Ratburger by David Walliams
  • I most want to meet: Oliver Phommavanh, author of The Other Christy

What does the 2018 Curated By Kids program hold? You’ll just have to come along to Perth Writers Week and find out…


Writer’s Week, chance at a prize, and a new cover sneak preview

I’m super-honoured to be part of this year’s Perth International Arts Festival WRITERS WEEK! I’m returning to the festival for the first time since 2012, so you can imagine how excited I am 🙂

There’s loads to see and do and learn and create, for kids and adults, foodies and fashionistas… Download the full program here or click on the images below.

My Saturday session is a free storytelling event. I’ll be reading from To The Lighthouse and answering lots of questions. I’d love to see you there!

On Sunday I’ll be chatting with fab authors and all-round excellent people, AJ Betts and Deb Fitzpatrick, about writing for younger readers. Tickets available here.

PS: Want to win?

If you loved your vicarious visit to Rottnest via To The Lighthouse, you could maybemaybeprettyplease submit it for WA In Words, part of this year’s Perth festival (and potentially WA’s new museum!).

You will go into the draw to win two nights at Hyatt Regency Perth with a $150 book voucher from Boffins Books and a hamper of fine WA produce. Yee ha!

Amanda Burnett cover draft crop.jpgAnd PPS:…. Sneak preview!!!

I’m so excited about a new book (!!!) (tentatively called “Off The Track”) coming out with Fremantle Press in August this year. It’s for ages 6 to 10 and I’m thrilled to announce that the amazing Amanda Burnett will once again be illustrating with her gorgeous characters and amazing cover.

I’ve sneakily cropped a corner of Amanda’s artwork for the new cover design…

I wonder if you can guess where this next adventure is set? 

Leave a comment

Buzz Week workshop at Vic Park library

Crowd goes wild! My end-of-year children’s creative writing workshop at the Vic Park library was massively overbooked, so….


We’re doing it all again! If you missed out last time, jump quickly to reserve your $3 ticket. (And if you came last time and loved it, why not come again!!??!!)(I’d love to see you :-))

For six to 10 year olds

$3 per child, non-refundable.

Date: Tuesday, 27 February 2018 | 04:00 PM to 05:30 PM

Venue: Victoria Park Library, 27 Sussex Street, East Victoria Park 6101

Cristy Burne

Switch on your imagination for this funny and interactive workshop with children’s author and science writer Cristy Burne. Write, draw and invent. All materials provided.

Cristy has a passion for learning through doing and loves to inspire creativity, daring and resilience in her readers. Her latest book is To the Lighthouse.

Please note your booking is not confirmed until payment has been received at the library.




My New Year’s Resolutions…and goodbye Crinkling News

Happy 2018 everyone! I’m rested and rip-roaring to get my teeth into new projects.

Writing every day!
Inspired by children’s writer H. M Waugh’s JanNoWriMo, I’m writing every day. I’m working on a project I started a year ago and just haven’t been able to forget. It’s very close to my heart, and it’s going well. Perhaps that’s because I’m taking more risks.

  • I’m starting from setting. Now, will those of you who know me, please get up from off the floor. Yes. Setting. Enjoying setting is a relatively new thing for me, perhaps inspired by To The Lighthouse, where Rottnest Island is such a huge part of the story. So: yay, me! My relationship with setting is developing. My writing is developing.
  • I’m leaving story errors in the manuscript. (What!? You’re not making everything perfect!?!?)(Nope. Poo to perfect.) I figure I can fix the gaping errors, rubbish cliches and sketchy details later, when I have a better grasp of what the story actually is.
  • I’m not fleshing out minor characters. (See above.) I can breathe life into them later, when I know more about their B-plots.
  • I’m not chained to writing the story in order. Instead I’m writing in chunks, like building with Lego. I can move chunks around once I know the basic structure of my house, to give it that bit of architectural va-voom.
  • I’m writing what I love, what I want to think about, what I want kids to think about.
  • I’m writing every day. I know, I know. You’re supposed to write every day, all the writing coaches say this. Well, the tough truth is, they’re correct. Or at least, they are when it comes to being me. I write better, and I’m happier, when I write every day.


New Year’s Resolutions
My New Year’s Resolution last year was to Be More Selfish. (You’ll note I didn’t share this with you last year. Selfish, hey :-)) So yeah. Be More Selfish. If you’re a serial pleaser, like me, you should give it a try. 2017 was the first time in eight years since I’d had five days a week for myself. It rocked! I tried to spend more time doing what was important to me. I tried to spend less time bending over backwards on the off chance of keeping everyone happy. Resolution Rating: 5 stars.

In 2018, my New Year’s Resolution is to Think Less. Yep, you also read that one right. I over-think things. Important things and unimportant things. I spend hours and hours working out the pros and cons of A over B, or C over A, and large chunks of my life are spent deciding instead of doing. But, as my lovely mum always says: if it’s really hard to choose between two things, they’re probably both good. (Aren’t mums great!) So this year, I’m channeling Ben Lee: Just do it, whatever it is, whatever it is. Just do it. So, yep. Think Less. Resolution Rating: Watch this space.


Crinkling News
On a sadder note, I found out today that Crinkling News, the incredible children’s newspaper I’ve been regularly contributing to, is folding. It’s a shock, especially following the success of their crowd-funding campaign mid-2017 (thanks to everyone who helped keep it alive). I’m disappointed that it didn’t live for longer. But I’m proud to reflect on all the work Crinkling did to celebrate good news, educate kids about current affairs, and inspire our next generation to be involved, media-savvy citizens.

Thanks to everyone who subscribed or donated or contributed to Crinkling. I’m shocked and saddened to see it go :-/

A list of some of my stories is below. I’ve loved chatting to all my interviewees, learning so many new things, and inspiring kids with the possibilities of science and technology. Here’s hoping the ripples from reading Crinkling News spread far and wide.

And here’s hoping we have a fabulous 2018. Just do it, whatever it is.

CoversCristy Burne Crinkling articlesCristy Burne Crinkling articles2Cristy Burne Crinkling articles3Cristy Burne Crinkling articles4Cristy Burne Crinkling articles5


Leave a comment

An amazing school visit – Art, science, English and more

I was recently lucky enough to spend some time at Rostrata Primary, where the Year 3s have been studying To the Lighthouse in class. Their amazing teachers, Edward Wilkinson and Charu Sharma, have used To the Lighthouse to teach art, science, English and more…

I was so humbled and impressed by the students’ efforts. There were book reviews, lighthouse mosaics, To The Lighthouse comics, gorgeous peacock paintings, fabulous lighthouse wall displays, and an incredible working lighthouse activity. LOVE IT! Thank you so much!

And, as a special treat, I was able to meet Richard Johnson, Rostrata’s incredible science specialist teacher. He’s a passionate teacher, and a finalist in the Global Teacher Prize for the work he has done in bringing science to life in primary schools (announced by Stephen Hawking here).

In the school lab I saw spiny stick insects, giant pterosaurs, 3D printers, gorgeous fish, and more silkworm moths than I’ve ever seen in my life!!!!! I also saw how science can be brought to life for children. I didn’t enjoy science at primary school because I didn’t ever realise how fabulous it was.

Now, thanks to teachers like Mr Johnson, kids around Australia can have this chance. Amazing!


Leave a comment

Some fun snaps from the last few weeks

I’m feeling really lucky right now to have had such an amazing year and to have met so many terrific people.

I also feel lucky not to have been made into snail milkshakes by a demented frog with the world’s least popular hair. Because in this writing business, anything can happen. Especially when you let kids begin with a Mr Squiggle and then James Foley starts to draw…AMAZING!

Thanks to Suzette Teixeira for these photos from a great session with James at the City of Melville’s Merge Festival. Here we are ‘on the couch’ with Jane Fraser, the CEO of Fremantle Press. It was so much fun – thank you for laughing at our jokes. As you can see, I thought they were pretty funny 🙂

Merge on the couch.jpg

SIDE.jpgAnd thanks also to the fabulous team at the School of Isolated and Distance Education!

We had a terrific day chatting to kids from all over Australia and the world!! I had a blast 🙂

I especially loved the chance to teach with a text box active on the screen, because students were firing jokes and questions and it was fast-paced and funny. Perfect! Thank you everyone!!