Cristy Burne


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Attention, young reinventor! Another competition to enter

It’s that time again…time to put your thinking cap on and enter the 2018 Young Reinventor of the Year competition! It’s free to enter! There are great prizes! And there’s loads of time to register, plan and get started with cool classroom ideas or at-home projects. Entries are due 22 October 2018.

Some see waste, others see opportunity.

Re-inventing rubbish is the aim of the annual Young Re-inventor of the Year competition, held in WA to celebrate National Recycling Week (13–19 November).

Want to know which inventions came out on top in 2017? Scroll down!
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Young reinventors of the year

Last year, more than 350 young West Australians jumped at the chance to take rubbish and turn it into some very handy things. More than 130 re-inventions were judged on their usefulness, good looks, use of rubbish, and their ability to bring a garden to life.

The theme in 2018 is keeping our waterways clean and conserving water.

So, who were last year’s winners…. Drum roll….

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IBenn and Bianca of Donnybrook DHS

Sitting pretty

Benn Longbottom (14) and Bianca Peachey (13) of Donnybrook District High School won the high school prize in 2017.

“We invented a 44-gallon drum bench set for the garden,” says Bianca. The pair used an old wooden pallet and empty drum. “We pulled the planks off the pallet and used them as the seat and back rest. Apart from the spray paint, all our resources were recycled,” Benn says.

“We now realise how important it is for everyone to minimise their impact on the environment, to ensure we aren’t living in a rubbish dump.”

Standing tall

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Boyanup Primary School

The 2017 primary school prize went to Boyanup Primary School’s preprimary class. “We created a scarecrow by filling an old pair of overalls with straw and then put a bucket on top for his head,” explains Max. The class also used old jeans to make pots for plants. Ivy says: “The hardest bit when we filled up our jeans was [when] Miss Lewis forgot to sew up one leg so the gravel kept falling out.”

“Each child has ownership of one pair, with the principal’s name on the adult pair,” says their teacher, Marion Lewis.

Rust in peace

Josiah Truss, 17, was commended for his 2017 project, which recycled a toilet, wooden boards and plastic buckets to create a raised garden bed, complete with worm farm. “I thought it looked a bit like one of those old-fashioned graves you see in the pioneer cemeteries, so I painted “Rust in peace” on the front boards,” Josiah says.

Dog-tastic

Liam, 13, won the 2017 community division with a dog he made using scrap metal, golf balls, a paint roller, a grass hula skirt, and a door handle. The dog is a memorial for Liam’s pets. “I really miss them and wanted to use this opportunity to create a lasting memory of them in our garden,” he says.

Apple tree art

Zy Child, 9, won the 2017 community division with a mosaic made from bottle caps. “I live in Coral Bay WA and this is where the outback meets the sea, so our landscape is pretty barren with not much colour. My idea of lush green grass and an apple tree is to inspire the garden in these harsh conditions,” he says.

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You can enter as a classroom or as an individual.

Either way, there are loads of cross-curriclum activities and outcomes: think STEAM and STEM, Science, Arts, Technologies and Human Society and its Environment.  There are links to the Western Australian curriculum here.

All entrants will receive a participation certificate and are in the running to share in $3000 in prizes.

This article first appeared in Crinkling News.


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Begin the year with a BANG

I like to begin each year feeling fantastic and inspired, so here’s a list of recent GOOD NEWS that’s been making me bounce.

– KAWASAKI SYNDROME
A couple of months back, our eldest son came down with a fever with mild rash and weird tongue. The incredible people at Princess Margaret Hospital picked it up straight away: he was in the early stages of Kawasaki Syndrome.

KS is a mysterious and rare childhood disease that we’d never heard of my but girlfriends knew from Grey’s Anatomy and my mother-in-law knew from Catalyst. (Maybe I should watch more TV??).

So, why is this Good News ? Because, after timely treatment (thanks to blood donors everywhere!) and six weeks of waiting-and-rest, we’ve had the all-clear.

No long-term damage to the heart… HOORAY!!

BROTHERS by Cherry Lee – inspiration for the awards.

– CITY OF ROCKINGHAM SHORT FICTION AWARDS
Also a couple of months back, I entered a short story competition run by the City of Rockingham, and…

…I won a Commended prize with a lovely cheque to go with it. Woo hoo!

It was SO NICE to have this confidence boost, especially because I was writing for adults and outside of my genre. (Writing outside your genre is, BTW, one of the best ways to stretch your writing muscles. Give it a try!)

– CITY OF ROCKINGHAM WRITING AND READING EXPO

This was an AMAZING day…I loved meeting old friends and making new friends, and I totally enjoyed all the sessions. My fave was the afternoon session with Glenda Larke. I’m now so hooked on her novels that it’s a struggle to drag my nose out long enough to make a cuppa and head back. If you love long, fabulous fantasy, check her out. Glenda sounds like an amazing woman and her session was so generous and useful. Thank you Glenda!!

Watch for this expo next year: the whole day is FREE! You can read more about this great day at the very funny Meg McKinlay: You rock…and kinda suck (but mostly rock :-)) and pick up more pointers at Open your mind, crush your dreams, the title of which sounds awful, but only because the publishers and writers at the expo told it how it is, which is what we need to hear. If you want to be a writer, you have to work at it, like anything else.

Picked up lots of inspiration and ideas and managed to get there and back on public transport! YAY!!

– NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS
Also in Good News, I have purchased a set of five highlighers and a calendar, and am colour-coding my way to success and happiness. Woo hoo!

I really do think it will be that easy. I haven’t resolved to do anything crazy, like WRITE EVERY DAY or JOG EVERY MORNING. Instead, I’ve made lots of ONCE-A-MONTH goals, so I only need to do this resolution once a month (or twelve measly times a year), to feel INCREDIBLE SUCCESS AND ACHIEVEMENT. (Ooo, what’s that? I feel it now!)

I’m writing this post fresh from swimming a kilometre for the first time in almost-double-digit years. WOO HOO!

So let’s get to it! What are your resolutions? How’s your New Year shaping up?

takeshitademons_blog-cover 4


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Guest blogging for the Christchurch Kids Blog…all this month

Want to discover some new Japanese demons and monsters?

Want to hear about some spooky Japanese superstitions and proverbs?

Want to win a copy of Takeshita Demons?

All this month I’m blogging as a Star Author for the Christchurch Kids Blog

I’ll cover all the above topics and more, so head on over and join in the fun.

And in more exciting news…

I’m working on Takeshita Demons 4 – working title: MER-MONSTER!!! It’s going really well and I’m excited! Woo hoo!


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Announcement of the winner of the 2011 Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices Childrens Book Award

Announcement of the winner of the 2011 Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices Children’s Book Award

This year’s  Diverse Voices award was presented last night at Seven Stories, the UK’s national centre for children’s books

and…

Helen Limon accepts her prizeIt was won by Helen Limon for Om Shanti, Babe, a story about growing up, family and friendships that the judges described as ‘Fabulous . . . laugh-out-loud funny’.

Enter the 2012 award!

The closing date for the next award is 31st December 2012.

Want to enter in 2012? This is what the judges are looking for…
The judges looked for a strong story that an 8 to 12-year-old would want to read rather than a worthy book that overtly explores social issues. The decision to give the Award to Om Shanti, Babe was unanimous. The panel said: “The story is authentic, the narrative voice rock solid throughout, and it’s laugh-out-loud funny.”

More on Om Shanti, Babe
Om Shanti, Babe
is the tale of teenage Cassia, who is forced to drop her preconceived ideas when she joins her mother on a business trip to south India, takes in fair trade and environmental issues alongside Cassia’s struggles to accept her mother’s new Indian partner, her spiky tussles with fashion-mad friend-to-be Priyanka and her crushes on pop star Jonny Gold, and Dev, a boy she meets on a train.

More on the Diverse Voices award
The Award, now in its third year, was founded jointly by Frances Lincoln Limited and Seven Stories, the national centre for children’s books, in memory of Frances Lincoln (1945-2001) to encourage and promote diversity in children’s fiction. The prize of £1,500 plus the option for Janetta Otter-Barry at Frances Lincoln Children’s Books to publish the novel is awarded to the best manuscript for eight to 12-year-olds that celebrates diversity in the widest possible sense.

Ongoing success for the award…
To date Janetta has commissioned or published six books by writers who have entered the award: the Takeshita Demons trilogy by Cristy Burne, winner of the inaugural award, Too Much Trouble by Tom Avery, the 2010 winner, and A Hen in the Wardrobe and Chess and Chapattis, the first two titles in the Cinnamon Grove series by Wendy Meddour, who entered the 2009 award.

Paying tribute to the success of the Award, Janetta said:

”The exceptional quality of the winners of the first two awards is a real measure of the success of our Diverse Voices joint venture with Seven Stories. I am proud that the Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices Children’s Book Award is achieving exactly what it set out to do – to discover and encourage new writers of exciting, culturally diverse fiction.”

More about the shortlist
By coincidence, both the winner and the second-placed author in this international award are from Newcastleupon-Tyne (the judges are not given any details about the writers until they have made their decision).

Karon Alderman, who teaches literacy skills to adults, received the Highly Commended award for For Keeps, the tale of a young asylum seeker and her  family.

Australian author Michelle Richardson received a Special Mention (an award which the judges can choose to give to a manuscript that shows great potential but is not ready for publication) for Tek, about a young girl from the Aboriginal Australian Murrinh-Patha community who can communicate with the ngepan, the spirits of the dead.

Meet Helen Limon…
The winning author, Helen Limon, lives in rural Northumberland with her partner, a painter. Her daughter, who is studying tailoring in London, had an influence on the character of Priyanka with her passion for fashion. Helen spent her childhood mostly abroad until she was 10, including four years in Penang, Malaysia, where she learned about life in England from second-hand children’s books.

“Until we came back to England, in the 1970s, I thought most British kids were a cross between The Family from One End Street and Enid Blyton’s Famous Five.”

After spending her early adulthood travelling in Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand, Helen arrived in the North-East as a student at Newcastle University. She started writing in 2000 when she set up a children’s literacy project in a neglected allotment behind a Metro station in Newcastle. The project turned into a publishing venture for local authors and illustrators, Zed Said. Helen has just finished a PhD in creative writing at Newcastle University.

But where do you get your ideas?
The inspiration for Om Shanti, Babe came from encounters with local people on a 2009 visit to Kerala.

She said: “Talking to the mothers about their lives and their ambitions for their families, and listening to what the children said they wanted, inspired the story and made me conscious of the social and environmental themes that are woven into the book.

“My characters are not the sort of children that get written about much and I lived most of my life not in England, so I do sort of know what it is like to be different inside your head even if you look like everyone else on the outside.”

Launch of Too Much Trouble

From left to right, Helen Limon (2011 winner) Tom Avery (2010 winner – Too Much Trouble was released on the night) and Karon Alderman (2011 runner up)

And a Too Much Trouble party to boot!
The presentation at Seven Stories also celebrated the publication of Tom Avery’s contemporary Oliver Twist story, Too Much Trouble, winner of last year’s Award.

Presenting the Award, John Nicoll, Managing Director of Frances Lincoln, said:

“I’m delighted, once again, that the judges have found such a worthy winner, whose writing both entertains, and helps the young reader to understand the ever more complex society in which they are growing up. Truly this seems like a worthwhile project and one of which Frances would have been proud.”

Accepting the Award, Helen Limon said:

“I am thrilled to have won this award. Om Shanti, Babe was inspired by the families I met in India and the very positive response to the book is a tribute to them. Growing up, making friends and forming loving families across cultures is what my story and Diverse Voices is all about.”

Kate Edwards, chief executive of Seven Stories, added:

“Last year’s Diverse Voices Award winner Too Much Trouble, deserves to be a big hit. It’s a great story that brings the plight of many young victims of crime and exploitation to the fore. I’m delighted that 2011’s winning manuscript is another page-turning adventure, this time set in India. Seven Stories is committed to this prize and our work to promote new storytelling and to celebrate and recognise different cultures and experiences. The strength of our partnership with Frances Lincoln Children’s Books and the enthusiasm of the judges have, once again, made the Award a great success.”

The winner of the Award is chosen by an independent panel of judges. The distinguished panel of judges includes:

  • Trevor Phillips – Chair of The Equality and Human Rights Commission
  • Jake Hope – Children’s Librarian for Lancashire Libraries and a freelance consultant
  • Geraldine Brennan – Journalist and former Books Editor at the TES
  • Mary Briggs – Co-Founder of Seven Stories, the Centre for Children’s Books
  • Janetta Otter-Barry – Janetta Otter-Barry Books at Frances Lincoln Children’s Books

The Shortlist
The judges discussed a short list of four titles, without knowing anything about the authors. The range of material
impressed them. The decision to give the Award to the winner was unanimous.

The Winner: Om Shanti, Babe by Helen Limon
Synopsis: Cassia joins her mother, who runs a fair trade craft shop, on a buying trip to India, a country that she
mostly knows from her Bollywood dance routines. Troubled by a friendship gone sour at home, and feeling out of
place in a new culture that challenges her assumptions, she reacts badly to her mother’s relationship with an Indian
colleague. As Cassia sheds some of her preconceived ideas, she finds friends where she least expects to and starts to
realise her dream to follow her mother into business.

Highly Commended: For Keeps by Karon Alderman
Synopsis: Benedicta (Ben), her mother and younger sister are asylum seekers from Cameroon. While their
uncertain future and hand-to-mouth existence cast a shadow over Ben’s friendships and fun times at school glee
club and on church outings, she has decided that Newcastle is her home. With her friend Becky, she resolves to
help a bullied schoolfriend, Jaz.

Special Mention: Tek by Michelle Richardson
Synopsis: Tek accompanies her cold and distant father, an expert on Australian Aboriginal culture, to a desert
army base where her gift for communicating with the ngepan (spirits of the dead) surfaces just when it is most
inconvenient. (Michelle lives in Australia. She did not attend the ceremony.)

Enter the 2012 award!
The closing date for the next award is 31st December 2012.


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How to get published: secrets revealed at the Perth Writers Festival

I am EXHAUSTED and I didn’t present a thing today!

Instead I attended the Perth Writers Festival’s day-long workshop, the A-Z of Getting Published, and it was great! There were 200 people there and the entire session was MCed by Angela Meyer of Literary Minded, who kept things cool, calm and interesting all day long, despite Perth’s heat, the bright lights and the long hours.

‘D’ is for Don’t Give Up

The lineup was terrific, with info on how to get published, trends in publishing, how to get an agent, how to work with an editor, how to choose a publishing house, etc, etc. (See below for my fave moments from each presenter).

Many people may have come away from the day depressed by the reality of how hard it is to get published.

To these folk I say: don’t give up! All this doom and gloom is just part of the process of testing how badly you want to be a writer. The weak will fall by the roadside but the passionate will drag themselves from their knees and keep writing.

The publishing secret they didn’t reveal: Writing competitions!
I think one huge (and encouraging) thing was missed during the day: Writing competitions! Entering legit competitions is a great way to get your work under the noses of publishers and out of the slushpile.

There are heaps of great competitions out there, but also some less reputable ones that charge huge fees and offer little in return. The big rule is: do your research before you enter!

Some great writing competitions that are well worth the price of entering (or free to enter), spring immediately to mind (but there are a gazillion more and many are genre-specific…just Google):

  • The TAG Hungerford Award (West Australian writers)
  • The Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices Childrens Book Award (International)
  • The Chicken House Childrens Fiction Competition (International)
  • Also interesting is the annual Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (International)
  • And the Voices on the Coast Childrens Writing Competition (an award with both I and Briony Stewart, who is also presenting at Sunday’s family day, have won in our time)(which goes to show it’s a great way to get a start in the industry :-))

But back to the A-Z of getting published…..

Favourite moments from the day.

Meredith Curnow, publisher from Random House:
“Some people have voice. Some people can long-jump. We all have things we wish we were good at.”

Mandy Brett, senior editor with Text Publishing:
“You have to ‘hear’ what is wrong with your work. Like music, you can develop your ear. You need to know what good writing sounds like.”

Clive Newman, foreign rights manager at Fremantle Press:
Fremantle Press don’t mind taking risks: they picked up Elizabeth Jolley after she had been rejected 57 times; they published Craig Silvey after his manuscript had languished on the desk of an unnamed major publishing house for two years; they took time to edit and trim A.B. Facey’s A Fortunate Life and gave it a life when noone else would.

John Harman, writer:
“Which is more important, plot or character? That’s like asking Cathy Freeman, which is your most important leg?”

Lyn Tranter, agent with Australian Literary Management:
Agents are worth their weight in gold: L M Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables, apparently sold her copyright to this work for a pittance and spent the rest of her life trying to get it back. So book contracts were complicated even back then! As Lyn said: “What she needed was an agent.”

Terri-ann White from UWA publishing
Terri-ann gave an interesting breakdown of where the money goes when a consumer buys a book: 10% to the author; 20-27.5% to the book distributor; 40% to the book seller and the rest to the publisher (0ut of which comes expenses including printing, design, editing, etc). The average number of copies sold when it comes to Australian fiction is 919. A good seller sells around 3000 copies.

Amanda Curtin, freelance book editor and writer
Amanda recommended authors create a style guide for their work, listing the correct spelling of character names, a family tree and chronology. This, Amanda said, not only helps you write your book, it also helps the editor who will be assigned to edit your work once it is accepted.

Emma Morris, publicist with Scribe
Emma’s message: Do any interview that comes your way. Forget your nerves and talk about your passion: the book. And embrace social media: Twitter, blogging, FaceBook.

Any other tips?
Do you have tips to share from today’s session or from your own publishing journey? I’d love to hear what you think!


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Gather your courage and enter: Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices Childrens Book Award

THIS PRESS RELEASE WENT OUT THIS WEEK: HAVE YOU READ IT YET?
What are you waiting for??? 🙂

REMINDER OF DEAD LINE   – it is not too late to enter…..

The closing date for the current Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices Award is Friday 25th February 2011.

“Gather your courage and just do it: this award is the break you’ve been looking for.

Anyone with a secret manuscript in their bottom  drawer or a story brewing in their head should enter the Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices Childrens Book Award. It’s free to enter, you can enter by email, and if you make the shortlist, your writing life will never be the same.”
From Cristy Burne, winner of the inaugural award with Takeshita Demons (selected for Children’s Book Week, Booked Up and January 2011 Blue Peter Book Club title)

“Hello all you budding writers,

Just a year ago I was in your shoes, attempting feverishly to finish that manuscript ready for the big deadline.  The good news is that you still have time.  You still have time to tweak that bit of dialogue, tidy up that plot twist and sharpen that characterisation.

Diverse Voices
gives you the opportunity to meet some wonderful people, have your manuscript read by a host of excellent critics and possibly work with the great team at Frances Lincoln to publish your book.  So don’t give-up, don’t stop now, don’t falter at the final hurdle.

All the very best, hopefully meet you one day!”
From Tom Avery, winner of the 2010 award with Too Much Trouble (publication: June 2011)


Frances Lincoln Limited, the award-winning publisher, and Seven Stories, the Centre for Children’s Books, are delighted with the success to date of the Diverse Voices Award, set up in memory of Frances Lincoln (1945-2001) to encourage and promote diversity in children’s fiction. The prize of £1,500 plus the option for Janetta Otter-Barry at Frances Lincoln Children’s Books to publish the novel is awarded to the best manuscript for 8-to-12-year-olds that celebrates diversity in the widest possible sense.

“The exceptional quality of the winners of the first two awards is a real measure of the success of our Diverse Voices joint venture with Seven Stories.

And by the time the third winner is announced in June 2011 I will have commissioned or published six books by writers who entered the award: the Takeshita Demons trilogy by Cristy Burne, winner of the inaugural award, Too Much Trouble by Tom Avery, the 2010 winner, and A Hen in the Wardrobe and Chess and Chapattis, the first two titles in the Cinnamon Grove series by Wendy Meddour, who entered the 2009 award.

I am proud that the Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices Award is achieving exactly what it set out to do – to discover and encourage new writers of exciting, culturally diverse fiction.”
From Janetta Otter-Barry at Frances Lincoln Children’s Books

For full details about the award and to download an entry form go to
www.sevenstories.org.uk

Alternatively, contact the Award Co-ordinator, Helena McConnell by email diversevoices@sevenstories.org.uk or helena@sevenstories.org.uk


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3 habits of bad writing: Not useful…AT ALL; A BIT superfluous; PRETTY awful

Over the next month, Takeshita Demons is being featured in editing and writing workshops held by Seven Stories in the UK, as part of promotions for the 2011 Diverse Voices children’s book award (which you should enter if you are an as-yet unpublished children’s author)(It’s INTERNATIONAL and FREE TO ENTER and you can ENTER BY EMAIL!)(Go! Go! Go!)

EDITKarakasa yokai umbrella demonING TAKESHITA DEMONS

As part of these workshops I was asked to think about what changes occured as a result of the editing process for Takeshita Demons:

The big ones, of course, were my editor’s request for another chapter (can you guess which one?), and the request by my First Draft Reading Team (=my parents and husband) for a more comprehensive and satisfying conclusion to the plot (I have a horrible tendency to rush my first draft finales).

But I’m also surprised by what a HUGE difference the little changes make.  I’ve discovered my three worst writing habits, and am curbing them thanks to extensive use of the DELETE key.

These habits are:

1) TERRIBLE HABIT #1

AT ALL. It is not useful at all to add this phrase to every sentence. Nothing at all is gained. It just takes up extra space that could be used to do something more interesting. There is no reason at all to include it.

2) TERRIBLE HABIT #2

A BIT. I get a bit worried when this phrase crops up. It’s a bit of a waste to include it. I used it when I was trying to build a bit of tension, but it doesn’t add anything. It’s a bit superfluous.

3) TERRIBLE HABIT #3

PRETTY. It’s pretty annoying to see my first drafts are covered in this word. I use it pretty much every time I want to sound cool, but it’s pretty easy to see that it doesn’t do much to earn its place in the sentence. Now I’m pretty hardcore about deleting it every time it crops up.

TAKE A BREAK FROM TERRIBLE HABITS

Argh. It hurts me just to read those sentences now. But it’s been extremely useful to have someone wave the red flag over these TERRIBLE HABITS. If I get annoyed with them, imagine the effect on my readers!

OTHER EDITING THOUGHTS
It is very useful to have someone with skills, experience, knowledge and passion look through your work and make suggestions.

My Takeshita Demons editor also picked up on some grammatical/spelling errors I’ve been repeating for years and (hopefully) I repeat them no longer.  (Keep in mind that I also work as an editor, so having simple errors highlighted was both embarassing and useful.)

Also, I was surprised by how much discussion went into small things (the flavour of pizza that the Takeshitas might have in their freezer), but was also very happy to realise that most of the book was working for most people. What a relief!

Takeshita Demons: The Filth Licker proofs will be out in a few months and I’m almost finished the first draft of Takeshita Demons: Monster Matsuri, so editing time is rolling around for me again. This time, I’ll be armed with more weapons than ever before!

Anyone have any TERRIBLE writing habits they’d like to share?