21 February 2013

Stella Maria Sarah Miles Franklin

'A few months before I left Australia I got a letter from the bush signed "Miles Franklin", saying that the writer had written a novel, but knew nothing of editors and publisher, and asking me to read and advise. Something about the letter, which was written in a strong original hand, attracted me, so I sent for the MS, and one dull afternoon I started to read it. I hadn't read three pages when I saw what you will no doubt see at once - that the story had been written by a girl. And as I went on I saw that the work was Australian...'   HENRY LAWSON, from the Preface in My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin

A girl! An Australian girl! Wrote a novel!

Stella Maria Sarah Miles Franklin. Today your legacy is celebrated with the announcement of the longlist for the inaugural Stella Prize, the major new literary award for Australian women's writing.

And we are dancing-in-the-house DELIGHTED that Margo Lanagan's brilliant novel Sea Hearts is on the list

Dancing-in-the-house DELIGHTED.

So many HOORAYS for marvellous Margo. 
So many HURRAHS to all the excellent writers on the longlist
And so many HUZZAHS to the wonderful women at
The Stella Prize who have made it happen. 
One million cheers for all of you.

14 February 2013

Curse you, Tasman Sea

It was a sad day (for us) when Karen Healey left Melbourne to move back to New Zealand.

Sad because we can't have her round to the House for Friday drinks anymore, and sad because she is not in Melbourne and her AWESOME NEW BOOK SET IN MELBOURNE is now on the shelves in real live bookstores.

When We Wake is set in Melbourne, but not in a Melbourne that we know now, a possible Melbourne of the nearish future.

Is it a better Melbourne? Sometimes.
Is it worse? Sort of.
Is it an intriguing place? Yes.
Is it full of characters you will love? Oh yes.
Do any of those character love each other? YOU KNOW IT.
Is there any, say, danger for those characters in this new Melbourne? Guys, have you READ any of Karen's books? YES YES YES. Danger, love, the funny. Tension, suspense, the playful. It's ALL here.

And it's all so good.

Karen - if you weren't on the other side of the Tasman, we would pour you a glass of something, and say CONGRATULATIONS!


Just to hand, this awesome trailer from Little, Brown - Karen's lovely publishers in the USA! It's so cool that we'll even forgive Tegan's American accent.

08 February 2013

Crossing the Silver River

People. Listen up!

Read SONG FOR A SCARLET RUNNER and you'll understand why an Onion was extremely delighted when Julie Hunt crossed the Silver River Bass Strait to deliver this bunch of everlasting daisies...*

No, seriously. Read SONG FOR A SCARLET RUNNER.

It's classic children's fantasy-adventure. Remember how you felt when you read C.S. Lewis, or T.H. White, or Robert C. O'Brien? It's like that. We're not bluffing. Here's a taste.

As soon as I took out the bread, something shot past my shoulder and leapt into the tree. A face peered down at me through the leaves: a sharp, narrow face fringed with reddish fur. The eyes were bright and mean. If the creature sprang at me now I could fall. I broke off a small piece of bread and threw it, and he caught it in midair.
'There, we're even,' I whispered. 'Bread for water. Now go away.'
I put half the bread back in the bag and began eating the rest. The creature ate too, then moved closer, wanting more.
'I need this. I have a long way to go.'
He blinked and held my gaze. His eyes were grey-green, like the marshes.
'I have to eat. I have to get down from here,' I told him, as I threw him another piece of bread.
The creature caught it, then he ate slowly, looking deep into my eyes.
'What are you?' I asked. He wasn't like any animal I had seen near the Overhang. He wasn't a rabbit or a fox.
'You're small and sleek,' I said. 'And you are not to be trusted. I'll call you a sleek.'
The creature blinked and closed his eyes as if satisfied, then suddenly he sprang, snatching the remaining bread out of my hands and disappearing down the rock face.

Okay - you have to wait until April, but it will be WORTH THE WAIT. Seriously.

* This post contains A Clue about something else exciting happening this year for us in the House of Onion, something that we'll be talking a lot more about in coming weeks. Oh the excitement! Stay tuned.

01 February 2013

A Red Letter Day

Yesterday was a good day.

The first good thing was that the lovely Charlotte Lance, author and illustrator of the extremely cute A Really Super Hero, baked us a cake! A white chocolate mudcake. It was huge! And delicious! And is all gone, because we are vultures when it comes to good cake. Thank you, Charlotte!

And then, as if cake wasn't enough, Lili Wilkinson brought in her new puppy. Dame Maggie is a mini schnauzer, and so cute it ought to be illegal - all wriggly and gently bitey and floppy feet. Thank you, Lili!

Yesterday was a good day.