So pleased to see my poem BIMBILLA in The School Magazine ORBIT May 2021 with a vibrant illustration by indigenous artist Leanne Watson.
This poem is a tanka sequence, written in 2006. In the same year, I wrote a short story for children with the same title, Bimbilla. Bimbilla is a Worimi word for a pink cockle shell. I discovered the word on an information sign at a beach north of Port Stephens, New South Wales, where the story and the poem are set.
So often a visit to a place, and encounter with an object or word, will provoke some new writing.
My story was a finalist in the Ginninderra Press short story for children competition, and was published in the anthology SECRETS. That was the beginning of my association with Ginninderra Press who have published my two tanka collections and two fiction books (Mrs Rickaby’s Lullaby 2019 and Divertimento 2021).
I’d love it if an indigenous artist would collaborate with me to make an illustrated book of the story. Writing is a long game, and publication sometimes comes after a long time. A story like this has longevity, and I think there is still more to come.
Waiting for the Night began as a 195 word student assignment in 2008 for Libby Hathorn’s class on children’s literature in the Master of Creative Writing course at the University of Sydney.
It was only when I was clearing out some old files two years ago that I found the draft and decided it was worth revising. I spent a little time re-writing before sending the manuscript around to publishers.
Interactive Press (IP) responded with a positive email in 2016. The search for a suitable illustrator began. Early in 2017, Anna Seed and I signed a publishing contract with IP, and Anna began creating her vibrant illustrations.
The text went through many further drafts, changes and revisions in consultation with IP editor and publisher Dr David Reiter and illustrator Anna Seed. The flying fox was particularly troublesome! And many rewrites ensued.
At last, in March 2018, ten years after the first version, here is the cover for the published book. I hope that you and your little people will enjoy Waiting for the Night.