Our Pity Party & Zana Fraillon on young readers, leaving breadcrumbs & stardust

Because we are pretty sure you’ll excuse us, being in the middle of the Melbourne lockdown, this week we have a bit of a whinge about the little things that are getting on our goat.

And despite being a tiny bit crushed that she won’t be frequenting book stores and getting squishy with readers, Kate would LOVE you to join her online at this Readings event on Wednesday Sept 2 where she’ll be in conversation with Charlotte Wood, or on Monday Sept 7 for Avid Reader where she’ll chat with Trent Dalton all things The Mother Fault.

Also, we have news! A brand new fabulous (and outrageously qualified) Agony Aunt is coming to The First time to answer YOUR burning questions about publishing, writing and the industry. Start sending us your questions via twitter or our contact page and stay tuned for our big reveal!

Zana Fraillon was born in Melbourne, but spent her early childhood in San Francisco.  She has published 11 books including picture books and novels for children. Her 2016 novel The Bone Sparrow won the ABIA Book of the Year for Older Children, the Readings Young Adult Book Prize and the Amnesty CILIP Honour. It was also shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards, the Queensland Literary Awards, the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, the Gold Inky and the CILIP Carnegie Medal. The Ones that Disappeared won the NSW prize for fiction.

Zana has been a teacher, including a year spent in China teaching English and now lives in Melbourne with her three children, husband and two dogs. Her latest novel for children is The Lost Soul Atlas.

The conversation, the first recorded in Kate’s home studio rambles delightfully and covers:

  • Not knowing anyone in the industry when she began
  • Contacting her UK based agent – Claire Wilson – after seeing her name in the acknowledgements of Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell
  • Dealing with the success of The Bone Sparrow
  • Writing books with ‘issues’ at their heart
  • Her backyard studio
  • Separating the creative work from book admin
  • Writing non binary characters (for further reading see RCH Gender Clinic. Additional suggestions include the work of Quinn Eades or this article)
  • Reader feedback from Dani Solomon from Readings who Zana describes as ‘one of the most wonderful booksellers in the world’
  • Leaving breadcrumbs for the reader.
  • Influences including Isabelle Allende & Max Porter
  • Writing scary books for kids – ‘they are the safest places to explore emotions for kids’
  • Collaborating with Bren Macdibble on a new project after they connected on Twitter. (A Challenge for our listeners – reach out to someone you want to work with on twitter!)
  • Her upcoming picture book – The Curiosities

Zana’s advice:

  • Enjoy the highs
  • Close the door for the first draft
  • Let the book become what it wants to become
  • ‘Pin the butterfly’ – Ann Patchett

Her debut recommendations:

The Kite Runner – Khalid Hosseini

Black Cockatoo – Carl Merrison

Find out more about Zana Fraillon on her website or follow her on Twitter or Instagram.

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