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Archive for February, 2011

"The Lost Thing by Shaun Tan"

The Lost Thing wins a 2011 Oscar for Best Short Animated Film

A few posts back, we mentioned that The Lost Thing—an animated film based on Shaun Tan’s book—was nominated for an Oscar. The very exciting news today is that it won the Oscar for Best Short Animated Film!

Hooray! Hooray!

If you haven’t already checked out the trailer, you can find it over on The Lost Thing‘s own website. (Due to the win, there are a lot of visitors there today, so make sure you check again later if you’re finding it slow to load!)

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"Oliver Phommavanh, author of Thai-riffic!"

Oliver Phommavanh, author of Thai-riffic!

In every issue of Alphabet Soup magazine we interview an author or illustrator. The trouble is, we can only fit some of their answers in the magazine. So we print the full interviews on the blog—we wouldn’t want you to miss out!

In issue 10 we talked to Oliver Phommavanh, author of Thai-riffic!

Where do you live?
I live at my website, http://www.oliverwriter.com and blog http://www.winfree.com.au (how’s that for shameless plugging in the first question?). Offline, I live in Liverpool, Western Sydney.

What do you love best about being a writer?
I never have to grow up hehe. I really love creating quirky characters and cramming in as many funny jokes as I can. Plus I enjoy visiting different schools and making kids laugh.

What was your favourite book as a child?
I was a bookworm so I have many favourites. I loved Paul Jennings’s ‘Un’ series and Morris Gleitzman’s Blabber Mouth and Sticky Beak books. Hating Alison Ashley was also pretty cool.

Was it easy to get Thai-riffic! published?
Not really. I knew it was going to be tough so I prepared myself for lots of rejections and setbacks. But I also had this belief that there was nothing like Thai-riffic! out there yet, so that kept me going. It was going to be a matter of time until I saw Thai-riffic! on the shelves.

"Thai-riffic!" coverWhat do you like to do when you are not writing?
I love playing video games and reading (still proud to be a bookworm). I’m a primary school teacher and stand up comedian so my days are jam packed!

What made you become a writer?
I always wanted to be one, ever since I started getting awards for writing in Year 1. It took me some time to find my audience and style though. I tried my hand at adult fiction in my uni days. Then I tried teaching and realised that I was destined to write for kids.

Where do you get your ideas?
Most of my stories start off with a core moment or feeling from my childhood. Some of my characters are based on kids that I’ve taught. Teaching can be wonderful market research hehe. I carry a notebook with me everywhere I go, soaking up funny lines, come backs and any striking language and descriptions of the classroom. I’ve also trained my brain as a stand up comedian to squeeze out jokes from any situation.

Do you have any advice for young writers?
Get yourself out there in the writing community. I joined a writers group and other organisations such as SCBWI and CBCA, meeting lots of writers and authors. I’ve been lucky to get my breaks through festivals and conferences, where publishers are so approachable, in other words, they can’t escape hehe. There are heaps of competitions to enter, if you win then you gain some cred and assurance that you’re on the right track. And just keep writing, let those words flow. If you’re enjoying the process, then you’re halfway there.

Are you working on a book at the moment?
I’ve just finished my second book Con-nerd, coming out in June 2011. It’s about a nerd (me, surprise surprise) who has a knack for drawing cartoons that suddenly makes him cool and popular. I’ve just started writing my next book about a teenager doing stand up comedy, which should hit the shelves in 2012.

Do any of your family or friends recognise themselves in your writing?
I hope so because I love using their names as characters in my stories. Thai-riffic!‘s eccentric parents are based on Mum and Dad. Everyone’s grateful to find their names and/or personalities in print. It’s a simple way of thanking them for supporting me on my ‘cHEwY’ journey.

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You can find out more about Oliver Phommavanh and his books on his website and blog.

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"Boy writing by Greg Mitchell"

© Greg Mitchell

Here is the winning Under 12s poem from our summer 2010 writing competition. You were asked to write a poem incorporating the word ‘snap.’

A reminder: always check the rules of the competition. If you don’t stick to the rules, we have to disqualify your entry and that makes us sad!

Under 12s winner: B Apel (QLD)

Timber!

Vrooooom … vroom

The big tree falls,
smashing through the canopy
severing branches with a snap!
creating a chain-reaction;
like dominoes
they fall
until petering out
with a final …

Whump.

Enter our autumn writing competition. Entries close 29 April 2011.

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"Boy writing by Greg Mitchell"

© Greg Mitchell

Here is the winning Under 9s poem from our summer 2010 writing competition. You were asked to write a poem incorporating the word ‘snap.’

A reminder: always check the rules of the competition. If you don’t stick to the rules, we have to disqualify your entry and that makes us sad!

Under 9s winner: T Arthur (NSW)

Hearing Snap

Snap is the sound that you hear when the elastic in
your underpants goes.
Snap is the sound of crocodiles’ teeth.
Snap is the sound of …
Who knows!

Congratulations! The winners of our writing competitions receive a $20 book voucher.

Enter our autumn writing competition. Entries close 29 April 2011.

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"Boy writing by Greg Mitchell"

© Greg Mitchell

Here is the winning Under 7s poem from our summer 2010 writing competition. You were asked to write a poem incorporating the word ‘snap.’

A reminder: always check the rules of the competition. If you don’t stick to the rules, we have to disqualify your entry and that makes us sad!

Under 7s winner: P Burstow (QLD)

Secret Handshake

Once there were two friends
And they had a special handshake
And the special handshake was
Click, Knuckle-Punch, SNAP!

Congratulations! The winners of our writing competitions receive a $20 book voucher.

Enter our autumn writing competition. Entries close 29 April 2011.

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Issue 10 cover Alphabet SoupThe autumn issue of Alphabet Soup magazine was posted yesterday, so if you are a subscriber—you’ll find it in your letterbox sometime over the next few days. Yay!

Here’s what you’ll find inside issue 10:

  • Q&A with author, Oliver Phommavanh
  • How to have fun with chemistry (2011 is the International Year of Chemistry!)
  • Writing tips for kids from The Book Chook
  • Stories and poems by children’s authors and poets
  • Stories, poems and book reviews by kids
  • Crossword
  • Our autumn writing competition

Later today we’ll be announcing the winners of our summer 2010 writing competition and posting the winning poems here on the blog. AND we’ll be posting the Q&A with Oliver Phommavanh. So stay tuned!

WIN a $200 BOOK PACK!

"Book pack from Fremantle Press*"

Are you a subscriber? Subscribers are entered into a draw every season – this season’s winner receives a $200 book pack from Fremantle Press! (Books may differ from those pictured.)

Subscribe to Alphabet Soup

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Free exhibition: Look! The art of Australian picture books today
If you’re in Victoria, take your family to the Keith Murdoch Gallery to see illustrations from many of our favourite illustrators (and probably yours, too!). It’s free, and there are free events and activities for adults and kids, tours and a kids’ drawing competition.
The exhibition runs until Sunday 29 May 2011. For all the details, visit the State Library of Victoria website.
We’d love to go, but we’re in Perth. If you’ve been, tell us what you thought of it!

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