FAQ: How did you get into books?

The Last Viking book launch, June 24th, 2011. (L-R) Norman, James, Kris Williams, our editor Cate Sutherland, and Director of the Children's Literature Centre Lesley Reece
The Last Viking book launch, June 24th, 2011. (L-R) Norman, James, Kris Williams, our editor Cate Sutherland, and Director of the Children’s Literature Centre Lesley Reece

To the pre-published, the children’s book industry can seem like a secret club. How do you get to be one of those people on the inside, who have their stories and illustrations published professionally? It’s something I get asked a lot.

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Upcoming events, January-March 2017

I’ve got bunch of workshops over the next three months, most of them free! But firstly, a public service announcement:

Please check my upcoming events page for updates to these and other events – sometimes new events are added at the last minute, or details can change.

To get email notifications of future events, you can either:
– subscribe to this blog via the little box on the right; you’ll get each post emailed to you.
OR
– sign up for my free newsletter, The James Foley-o, and get all my news and events in a single quarterly email.

Jan 21 – Books From Your Backyard – FREE EVENT

I’m doing a free mini-workshop this school holidays!

Come to ‘Books From Your Backyard’ at the State Library of WA. I’ll be there along with 9 other local authors and illustrators – Frané Lessac, Gabriel Evans, Kelly Canby, Teena Raffa-Mulligan, Bec J. Smith, Cris Burne, Aska, Elaine Forrestal, Dianne Wolfer and Norman Jorgensen. We’re each hosting a little session, giving readings, and running fun activities for kids. And it’s all FREEEEEEE. My session is from 3-3:25pm, after which I’ll be signing copies of my latest book Brobot.

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The Rottnest Island Retreat, & other SCBWI news

Thompson Bay, Rottnest IslandEvery year since 2009, members of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) have gathered on Rottnest Island in June for a winter retreat. We spend four days writing, drawing, working on stories and learning from guest speakers. It’s my favourite time of the year.

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How to survive as an illustrator: advice for a student

IMG_0613Once or twice a year I get an email from an illustration student. They usually have an assignment to write, which requires them to ask a  professional illustrator about their work. I got one of these emails last week, asking me for advice on how I got started, how I survive in the industry and how I self-promote. This is my reply.

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Throwback Thursday: “Once Upon a Time” mural

In August 2013 a group of illustrators from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (Australia West) got together to paint a mural at the State Library of WA.

The theme was fairy tales with a local twist. Ten local illustrators (including myself) participated, each tackling a different fairy tale. Each tale was painted within a letter of the phrase ‘Once Upon A Time’.

Illustrator extraordinaire Chris Nixon compiled this time-lapse video of the process. On behalf of SCBWI, huge thanks to Chris and all the other artists: Samantha Hughes, Kelly Canby, Heather Charlton, Leanne White, Den Scheer, Frané Lessac, Sean E. Avery and Briony Stewart.

Long may the mural live on the wall; may it survive the sticky fingers of toddlers and the crayons of kids.

if the video doesn’t appear here, hit this link to watch.

Last Viking flying high

My first picture book The Last Viking (written by the great Norman Jorgensen) has won the 2012 Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators’ (SCBWI) Crystal Kite Award.
SCBWI Crystal Kite This is a members’ choice award. Writers and illustrators from each region voting on their favourite title for the past year.

Congratulations to all the other Crystal Kite winners around the world! And many many thanks to all the Australian and New Zealander SCWBIans for choosing our book; it’s very humbling to have your support.

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Last Viking shortlisted for 4 awards

Norman Jorgensen and I received great news this year regarding our children’s book, The Last Viking. It has been shortlisted for 4 awards!

  • the 2012 Western Australian Young Readers’ Book Awards
  • the 2012 Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature
  • the 2012 Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators’ Crystal Kite Awards
  • the 2011 Aurealis Awards for Australian fantasy, science fiction and horror creators

It’s a great buzz to be nominated with Norman, and also to be nominated alongside illustrators that I look up to.