Happy UK book birthday, The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl!

Cinnamon Girl

Today is the official UK release day of The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl, and I could not be more excited! I love the yellow cover! I love the cape! And I especially love the amazingly warm reception Alba and her friends have already received from some fabulous UK readers and reviewers.


For the next week, Cinnamon Girl will be on tour – check out these stops for interviews, articles and more:

Cinnamon Girl

If you’re in the UK and would like to talk books, publishing, writing or comics, Maximum Pop are running a competition to win a Skype date with me – I’ll be available for a half an hour writing masterclass, or a Q&A, or for a general natter about life, the universe and everything. Check out the competition here



Cinnamon Girl in the awards world…

Champaign was popped, happy dancing was jigged, and random friends and 2012-04-05aworkmates hugged to the point where uncomfortable side-eyes were given. It’s that week in Oz children’s publishing, and The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl has made the shortlist for the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book of the Year 2015, Older Readers! In a year of so many extraordinary, diverse and wickedly good books, I’m thrilled and humbled that Cinnamon Girl was selected for the shortlist. Now to run to the bookstore for yet more fab books to add to my must-read pile (the one that’s about to topple off my side table and crush me in my sleep. Can’t think of a better way to go, really).

A giant thank you again to the wonderful CBCA judges, and huge congratulations to all the notable and shortlisted authors in all categories. Australian children’s publishing is such an amazingly warm and inspiring community of folks, and I’m so incredibly lucky to be part of it.

*throws celebratory confetti at everyone*

CBCA 2015 covers


Yes, okay, it’s been a while. The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl was published late last year, at which time I descended into that peculiar writer’s black hole known as OMG I MADE A BOOK BUT WHAT ON GOD’S GREEN EARTH AM I GOING TO DO NOW??? As with many writers, the answer was:

Eat chips.
Binge watch Netflix. All of it.
Call friends. Receive surprise that one is not dead, nor relocated to Alaska.
Clean everything, twice.
Open a blank page. Cry.
Eat chips.
Start writing.

After a short break over Christmas (where, sadly, no fully-formed manuscript was found beneath my tree), book three is finally starting to take shape. I like my new characters. I’m immersed in research. And I’m enjoying revisiting some old, much-loved friends. It’s probably going to take a while. It’s a slippery, indeterminate thing, this writing business.

Mr Darcy

In the meantime, I’ve been out and about – most recently in the sunny Gold Coast for the Somerset Celebration of Literature. Did I say sunny? I meant HOTTER THAN THE FIRES OF MORDOR. Yeah, it was really, really hot – and also one of the funnest, most awesome literary festivals I’ve been lucky enough to be part of. For three days, a contingent of writers descended on Somerset College for talks, workshops, panel discussions, book signings, dinners, fireworks, ice-cream, and general bookish shenanigans with fifteen thousand young people who passed through the gates.

I hung out with some old writerly friends and made some brand new ones, and met some truly exceptional, interesting students. Big shout out to everyone who came along, everyone who took the time to come visit my signing table for a chat, and the Somerset Festival Committee for organising such a fantabulous event.

And, in the midst of all the festival fun, this happened too:

THAT’S RIGHT! The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl is long-listed for the 2015 Gold Inky Award! Here’s me, and Inky, and the very lovely Clare Atkins, author of Nona and Me, and all round wonderful writer person. Check out the rest of the Inky list here.

And some more award news…


Fantabulous news over the weekend – Life in Outer Space has been shortlisted for the 2014 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards! The following books were shortlisted in each award category:


A World of Other People by Steven Carroll (HarperCollins)
The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan (Vintage Australia)
The Night Guest by Fiona McFarlane (Penguin: Hamish Hamilton)
Coal Creek by Alex Miller (Allen & Unwin)
Belomor by Nicolas Rothwell (Text Publishing)


Moving Among Strangers by Gabrielle Carey (University of Queensland Press)
The Lucky Culture by Nick Cater (HarperCollins Publishers)
Citizen Emperor by Philip Dwyer (Bloomsbury Publishing)
Rendezvous with Destiny by Michael Fullilove (Penguin)
Madeleine: A Life of Madeleine St John by Helen Trinca (Text Publishing)

Prize for Australian History

Broken Nation: Australians in the Great War by Joan Beaumont (Allen & Unwin)
First Victory 1914 by Mike Carlton (Random House)
Australia’s Secret War: How unionists sabotaged our troops in World War II by Hal G.P. Colebatch (Quadrant Books)
Arthur Phillip: Sailor, Mercenary, Governor, Spy by Michael Pembroke (Hardie Grant Books)
The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka by Clare Wright (Text Publishing)


Tempo by Sarah Day (Puncher & Wattmann Poetry)
Eldershaw by Stephen Edgar (Black Pepper)
1953 by Geoff Page (University of Queensland Press)
Drag Down to Unlock or Place an Emergency Call by Melinda Smith (Pitt Street Poetry)
Chains of Snow by Jakob Ziguras (Pitt Street Poetry)

Young Adult Fiction

The Incredible Here and Now by Felicity Castagna (Giramondo)
Pureheart by Cassandra Golds (Penguin)
Girl Defective by Simmone Howell (Pan Macmillan)
Life in Outer Space by Melissa Keil (Hardie Grant Egmont)
The First Third by Will Kostakis (Penguin)

Children’s Fiction

Silver Buttons by Bob Graham (Walker Books )
Song for a Scarlet Runner by Julie Hunt (Allen & Unwin)
My Life as an Alphabet by Barry Jonsberg (Allen & Unwin)
Kissed by the Moon by Alison Lester (Puffin)
Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan (Hachette)

Congratulations to all the shortlisted authors – my must-read pile is now teetering precariously, but I’m looking forward to getting stuck into some of these wonderful books. You can read more about the award here, and the official Prime Minister’s Literary Awards press release here.

Welcome to the World, The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl

Happy first of September, and happy springtime to fellow southern-hemisphere dwellers! Today the skies over Melbourne may be gloomy and grey, but the mood in the Park Street household is totes buzzed** – because today, The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl is OFFICIALLY out in stores! I’ll be schlepping around Melbourne signing books at various stores – or click here to win one of five hot-off-the-press autographed copies.

Last weekend, friends, family and publishing folk gathered at The Sun Bookshop on a stunning blue-sky Melbourne afternoon to celebrate the launch of Cinnamon Girl. Champaign was drunk, vegan brownies were consumed, and Wonder Woman badges were pinned in various places. The always fabulous Ellie Marney stepped in to make the introductions (seriously, read her books!), and Tina from IBBY presented the Ena Noel award, and honour that I’m still pretty stunned to have won.

A giant thank you to everyone who attended; as always, I’m eternally grateful for your hugs, well-wishes, enthusiasm and support.

(**The Park Street household accepts that no-one here can pull off using the word ‘totes’)

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Cinnamon Girl in the real world

So this happened. New books! Real books! Soon to be found in a real bookstore! And yeah, I may have spent a good few days simply staring at them on my shelf; flipping vaguely through crisp pages, feeling both excited and a little melancholic that my time inside Alba’s head is all but over. Can’t wait to send her out into the world come September…

Cinnamon Girl advance 1

photo 1



The books that shaped me

I’m always fascinated hearing about the childhood books that influenced other writers. Last month, the very awesome Will Kostakis looked at the reading that shaped him as an author, which, not surprisingly, had quite few entries that would make my list too (The Hobbit! Fight Club!) There are plenty of books that I’ve fallen in love with as an adult, and quite a few that I’ve loved so much that I’ve had to re-read them, some more than once. But I’m not sure that these books have had quite the same impact and influence as the books I read and loved as a kid. So, following Will’s list, here is the history of me, as a reader, in a very condensed nutshell:

Enid Blyton2

Like Will, my earliest reading memories are all Enid Blyton. The Magic Faraway Tree was definitely a favourite, but The Naughtiest Girl and The Wishing Chair series’ were also right on top of my list. These are books where I would come to the last page, and then turn back and start reading right from the beginning again, sometimes without a break in between, because I just couldn’t stand being away from that world. Oh, and the food – I wanted to eat ALL THE THINGS! No writer has ever managed to make a picnic with ginger beer and jam sandwiches and handfuls of radishes sound quite as appealing as Enid Blyton.

Roald Dahl2

I’m not sure if I was unusual, but I never really enjoyed being read to as a kid; mostly, I think, because I liked being in my own head with my books. But I did have one primary school teacher who was the master of the spellbinding reading, and the best part of the day quickly became story time before the final bell. He is directly responsible for my discovery of all things Roald Dahl. While The BFG became a go-to happy book, Danny the Champion of the World was a stand-out for me. I haven’t read it in years, but I still remember the pheasants, and the hot coco, and the warm and fuzzies in the relationship between Danny and his dad.

[For the month of June, I will be writer-in-resident at the fab Inside a Dog – you can read the rest of this post here]