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16 June 2007

The Good Fight

At the launch of Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist*, both Ros Price (the publisher) and David Levithan (one of the two authors) said some very nice things.

I don't think it's entirely true to say that the book only got published in Australia because Mike and I pushed so hard for it. The book got published in Australia because it's fucking awesome. We just pointed that out to some people (okay, everyone we met), and Allen & Unwin were nice enough to listen.

It is very gratifying to learn that, when it comes to YA in Australia, my opinions count for something. It's flattering. It also feels like a responsibility.

I have a pile of signed books from Reading Matters, from writers who I respect more than I can say. And many of these authors, above their signatures, thanked me for "fighting the good fight".

This is, in part, a reference to David Levithan's amazing, moving, provocative and inspiring talk about "Killing the Vampires" and making sure the right books get to the teens who really need to see themselves on the shelves of their library.

I can't do justice to what he said with a neat summary. You will have to hear it yourselves. It was a talk for librarians, but everyone needs to hear it. At the conference, it received a standing ovation. I was not the only person moved to tears.

And you need to do more than hear it. You need to copy it, you need to put it on your blog, you need to tell people about it, talk about it, think about it. It has a Creative Commons license, so use it as you will.

Help us fight the good fight.

* review here and first chapter here

12 June 2007


Dear Mr Schembri,

My friend Jellyfish has just sent me a rather irate email containing a link to your latest offering in The Age.

In response to your '10 key reasons why children should not be allowed in cinemas', I would like to alert you of '1 really key reason why Jim Schembri should not be allowed in print'.

The other day, David Levithan said that homophobia was the last acceptable prejudice. He was wrong. There is another one, and it is ephebiphobia. The fear of young people. (or pedophobia, the fear of children and babies).

Do you think if Jim Schembri had written an article on 10 reasons why we shouldn't let WOMEN or JEWS or BLACK PEOPLE into cinemas, it would have been published?

Why does our society see young people as some kind of lesser species?

Apart from all of the absolute bollocks you see in the media about "teens running wild" and all of the head-shaking and 'in my day'-ing that goes on today, have a think about these 10 things:

1. children as young as 12 can be tried for crimes as adults

2. children can't vote, as they are cited to have a lower level of reasoning. But adults don't have to prove any level of reasoning to vote.

3. the 'lower level of reasoning' line was also used to prevent people with different coloured skins and vaginas from voting up until the 20th century.

4. Senile people have a say in how their country is run. Alcholics and psychotics and murderers and rapists have a say in how their country is run. Not young people.

5. children are forced to attend underfunded schools, have little or no access to free health care, and will have to grow up coping with catastrophic global warming, but have no voice to protest or bring about change.

6. they also have to pay taxes AND superannuation, if they are earning money (not to mention the fucking GST), but with no legal say in how those funds are managed.

7. in the US, poverty among young people exceeds all other age groups, yet the government spends 10 times more on each poor senior than each poor child.

8. you can be a Christian and a child. A Muslim and a child. You can be gay. You can be disabled. You can be poor. You can be homeless. But you're not allowed to have an opinion. (or, if Jim Schembri has his way, go to the fucking cinema)

9. many people in Positions of Influence seem to think that young people should constantly be educated - that books must be either Classics or about Real Issues (see the YA winner of the WA Premier's Award for a recent and tooth-grinding example), television should only be documentaries, and computers are just plain evil.

10. I'll stop ranting now and quote Goosebumps author RL Stine: I believe that kids as well as adults are entitled to books of no socially redeeming value.

Stop picking on the young people. Or at least give them an opportunity to respond.

(With thanks to the NYRA and this episode of the West Wing.)

06 June 2007

5 things to know about my novel

1. The first word is "The"

2. The last word is "story"

3. It is 375 pages long

4. It is, according to Ursula Dubsosarsky: For lovers of reality and romance, history and fantasy - a truly endearing book

5. It is FINISHED.

05 June 2007


If you live in Melbourne, and haven't been to Buttonmania, now is the time. They're having a sale. Even if you're not into buttons, you should go anyway. It's in the Nicholas Building on the corner of Swanston and Flinders Lane, which is one of my favourite buildings in Melbourne. It's full of twisty corridors and strange little shops and studios, and has a creaky old attendant lift. And a man on the top floor who makes cyber-fairies.

This is my haul - under $20 - think of all the creatures I can make!

04 June 2007

Dear Next-door Neighbour,


How are you?

I'm great. You wanna know why? Because I have a week off work. I plan to write a lot, see my friends, and sleep in.


Except you don't want me to do that, do you?

You have chosen this week to demolish your apartment.



And it's not like I can just go 'oh well, no sleep in for me, I'll just start writing!'. No. It's a bit hard to be creative when someone is

a) yelling to their mates
b) playing crap music really loud

Please stop. Please go away. Please move to Altona.



(ps. ok, when i said 'please stop', I meant stop everything, not please stop drilling and start banging.)

01 June 2007

Lili's top 10 ways to procrastinate make proofreading fun

1. Eat chocolate.

2. Have a glass of wine.

3. Exfoliate, and apply face-mask.

4. Crochet.

5. Check if term "fired" (as in "you're fired") was used in 1814. (it wasn't. first recorded usage is in the US in 1885)

6. Deliberate on the various merits of the em dash () or the spaced en ( ).

7. Check what font my novel is set in. (Garamond Simoncini. Claude Garamond was a typesetter in the early 16th century, but this particular typeface was designed by a later bloke called Jean Jannon)

8. Check out today's lolcats, lolbots, lolprezs and lolpilgrims.

9. Make lolproofreedin:
10. Blog it.