Ignition Children’s Literature Festival: Day 1

Swapna HaddowHalfway Round the World with the Haddows

Thank you to everyone who came along to join Barbara Else, Kitty Brown and I for our ‘Pathways to Publication’ panel today. It was a hugely enlightening conversation about our publication journeys which were very different but started in the same vein of trying to fill a gap in the market.

L-R: Kitty Brown, Swapna Haddow, Barbara Else

Kitty’s journey began with creating Te Reo Māori board books for babies. With a complete gap in the market for these books, she teamed up with cousin Kirsten Parkinson, a fine artist, to create the beautiful Reo Pepi books and would go on later to team up with Allen & Unwin on the series.

I’m not sure I would have had the same perseverance and I’m glad in many ways that entering the Greenhouse Funny Prize was my way in to publishing. I’m not sure I would have carried on submitting if the competition hadn’t come up when it had but Kitty’s story taught me to definitely have more faith in my writing abilities.

The panel goes to show just how many different routes there are into publishing.

L-R: Ella West, Swapna Haddow, Kitty Brown, Emma Wood, Gillian Torckler

In the afternoon, I joined Ella West, Emma Wood, Gillian Torckler and Kitty again as we talked about why we write for kids and the importance of literacy. We all shared the same values of wanting to create high quality books for kids because kids deserve great literature. We also agreed that access to books was essential for making sure kids became readers, including protecting school libraries and librarians and public libraries from budget cuts, ensuring kids had books at home to read and adults in their lives modelling good reading habits.