Collaborative writing: Take Three Girls

How great is it to get a book which is written by, not one, but three renowned authors!

‘Take Three Girls’ deals with the complexities of teen life, set mainly in a boarding school situation, but dealing with many of the day-to-day issues for young adults, wherever they are.

Focussing on three girls – Clem, Kate and Ady, it weaves their lives together – in spite of some strong differences among them.

Clem, a previously competitive swimmer, is struggling to come back to her part in the elite school swimming team after injury. Quiet Kate is trying to determine where her future lies – is it in an academic or musical direction? And Ady, who is not a boarder, is dealing with where she stands, as her family begins to struggle both financially and personally, for the final years at St Hilda’s private school. What choices will they each make?

The weft of the book begins with the school’s wellness program, which ties them together as partners. As it aims to have students consider things (like identity, self-image, friendship and bullying), the story reflects issues which may well arise for many teenagers.

The warp happens when online sledging appears via vicious social media posts, aimed at girls at St Hilda’s – and ultimately, including the names of Clem, Kate and Ady. (Who is behind it, and how can they deal with it?)

There are parts of the book which will be confronting for some readers – particularly the PSST posts. Some of the situations in which the girl find themselves are not wonderful either, and their choices are not always ideal. But this is not Pollyanna, nor is it set in Pollyanna days. Today, teenagers are susceptible to anonymous cyber-bullying. Schools are not perfect places. And so, this book is both gritty and challenging, as it explores these issues and:

friendship, feminism, identity and belonging. (from the blurb on the back cover).

As already noted, it is also a collaboration between three talented Australian authors – Cath Cowley, Simmone Howell and Fiona Wood – and is soooo well done.

You might expect it was a hard thing to do. However, each of the authors has stated how much they enjoyed their part in writing the book. That the book is so complete reflects this, and it sounds like a fabulous thing to create together.

# For more discussion on the collaboration, and how they worked together, see this post from Writing NSW which followed ‘Take Three Girls’ winning Book of the Year in the CBCA Awards 2018.

## Recommended 15+

### Available as an ebook.

Dinner with Libby Gleeson

I was lucky enough to attend a dinner held by the Blue Mountains CBCA Sub-branch recently, at which the amazing author, Libby Gleeson, was the guest speaker.

Libby is a renowned Australian children’s author, having written over 30 books – many of which have won awards. In particular, she has had books shortlisted for the CBCA Awards thirteen times and won three times – and she has also been applauded in many many other literary arenas. (See her current tally of awards here).

Source: http://www.westwords.com.au/authors/libby-gleeson/

A fascinating and passionate speaker, Libby spoke about her collaborations with many talented illustrators, read a favourite picture book to us (Uncle David) and then moved on to discuss her writing for older readers. She spoke in detail about developing the story for a picture book, and certainly knows the ways to engage readers of all ages.

Sharing an example of what inspires her writing, Libby spoke about the encounters she had with refugee children at a Sydney school which lead to the novel, Mahtab’s Story.

Libby Gleeson was privileged to meet some young girls who had already faced many devastating  situations in their homeland, and who are survivors of their refugee struggle – this could be part of their tale… (From another point of view : Mahtab’s story)

We were also honoured as she read from her newest manuscript, 1918, which is due for release in 2018, as part of the Australia’s Great War, book series from Scholastic. It is exciting to be able to look forward to more from Libby Gleeson, and we are thankful that her inspiration as writer and mentor to others continues.

It is exciting to be able to look forward to more from Libby Gleeson, and we are thankful that her inspiration as writer and mentor to others continues, alongside her passion for great children’s literature.

[Click here for other posts about Libby’s books on ‘Weeksy Reviews’.]

## I was also lucky to win a prize on the night – a package of books from Empowering Resources – a publisher of high-quality children’s picture books and junior novels that nurture educate and empower children. We encourage meaningful conversations in homes and in classrooms. (Thank you to  Empowering Resources.)

International Women’s Day

IWDAs women around the world prepare to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8, various posts have started to circulate, focusing on the valuable impact of women as authors.

As noted by some, however, this influence has taken some time to develop:

Female writers have given us some of the greatest novels, short stories, poems and essays ever written. But this kind of recognition didn’t come easily for most women. For centuries, female writers struggled to get their work noticed, let alone praised. Some used male pen names, initials or remained anonymous so that their work wouldn’t be discounted because they were female.

http://mikeswritingworkshop.blogspot.com.au/2011/03/25-female-writers-who-changed-history.html

The same blogger (above) lists what he considers to be 25 female authors who changed history – some great and well-renowned writers. Of course, there are many other lists available online, and many who may dispute some of the authors included here, but it is a worthy list to review. (Thought: Where are the Australian authors?)

Here at home, we can look to this year’s Stella Prize, which seeks to recognise and celebrate Australian women writers’ contributions to literature. In doing so, the award aims to applaud the talents of our many local female authors, promote their creativity and encourage up-and-coming female authors. (Click on the image to see the longlist nominated for this year’s award.)

Soruce: http://thestellaprize.com.au/2015/02/announcing-the-2015-stella-prize-longlist

Source: http://thestellaprize.com.au/2015/02/announcing-the-2015-stella-prize-longlist

The success of the Stella prize in fostering the talents of our Australian women’s authors is clear in these 2 quotes:

‘I am living proof that a women-only prize can be career changing … Yes, a prize for women’s writing wouldn’t be necessary in an ideal world, but that isn’t the world we live in.’ – Kate Grenville

‘I hope that the Stella Prize, with its graceful flexibility about genre, will encourage women writers to work
in the forms they feel truly at home in, instead of having to squeeze themselves into the old
traditional corsets.’ – Helen Garner

EatTheSkyDrinkTheOcean_CVR_PR-681x1024Another event more relevant to Young Adult readers, which celebrates women’s authors, has been the publication of Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean –  an anthology of short stories by popular Australian women’s authors.

As Kirsty Murray noted when discussing the collaboration on International Women’s Day: A Mouthful of Sky:

“The central idea is of re-imagining the world from a feminist perspective”, and they envisaged the ideal reader’s age as being roughly 13 to 17 years. Eat the sky, drink the ocean

and Margo Lanagan writes about the importance of stories to shine light on issues faced by women, and recent anthology Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean, which crosses borders, genres and mediums to re-imagine the world from a feminist perspective.

Eat the sky, Drink the Ocean is a fantastic collection of writing by wonderful Australian authors – so look out for our copy hitting the shelves soon.

Which women’s authors would you like to celebrate? what is it that you particularly like about their writing?