A Cool Review for Shine in the Guardian

Shine by Candy Gourlay
'A precious and important novel that also explores exile from neighbours, family and country. The book is about reinvention and the faces we present to the world, whether it be in person, on a postcard or on the internet, all wrapped up in an exciting and perfectly paced story with a disturbing and dramatic climax.'
Philip Ardagh, The Guardian
Read the review

Sunday, 21 September 2014

A Serendipitous Story, The School Run to End All School Runs, Come to My Write Away Workshop, and The Shock of the Dilis


A SERENDIPITOUS STORY

I was featured on the front page of the Philippine Daily Inquirer yesterday! Find out about my identity crisis here (just in case you are not from the Philippines, the nay in 'Pinay' sounds like 'buy').

Thanks to Ruey for writing such a comprehensive article that had to be continued on two further pages. But no thanks for mentioning my age within the first two sentences! It was also Ruey who gave Shine a very nice review last August.

My mom rang me at my hotel first thing. 'CANDY! You're on the FRONT PAGE of the Inquirer!'

When Ruey interviewed me, he said it might appear on the Culture section of the Inquirer, not on the front page, so this was very exciting indeed.

I was interviewed by Ruel de Vera of the Inquirer. We met at a fascinating restaurant called Ziggurat. The menu was created by Filipino cooks who used to work for the dictator Khadafi. Delicious!

But searching for a copy of the Inquirer in the hotel lobby, I discovered they only stocked the Star.

Then, as I was eating breakfast a pretty smiling woman approached me. 'Don't you recognise me? It's Olga, your classmate!'

OMG. Olga was a childhood playmate. I hadn't seen her for maybe 30 YEARS! Olga then took me to meet her family. I couldn't help but notice that one of them was leafing through the Inquirer. 'This is Renato Reinoso, CEO of the Inquirer,' Olga said.

CEO? Of the Inquirer? Whaaaa????

And yes, they gave me a copy.

THE SCHOOL RUN TO END ALL SCHOOL RUNS

Last week, I was in Hong Kong and visited Bradbury and Glenealy schools. I was supposed to visit Peak School as well but sadly that chance was blown away by Typhoon Kalmaegi.

With children at Bradbury School. Photo by Mio Debnam
In Glenealy's beautiful school library. Photo by Mio Debnam

This coming week, I'll be visiting:

Beacon Academy (Laguna)
Xavier Nuvali
Alpha Angelicum Academy
Poveda
Ateneo de Manila
Beacon Academy (Makati)
Colegio de San Agustin
University of the East
Miriam College
St Theresa's College (my alma mater!)
(With two more schools the week after -- view the schedule)

Whew!

I will be telling the young people from these schools about my long journey to becoming an author. It's definitely gonna be fun, it's probably gonna be tiring ... I just hope it won't be FATTENING as well.

Filipino hospitality is so unstinting I usually find myself offered tasty treats at every single stop of a Filipino book tour.

Sadly, I am usually far too polite (and greedy) to refuse. Alas, poor waistline. I knew her well.

WORKSHOP ALERT! ASPIRING YOUNG WRITERS, THIS IS FOR YOU

On Saturday morning (27 September), I'll be running a Write Away workshop.

Write Away writing weekends are open to young people 7 to 17 years old. The current programme offers opportunities to interact and write with a published author  -- and this Saturday, it's gonna be me!



The Saturday workshops are run by Where the Write Things Are, a centre for lovers of writing of all ages. The centre is the brainchild of Neni Sta Romana Cruz, author of some of my favourite Filipino children's books and a fellow journalist from the Marcos era.

What am I going to do? Well, I don't want to spoil the surprise but there are going to be lots of chances to write and draw and show off your work.

Contact 0917-6240196 or writethingsph@gmail.com for more info. ASAP! It's this coming Saturday and places are limited!

THE SHOCK OF THE DILIS 

During the Manila International Book Fair, my friend Blooey took me to an ice cream parlour where we had this:


Yes, that is fish. Dried anchovy. We call it dilis.

What was it like? It was like Caramel Salt ice cream, except instead of salt, you have crispy bits of dried fish, and instead of caramel, your ice cream is made of chocolate sticky rice porridge.

Was it good? Ye-es, but I think if you're not from the Philippines, it might be a taste that needs a bit of acquiring!

... AND FINALLY

It's just five more days till the launch of Shine, Philippine edition. Are you coming?





< Diaries of Definitely UN-Wimpy Kids

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Diaries of Definitely UN-Wimpy Kids


The first comic diary I read was this comic
made by Sarah McIntyre, illustrating
a diary she kept when she was a teen.
Here'sSarah's blog post on where she got the idea.
Where do you get your ideas?

That has got to be the most frequently asked question I've encountered in school visits. The children also tell me (though in politer words): 'You're OLD. You've already had a lot of experiences. We're YOUNG. What experiences do we have to write about?'

The answer? A lot. But you've got to pay attention. And keeping a diary is one way of learning how.

Last summer, I ran a three day workshop for South Friern Library in Barnet. I asked the kids to keep a little diary during those three days.

I made the diaries myself, folding sheets of A5 paper in half and stapling them together into a little booklet which I handed out at the very beginning of the course.

I got the idea from the graphic novel course I attended last winter, run by comic maker Emily Haworth Booth.

When Emily asked us to keep a comics diary, I was a bit worried.

I mean, I'd been starting and abandoning diaries since I was a teenager. I just didn't think I could keep at it. Writing was already my day job and writing some more didn't seem like fun.

But keeping a diary in comics was different. I couldn't stop! I filled my drawing book in no time. Changing the medium somehow freed me to express myself.

A frame from one of my comic diary entries in which my daughter begs for a pet dog.

So when I asked the kids to keep their own diaries, the rule was: do whatever you like, as often or as little as you like. Draw, write essays, write poetry, write captions, paste pictures, whatever.


DIARY KEEPING TIPS

1. Write as little or as much you like. But try to write regularly. Turn diary keeping into a habit.

2. Diaries are not all words. If, like me, you like drawing, then draw! I keep comics diaries! Experiment to find the best way to put your thoughts down.

3. You might find it easier to write to somebody, which is why so many write ‘Dear Diary’ – in The Color Purple by Alice Walker, the heroine keeps a diary in which she writes to ‘Dear God’.

4. Diaries are not just about keeping a record. Ask questions. Someday when you re-read your diary, you might find you know the answers.

5. You can also print out a photo you took during the day and caption it. If you're posting photos on social media, you might already be keeping a sort of diary!

6. Make lists. Check out the opening chapter of The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole by Sue Townsend below.

7. Have fun!

Writing is not just about writing. It's about paying attention to the world around you. Noticing things. Trying to see things through other peoples' eyes. Digging under the surface. Thinking. Asking questions.

All these will feed into the writer you are going to become.



Ask questions, maybe someday you'll know the answer. From My Diary by Sarah McIntyre

The diary exercise was new to me. I hadn't tried it before. This time though I was going to see the same group of children for three whole days. Guess what? They loved it!

Right now, I'm getting ready for a school tour in and around Manila. I'm doing a few school visits in Hong Kong too. If I'm visiting YOUR school, you might want to have a go at keeping a diary ... I'd love to see what you do with it! For inspiration, have a look at these pages from the diaries of the children at my South Friern workshop:

Click on the images to enlarge






If you're a teacher or librarian and would like to get your kids to make diaries, do get in touch (scroll down to the contact form) and I'll send you a pdf of my Dear Diary Flyer.


I'M GOING HOME TO MANILA TO LAUNCH SHINE, PHILIPPINE EDITION ...



... AND I'M GOING TO BE SPEAKING IN A LOT OF PLACES! 

13 Sept
Saturday
Afternoon
HK
SCBWI Hong Kong Part One - A Writer is Just a Rabbit Staring at Rabbit Holes. Writers are like rabbits staring at rabbit holes that represent character, story and setting. We must dive in, go as far as we can go, in order for our stories to reveal themselves. Candy will talk about how there are no half measures in unfolding a story and how we are all better authors for the journey we have to take.

Part Two - If Everyone's Now Got a Platform, How are You Going to Stand Out? We are all wise to the internet now, all tweeting, blogging, Facebooking. But is anybody listening? Candy Gourlay was an early adopter of the Internet, blogging before Blogger was invented, learning web design before content management systems became ubiquitous, and trying out every new thing that came along from MySpace to Tumblr. She will be discussing the author's biggest challenge: being discovered by readers. There will be tips and tricks and strategies. But be warned. Ultimately, it will be about writing a good book.
15 Sept
Monday
Morning
HK
8.35 am
Bradbury School School Visit
15 Sept
Monday
Afternoon
HK
12 pm
Glenealy School School Visit
16 Sept
Tuesday
HK
8.30 am
Peak School School Visit
20 Sept
Saturday
Pasay City
8 am
Manila International Book Fair -
Mall of Asia: Meeting Room 8, SMX Convention Centre
Why I Write for Young Readers. I will be speaking to an audience of educators - librarians and teachers who are already at the frontline of the reading battle. They already know the value of fostering a love of reading in their students. I will argue that that is not enough. Our educators must not only seek to create readers, they must also empower their pupils to become writers. 
22 Sept
Monday
Biñan, Laguna
8 am
The Beacon Academy School visit
22 Sept
Monday
Calamba, Laguna
12pm
Xavier Nuvali School visit
22 Sep
Monday
Biñan, Laguna
2 pm
Alpha Angelicum Academy School Visit
23 Sept
Tuesday
Mandaluyong
1 pm
Poveda School Visit
23 Sept
Tuesday
Quezon City
1 pm
Ateneo de Manila School Visit
24 Sept
Wednesday
Makati
11am
The Beacon Academy School Visit
25 Sept
Thursday
Makati
8 am
Colegio de San Agustin School Visit
25 Sept
Thursday
Sampaloc
2 pm
University of the East Lecture
26 Sept
Friday
Quezon City
8 am
Miriam College School Visit
26 Sept
Friday
Quezon City
3.30 pm
St Theresa's College School Visit - my alma mater!
27 Sept
Saturday
Makati
9.30 am to 1.30 pm
Write Away Event (Where the Write Things Are, ) Workshop
27 Sept
Saturday
Makati
4 pm
National Book Store, Glorietta I SHINE BOOK LAUNCH and signing. Yehey!
1 October
Wednesday
Tanauan, Batangas
Ambulong Elementary School and Janopol Elementary School I will be fulfilling pledges I made to the Authors for the Philippines auction, delivering signed copies of my books, one CD set of Tall Story, and a school visit care of the Sambat Trust. I will also be opening one of the Sambat Trust's school libraries!


... and now some brazen promotion for my favourite charity:

give a car - your old car can pay for someone's education
Your old car can pay for someone's education. 

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Shine is Launching in the Philippines



I give you, SHINE, the Philippine edition!


FIRST REVIEW


Shine's already had its first review in the Philippine papers - thanks to Ruel de Vera for liking it! 


Thanks to my classmate, Carmen Montano for sending me this photo.
You can also read the review online

COVER REVEALED


I'm extra proud of Shine's cover because the artwork was created by one of my best buddies from university, Ricky Villabona. Here is what Ricky looked like when he was a baby.

Ricky is on the right.


As teenagers working as 'gophers' for the American network
news during the turbulent events that led up to a revolution
in 1986 Philippines 
Ricky and I were teenagers together, Communication Arts majors at university (Communication Arts would be the equivalent of Media Studies, I guess). We worked together on many student film and TV projects. One of our short films even placed fourth at the Experimental Cinema of the Philippines Competition!

When we graduated, I went off to become a journalist and Ricky became a fashion photographer and then a director of TV commercials like this one:


Today, Ricky is an artist and thanks to Facebook, we're still great friends -- I can ask him to make art for my cover and he doesn't get upset when I post his baby picture on my blog.

Ricky V

BOOK LAUNCH

So if you haven't unfriended me yet on Facebook, you should have seen this invite:

I couldn't resist Photoshopping this cover from a 1930s Liwayway magazine. The translation: Candy - "Come to the launch of my new book!"  Boy - "As long as I don't have to make a book report."

So ... are you coming?


HERE'S MY SCHEDULE


13 Sept
Saturday
Afternoon
HK
SCBWI Hong KongPart One - A Writer is Just a Rabbit Staring at Rabbit Holes. Writers are like rabbits staring at rabbit holes that represent character, story and setting. We must dive in, go as far as we can go, in order for our stories to reveal themselves. Candy will talk about how there are no half measures in unfolding a story and how we are all better authors for the journey we have to take.

Part Two - If Everyone's Now Got a Platform, How are You Going to Stand Out? We are all wise to the internet now, all tweeting, blogging, Facebooking. But is anybody listening? Candy Gourlay was an early adopter of the Internet, blogging before Blogger was invented, learning web design before content management systems became ubiquitous, and trying out every new thing that came along from MySpace to Tumblr. She will be discussing the author's biggest challenge: being discovered by readers. There will be tips and tricks and strategies. But be warned. Ultimately, it will be about writing a good book.
15 Sept
Monday
Morning
HK
8.35 am
Bradbury SchoolSchool Visit
15 Sept
Monday
Afternoon
HK
12 pm
Glenealy SchoolSchool Visit
16 Sept
Tuesday
HK
8.30 am
Peak SchoolSchool Visit
20 Sept
Saturday
Pasay City
8 am
Manila International Book Fair -
Mall of Asia: Meeting Room 8, SMX Convention Centre
Why I Write for Young Readers. I will be speaking to an audience of educators - librarians and teachers who are already at the frontline of the reading battle. They already know the value of fostering a love of reading in their students. I will argue that that is not enough. Our educators must not only seek to create readers, they must also empower their pupils to become writers. 
22 Sept
Monday
Biñan, Laguna
8 am
The Beacon AcademySchool visit
22 Sept
Monday
Calamba, Laguna
12pm
Xavier NuvaliSchool visit
22 Sep
Monday
Biñan, Laguna
2 pm
Alpha Angelicum AcademySchool Visit
23 Sept
Tuesday
Mandaluyong
1 pm
PovedaSchool Visit
23 Sept
Tuesday
Quezon City
1 pm
Ateneo de ManilaSchool Visit
24 Sept
Wednesday
Makati
11am
The Beacon AcademySchool Visit
25 Sept
Thursday
Makati
8 am
Colegio de San AgustinSchool Visit
25 Sept
Thursday
Sampaloc
2 pm
University of the EastLecture
26 Sept
Friday
Quezon City
8 am
Miriam CollegeSchool Visit
26 Sept
Friday
Quezon City
3.30 pm
St Theresa's CollegeSchool Visit - my alma mater!
27 Sept
Saturday
Makati
9.30 am to 1.30 pm
Write Away Event (Where the Write Things Are, )Workshop
27 Sept
Saturday
Makati
4 pm
National Book Store, Glorietta ISHINE BOOK LAUNCH and signing. Yehey!
1 October
Wednesday
Tanauan, Batangas
Ambulong Elementary School and Janopol Elementary SchoolI will be fulfilling pledges I made to the Authors for the Philippines auction, delivering signed copies of my books, one CD set of Tall Story, and a school visit care of the Sambat Trust. I will also be opening one of the Sambat Trust's school libraries!


... and now some brazen promotion for my favourite charity:

give a car - your old car can pay for someone's education
Your old car can pay for someone's education.