You may have noticed something of a drop-off in the number of posts I've managed to put up here in the last couple of months. There are many, various, and largely uninteresting reasons for this, most of which don't bear discussion.
One of the contributing factors, though, is the fact that the special edition of the British Journal Write4Children which I have been putting together for the last 12 months (and which I believe I've mentioned here just once or twice) was due for publication at the start of November.
This, of course, meant that the last few weeks have been an ungodly world of proofreading, editing, chasing up small details, and compiling the finished journal. Hence, in part, by prolonged absence here at Musings…
But, I'm glad to say, it's all done now and the special edition went live in the middle of the night earlier this week. (For those of you who are about to click the link, it's volume 3, number 1)
I also have to say that (despite swearing several times during the process that I would never do this again) it's definitely all been worth it. I'm really thrilled at the end result, and everyone who contributed to the edition worked so hard to get it up and running (and, to everyone's surprise - especially mine - published on time!)
There are, I think (though as editor, I would) some fantastic papers in the edition. I was particularly thrilled to receive abstracts from a number of really fantastic Australian writers, as well as practising academics in the field of children's writing, and the topics explored in the edition are as diverse and wide ranging as Australian children's writing itself. Among the offerings you will find in the edition are a fantastic paper by Lucy Christopher on Stolen, one by Lili Wilkinson on her novel Pink, Rosanne Hawke discussing the role of faith in several of her books, but most notably Marrying Amira, Mark Carthew talking about Australian poetry – and paying particular attention to the state of publishing poetry for children, Kate Deller-Evans on the rising prominence of junior verse novels in Australia , and a really interesting piece by Anna Kurian from the University of Hyderabad, which takes you into the booming world of writing and publishing young adult fiction in India. For the foodies amongst you there is also a really fascinating paper by Donna Lee Brien and Adele Wessell documenting the history and impact of cookbooks written for children in Australia from the earliest colonial days through the junior Masterchef.
All in all, putting this together has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my academic career (such as it is) to date. One of the things I didn't expect was the buzz that I would get from gathering together such an interesting and diverse range of writing, having it all peer-reviewed, and in putting out into the public are. It was also a really interesting experience for me to sit on the editorial side of the desk, and experience life on the other side. I've also made a number of really interesting new friends in the process, including Andy* and Vanessa, the journal founders and editors who were brave enough (or, depending on your perspective, silly enough) to hand their baby over to my care for a while.
In any case, now that's out of the way I'm hoping to get back to a little bit of writing and, of course, in a week marking season begins!
*who also has a very cool blog somewhere on blogger, which for some bizarre reason I can't seem to find at the moment, but will update this link when I do...