The Singapore/Australia Collection

One of the other mirrors in Grandma’s house.

The events of this week have reinforced my belief that, as a writer, nothing is ever wasted. I am always saying to students ‘Never give up on a good idea and don’t throw any of your work away.’

As long ago as 2003 I was asked by Nick Earls to donate a short story to the Kids’ Night In anthology. It would be published by Penguin Australia under their Puffin imprint and all royalties would be donated to the charity ‘War Child’ which supports children effected by war. Part of the deal was that authors and illustrators would submit a previously unpublished story and that full rights would be automatically returned to the creator six month after publication. Although I was a full-time author by then and relying on royalties to survive, I was happy to support the War Child charity. I was also excited to see my work appear in such esteemed company as Morris Gleitzman, Eoin Colfer, Andy Griffiths, Shaun Tan and others. My story, ‘The Cross-eyed Mirror’ was accepted and I was thrilled to be part of the launch of Kids’ Night In in during the CBCA Conference in Hobart that year. For a while I proudly carried the book around with me to workshops and Meet-the-Author sessions. But at over seven hundred pages it is a weighty tome and, as my own titles increased, I could no longer carry it. The publication rights reverted to me and the book remains on my shelf.

Then, in 2010, Ken Spillman invited me to contribute a short story for his proposed Singapore/Australia joint publication. This turned out to be a much more difficult task than either of us had imagined. My first offering was accepted by Ken but later withdrawn by me because I wanted to adapt it for a different purpose. Ken was very understanding and accepted ‘The Cross-eyed Mirror’ in its place. But the whole project eventually stalled and seemed destined not to get off the ground at all. To his credit, Ken never gave up. Three years later the project is up and running again. Supported  and underwritten by WritingWA the anthology will now be launched in May 2014, one month after my other long-running project, To See the World.

Who would have thought that ten years after it was given to the ‘War Child’ charity, ‘The Cross-eyed Mirror’ would turn around and earn its keep? Thank you, and well done Ken!

Leave a Reply