In Praise of Anthologies

Cover of Near and Dear: Stories for Children from Australia and Singapore

Anthologies, whether of short stories or poetry, are often regarded as the poor relations of the commercial publishing world. If one adds up the number of titles produced each year, either by a single main-stream publisher or the industry as a whole, anthologies will usually make up less than one percent of the total.

In spite of this, anthologies can be very successful. This week it has been my short story, The Cross-eyed Mirror, that has been creating the most attention. The full title of the anthology in which it appears is; Near and Dear: Stories for Children from Australia and Singapore. It is published by WritingWA in Australia in partnership with the National Book Development Council in Singapore and was released last year. I was overseas on the 13th October 2014 when the book was launched in Perth so I missed out on meeting the authors from Singapore who came over for the event. They have obviously forgiven me because I have been invited to go to Singapore to speak at their annual Asian Festival of Children’s Content in late May/early June. And just this week, I was invited to go back to Singapore in September to run some creative writing workshops for 7 – 12 year olds at a special writing Camp.

In spite of spending countless hours, over a period of thirty years, in Changi Airport, I hardly know Singapore at all. I am looking forward to rectifying that this year.  Well done WritingWA and the NBDC for persevering with this anthology and promoting closer ties between our two countries.

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