September 27, 2020
Christmas Press is absolutely delighted to announce that Jenny Blackford’s fabulous middle-grade novel, The Girl in the Mirror, which we published in our Eagle Books imprint in 2019, is the winner of the Best Children’s Crime Novel category in the 2020 Davitt Awards.
The Awards, which were presented by legendary Scottish crime writer Val McDermid in a virtual ceremony yesterday, Saturday September 26, featured a shortlist of 24 books across six categories. You can find the video of the ceremony here.
Prestigious annual awards with a 20-year history, the Davitts are run by the Sisters in Crime Australia literary organisation and showcase the best crime novels by Australian women writers.
The Girl in the Mirror, an enthralling mix of murder mystery, time slip and ghost story, is the debut middle-grade novel of acclaimed poet and short story writer Jenny Blackford. Illustrated with atmospheric black and white pictures by Fiona McDonald, the novel has received wide acclaim, with reviewers praising its ‘clever storytelling’ (Buzz Words), ‘silky smooth prose’ (Compulsive Reader) and its ‘enjoyable and revelatory’ qualities (ReadPlus). As Geoffrey McSkimming writes in the back cover quote, it is truly a ‘spine-tingling winner.’
Publishing director of Christmas Press, Sophie Masson, said, ‘Jenny initially submitted her novel to us some time ago in one of our open submissions period, and it immediately caught the eye of our commissioning editor Beattie Alvarez, for its haunting atmosphere, gripping narrative and sharp, evocative writing. We loved working with Jenny and are very proud to have published The Girl in the Mirror. We warmly congratulate Jenny on this very well-deserved win and thank the Davitt Awards judges and Sisters in Crime Australia for supporting the best in crime fiction by Australian women writers.’
We are proud to announce the publication this week of Julian Leatherdale’s wonderful novel for middle-grade/YA readers, The Phantasmic Detective Agency, available now from all good bookshops around Australia.
Prepare to be swept into an amazing world….
London, Christmas Eve, 1911: the world is changing fast: giant warships, aeroplanes with bombs, spies and assassins, fear of war with Germany. And the cosy lives of teenagers Lily and Leo Keeler, who long for adventure, are about to be torn apart by secrets, espionage and monstrous creatures. When a shadow-puppet play unexpectedly releases the hungry spectre of Shadow Wolf, Lily and Leo get more adventure than they ever bargained for, as they battle the threat with their uncle Alfred, a brilliant, notorious Sherlock Holmes- like paranormal detective.
But that proves to be only the first mystery in a conspiracy that threatens the whole Keeler family, as Lily and Leo’s stage magician parents vanish for real in the middle of their latest spectacular magic act. From the Royal Naval dockyards of Plymouth to the bone-stacked catacombs of Paris, Lily and Leo and their uncle must confront eerie creatures and spine-tingling danger as they are chased by a ruthless spy-ring determined to harness the dark forces of Magick as weapons of war…
An exciting, inventive mix of adventure, fantasy, mystery and history, written with a light, sure touch, and featuring engaging characters, atmospheric settings and many twists and turns, this is a novel to enthrall readers and keep them on the edge of their seats. As Michael Pryor notes in his cover quote: With bucketloads of colourful history, all the magic of the theatre and excitement galore, The Phantasmic Detective Agency is a cavalcade of imaginative steampunk delight.
As we mark the publication of this fantastic book, we mourn the loss but celebrate the brilliant creative achievement of its lovely author, Julian Leatherdale, who died last week. It was Julian’s first novel for young readers, after three acclaimed historical novels for adults, and though we are sad that we will not see more fabulous adventures from his pen, we hope that many, many enthralled readers are swept away into the riches and wonders of a truly special novel.
Christmas Press(of which Eagle Books is an imprint) and fellow children’s books publisher, Little Pink Dog Books, are delighted to announce a brand-new joint initiative, United Publishers of Armidale, with the launch of a new website, www.unitedpublishersofarmidale.net, and associated social media on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
The United Publishers of Armidale website features a number of books from each publisher, with free activities and resources to go with each, as well as information on each title. Activities and resources include audio and video presentations by creators, puzzles, quizzes, word searches, printable colouring pages, teachers’ notes, and more. The Featured Books page will be updated regularly with new, upcoming and backlist titles and their associated activities, while the About page gives information about the UPA partner publishers.
‘The idea behind United Publishers of Armidale is that in these difficult times, it makes sense for publishers, especially small, regionally-based publishers like us, to pool our efforts and resources in order to promote and showcase our books and help to support our creator communities, and we’re thrilled to be partnering with Little Pink Dog Books on this,’ said Sophie Masson, co-director of Christmas Press. ‘But it’s also very much about supporting the wider community, especially children, their families, teachers and carers, by offering free resources and activities through a dedicated website.’
‘We are delighted to be partnering with Christmas Press in this new enterprise and we hope that everyone will have lots of fun discovering our featured books and the activities around them,’ said Kathy Creamer, co-director of little Pink Dog Books. ‘And we warmly thank our authors and illustrators for getting so enthusiastically behind the project and creating such fabulous and diverse activities for our readers.’
Books featured for the website launch are, for Christmas Press, middle grade historical fantasy novel, The Phantasmic Detective Agency, by Julian Leatherdale (out May 2020 in Eagle Books) and Australian Children Laureate Ursula Dubosarsky’s recent collection of plays, The Boy Who Could Fly and Other Magical Plays for Children(2019); and for Little Pink Dog Books, author-illustrator Trish Donald’s picture book Tissy Woo and the Worry Monsters(2018) and Parmesan, The Reluctant Racehorse, written by Jacqui Halpin and illustrated by John Phillips (2017).
Check it all out here.
On Saturday November 30 , 4pm-6pm, our latest title, Jenny Blackford’s fabulous The Girl in the Mirror, will be officially launched at MacLean’s Booksellers in Hamilton, Newcastle, NSW. The book will be launched by celebrated Newcastle-based illustrator Liz Anelli, and Jenny of course will be in attendance to sign copies of the book. All welcome!
This is a free event but you should register your interest in attending here.
All details here.
We are delighted to announce that today we’ve ordered a reprint of Simon Higgins’ fabulous novel, Tomodachi: The Forest of the Night. The book was first published in March, and has been so popular with readers, booksellers and librarians that we’ve run out of copies! Congratulations to Simon whose briliant storytelling skills have captured young readers’ imaginations, to Jenny Wang, whose beautiful cover and internal illustrations have really helped the book to stand out, and to our own design and editing team who worked tirelessly to produce this fabulous title!
And if you haven’t yet caught up with this wonderful book, we recommend you head over to your nearest bookshop and grab a copy now 🙂
We are delighted to announce that today is the official publication day of our newest Eagle Books title, Simon Higgins’ fantastic adventure novel, Tomodachi: The Forest of the Night!
Beautifully-written, excitingly-paced and with a deep understanding of one of the most interesting historical periods and fascinating cultures in the world, this is a superb novel that we are very proud to publish, with its beautiful cover and internal illustrations created by Simon’s wife, artist and animator Jenny(Yuxiao) Wang.
To whet your appetite for Tomodachi: The Forest of the Night, we are thrilled to present this lively and atmospheric trailer, created by Crane Animation and scripted and narrated by Simon Higgins. Enjoy!