Yes, I know he isn’t exactly Mr Curly. That would be like saying I’m Ruby, or Cassie, or possibly even Max.
But last weekend at the Perth Writers Festival, I met the maker of Mr Curly and of many things duckish and otherly delightful – Michael Leunig. I’ve made no secret of the fact that the original inspiration for Duck for a Day came from an interview Leunig did with Andrew Denton, but beyond that, I’ve been a long-time fan of Leunig’s work, which my father shared with me from a very early age. The corkboard above this very desk is dotted with tattered Leunig cartoons, snipped from newspapers here and there over the years.
In fact, I invoked one of them when I was talking to him outside the Green Room, noting the irony in my meeting him at such a bustling event when, like him, I generally prefer
… the Festival of Clouds
– the festival that doesn’t pull the crowds
I like a festival that doesn’t pull;
But rather, makes me think of cotton wool.
Still, I was very glad to be at Perth Writers Festival, and not only because I got to meet Michael Leunig. I also got to introduce my shiny new book, Definitely No Ducks, to a lovely group of kids on Schools’ Day, and lead a poetry workshop on Family Day. Lastly, Kyle Hughes-Odgers and I pulled a double-act for a Ten Tiny Things–based session which was a (hopefully) delightful schmozzle in which we met some fantastic kids and exposed Kyle’s obsessive love of triangles (and curious conviction that cats in fact look like dogs). I also accidentally came up with the possible title for a new book, perhaps another sequel to Duck for a Day: “Kyle for a While”. It has a nice ring to it, don’t you think? I’m just wondering what Kyle’s demands would be if you were to take him home as a class pet…?
This was the first official outing for Definitely No Ducks, which was released into the world on March 1, and whose stacks appeared to dwindle rather satisfyingly in the bookshop. [Webbed] fingers crossed for happy readers!