2021 Highlights in Children’s Book Publishing

Ginger Meggs Tristan Bancks

2021 feels like a year when we’ve mostly been locked up inside, unable to travel, not doing much at all but, looking back over my Instagram, there have been lots of highlights (and some lowlights) in life and in the world of children’s and teen books. To wrap up the year, here are my 2021 adventures in a nutshell…

Young Writers’ StorySchool found its way into classrooms for the first time…

 

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My old high school teacher Toni Pearen was loved by the nation in @imacelebrityau.

 

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I shared clips from StorySchool, this one going behind the scenes on the pre-visualisation of my novel, Two Wolves

 

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I signed lots of books for readers after online talks. The feedback this year from booksellers was that backlist did really well for most writers. Maybe people were going for something comforting and known in a world that seemed in constant flux.

 

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Ginger Meggs was released 100 years since the comic strip was first drawn by my great great uncle Jimmy Bancks in 1921. It’s a beautiful book and this was definitely one of my 2021 highlights. In fact, one of the proudest moments of my publishing career and life!

 

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I spent about 90 days of the year Zooming schools, festivals and libraries. I first started Skyping schools in 2012 and it is SO much better now with fast web speed, easy interaction and good audio and video. I found the interaction with schools from Perth to Ho Chi Minh City very immediate and almost as good as being there. Here’s the link to book for next year.

 

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A flashback to a previous Sydney Writers’ Festival on the eve of the fest…

 

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There was a moment in May, before Sydney got the lurgy, when it was possible to visit schools in-person!

 

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I loved doing TV and radio for Ginger Meggs

 

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And receiving this present from a fan at the launch of Meggs at SWF…

 

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I visited the Ginger Meggs mural in Hornsby…

 

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It was a year when it meant more than ever to have in-person catch-ups when they were possible. This time with author and fellow critique group member, Zanni Louise…

 

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It was a year when getting outside to walk and write and feel alive was more important than ever…

 

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I gave some insight into the creation of my book soundtracks…

 

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I was devastated in July to lose a good mate, Dieter, someone I’d been particularly close to in my twenties, and who people all over the world felt they had a strong  connection to. He was a good human and I still find it difficult to contemplate that he has passed on.

 

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Sometimes all you could do was sit and breathe and hope and wait…

 

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The past two years have been good for spending more time with family, less time on the road…

 

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And it’s been a great year for reading…

 

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And, Over NanoWriMo, I discovered the power of writing alongside others. I’ve always written alone, but this was really powerful, working alongside Zanni Louise and Sarah Armstrong…

 

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Another of my 2021 highlights, I connected with the amazing Cristy Burne, Dani Vee and Adrian Beck on our NanoWriMo podcast series.

NanoWrimo Words and Nerds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s been fun talking to schools who are using Two Wolves in class. And brainstorming ideas for a possible sequel in coming years…

 

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I walked and wrote and walked and wrote. It’s been a productive year. And I lost a few kilos!

 

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The Ginger Meggs stamps were released and a special Australia Post limited edition version of our book.

 

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On 13 November the official 100th birthday of Ginger Meggs…

 

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And, an amazing note to finish on, even in a year when most authors were unable to visit schools, our group of Room to Read Writer-Ambassadors, led by master-fundraisers, Jodi Mullen and Jennie Orchard, was able to raise $20,000 to buy 20,000 books for kids in the developing world through our annual World Change Challenge. (There’s one donation still to make, which will take us to our goal!) Thanks to all the schools and individuals who contributed this year. It means more than ever to Room to Read in a year like this.  Classes, schools and individials can register interest in this world-changing literacy fundraiser (no contribution is too small) by dropping me an email.

Room to Read World Change Challenge

I hope you enjoyed the 2021 highlights. Here’s to 2022, and whatever it may bring. I’m looking forward to doing the World Change Challenge again. Let me know if you’d like your school to take part in this extraordinary literacy fundraiser! We’ve raised over $170k in the past few years. And I’ll be working with Apple Education on another literacy project for schools. Hopefully, one of the film and TV projects based on my books that I’m developing with some amazing companies will get the go-ahead. And I can’t wait to unleash my new book, Cop & Robber, for readers of Two Wolves and The Fall and to get out there and share it with readers.

Have a great break!

Tristan.

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