Hey cHEwY gum gums
It’s finally out, the new War Child anthology, Funny Bones. It’s the first book with my editor’s hat on and it has been quite a journey getting this brick of a book out to store shelves. What a career highlight.
When I was approached to be a co-editor of this project, I grabbed with like it was a huge burger (with both hands haha) because I’ve had huge respect those bumper War Child anthologies in the past, starting with Kids Night In back in 2003. I wanted to give back to the community by being involved in supporting a worthwhile cause. Yeah, it was also a priceless chance to work with another large publisher, as well as learn about how a book’s made from an editor’s perspective.
I remember the first meeting in August 2018, at the Curtis Brown office in Sydney. I got to meet some of the key people involved in putting this project together, Allen and Unwin publisher Anna MacFarlane, fellow author pals Kate and Jol Temple and Tara from Curtis Brown.
We wanted to maintain the feel of the previous War Child anthologies, and try to get that bumper joke book appeal. We came up with a dream list of funny kids authors, illustrators and performers, as well as comedians and celebrities. Then we were given the task of asking them to contribute to the anthology. My main fear was, what if everyone said no? What if we didn’t have enough entries?
Kate, Jol and I were blown away in everybody’s response. A ton of authors, some I know who are extremely swamped with deadlines and work, still were happy to give us a poem, story or even a fully fledged comic.
Allen and Unwin helped us juggle all the paperwork, contributor’s contracts, permission rights and so on. This is the behind-the-scenes work that I’m thankful a big publisher can handle. Then there was deciding how the stories were going to be laid out, in which order and how many pages we could have in our book. We kept pushing for a higher page count, and were delighted to crack the 700 page mark haha.
Matt Stanton was kind enough to design the cover for us too, it looks quite striking and the back end of the book has made everybody laugh (I won’t spoil it for you haha).
It was so cool to weigh the finished book in my hands. Yes, it was a hefty task, but it was made lighter with the help of an army behind Kate, Jol and I. Now it’s time for the easy part, to celebrate and launch this fabolous book and raise heaps of money for War Child. We had a fundraiser launch last week at Allen and Unwin HQ, where many authors came along. I hope you get a chance to join us for the public launches, in Melbourne on the 17th, this Sunday at Hawthorn Readings 10:30-12:30pm (where I’ll be MCing and Andy Griffiths is coming too haha) and then the 24th in Marrickville Library.
It’s more than just a launch, it’s going to be a party with plenty of activities and variety. That’s basically Funny Bones in a nut shell. It’s a funny brick with something for everyone.