Category Archives: Chess Nuts

Children’s Book Week etcetera

1.  I have workshop/presentations in Geraldton and Albany for the Fremantle Children’s Literature Centre’s Youth Lit days; a day in Ballajura Public Library for City of Swan; and Merriwa Primary School.  I’m speaking to kids from year 1 to year 12, a prospect that is slightly terrifying.  (Still, I guess as long as I don’t read the year 1s the opening of Losing It I’m sure I’ll be fine).  I am preparing new material: the old stuff works perfectly well, but I want to stretch myself a bit, and the students.  There is also the possibility it will be a complete flop and the kids will go, ‘What the – ?’  Once when I was doing comedy we had a fabulous idea involving a potato peeler and a set of knitting needles.  The finer details escape me, but not the memory of the audience’s puzzled silence.  Let’s hope history doesn’t repeat.

2.  The daffodils are preparing themselves for spring: the teardrop bulbs that will release glorious yellow petals are fattening.

3.  I went to Sydney and Melbourne last month, to see my wonderful publisher and editors and for some much needed creative-battery recharge.  Which makes the fact I am on the third rewrite of my ghost story bearable.  While I was there I sat on Nina’s seat and wondered why I don’t live in Melbourne.  But maybe it’s better the city is like an affair: maybe daily familiarity would ruin the mystique and the passion.

4.  I promised in May I’d report back on my effort toward Moderation.  I’m doing quite well, thank you.*  Am I finally growing up?

5.  I ran away from my daughter’s subject selection night at her high school to eat chocolate fondue with another recalcitrant mother, dragging our daughters behind us.  So the answer to the question in 4. is clearly: maybe not.

6.  I was having a particularly bad day last week, and my old friend B sent me a message, saying: Today at our school we had a ‘surprise visitor’ (a teacher dressed in a Clifford the Dog costume).  A bunch of year four girls were disappointed because they hoped that YOU were going to be the guest.  They all so love Chess Nuts. 🙂

* Maybe not all the time, right?  But mostly.  Mostly is good.

Chess Nuts in reviewland

It’s always nerve-racking to receive your first reviews for a book – almost as nerve-racking as wondering if you’re going to get any. So I was very pleased that Chess Nuts has had two great reviews, last week by Jane Barry in The Courier Mail and this week by Susan Hewitt in The West Australian‘s West Weekend magazine.

Jane Barry commented:

Lawrinson addresses a salient topic in her writing. Why can’t teenagers feel free to pursue different interests and not worry so much about losing face with their peers? Over the years towards maturity, how many opportunities are lost, or passions suppressed, just for the sake of worrying what others will think? She also writes with a clear understanding of the intricacies of chess and the almost complete absorption it demands. References to famous quotes from chess masters appear throughout, lending an air of credibility to the author’s research. A good book for any teenager, especially those who need prompting to follow their own interests.

Hewitt says:

This book is aimed at primary school kids, and even those who can’t read it themselves will find it easy to engage in the story. All the lessons about acceptance and getting on aren’t daggy or teacherly, they just kind of work themselves in.

It’s interesting that the two reviewers have a different take on the audience for the novel: I think it’s because kids read differently, it would entirely depend on individual interests and reading levels. Hence the madness of the age-banding proposals that were (are?) being debated in the UK.

On another note, it’s delightful that The West has entirely modernised its reviewing of books, thanks (I believe) to new books editor Will Yeoman. At last!