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Friday, September 16, 2016

Happy 100th Birthday, School Magazine!


Last night, there was a celebration I had to miss because it was in Sydney and I had family commitments that wouldn't allow me to travel interstate. I was thinking of it, though, and hope to get a photo or two to share with you in a future post. 

The NSW School Magazine has now been delighting Australian children for a century. I was one of them, though it didn't look this good in my childhood! It's made up of four reading levels - Countdown, Blastoff, Orbit and Touchdown. Each is for a different age. There are stories, plays, articles, cartoons, letters to the editor. It's simply wonderful! 

And a great market. I first heard of it as a market at a library conference, where the guest of honour was Geoffrey McSkimming, author of the Cairo Jim adventures and, more recently, the Phyllis Wong novels. Geoffrey was working for the School Magazine at the time. He told me they had four different magazines and they came out four times a year, so they needed plenty of material.

I have written quite a few articles for them over the years, on everything from space travel to forensics, from archaeology to the story of the original Siamese twins. (Apparently, one teacher said she couldn't get her class to focus on their next lesson after they read that!). I haven't submitted anything for a while, must get back into it. It's a wonderful market, especially good for non fiction writers now that the book market has dried up. (And it has. Look at the Eve Pownall non fiction part of the CBCA shortlist and most of the books are published by specialist organisations such as museums, not by regular publishers. The education market is only good nowadays if you're a part of their stable of writers.)  

And most of Australia's favourite children's writers have written for it at one time or another; it's a bit like the writer equivalent of Playschool, which has employed some of the country's biggest actors, only they all did that at the start of their careers, whereas School Magazine's writers are only too delighted to continue submitting. 

I wish I'd been able to go to the party yesterday, but still, I want to wish School Magazine all the very best for their next hundred years!

2 comments:

Lexa Cain said...

I remember getting a school magazine when I was in elementary school in Indiana. I loved those things! It was so nice to have a publication for children my age when everything else was for adults.

Funny about the Siamese twins article holding the children's interest so long! I've written a guest post for you, called "Weird Rituals" highlighting research I did for Bloodwalker. No Siamese twins, but a lot of cool and weird stuff. I'll send it after I revise it this weekend. :)

Sue Bursztynski said...

Not so strange, really! Kids love the quirky and the over-the-top and these ones were intrigued by the idea of being attached permanently to your siblíng.

Looking forward to reading and publishing your post. Send along a photo of yourself and a link to where my readers can get your books.