Welcome to Creative Kids Tales, Wendy Blaxland.
What better way to finish off the year than celebrate the life and achievements of one of this country’s best-loved children’s authors, poet and playwright, Wendy Blaxland. With over 100 books, both fiction and non-fiction to her credit the best way to describe Wendy is a word connoisseur.
As with many successful writers, Wendy began her career teaching English and drama at University before moving onto freelance journalism writing travel and entertaining articles. Wendy then took on the role of editor before concentrating on writing for children.
Now with 100+ books to her credit that range from early readers to middle-grade fiction, covering a vast range of factual topics from French cooking, fire safety, bats, snakes to storms.
Wendy’s stories appeal to readers of all ages as she weaves her word magic using various settings such as school, space, Bali, fantasy worlds or the comforting setting of home. Always with a comical tone, Wendy bases her tales on events that have happened to her during her colourful career. Not one to limit her research she’s been known to borrow embarrassing moments from friends and family and turn them into award-winning stories.
I simply adore this description of Wendy in her own words taken from the Australian Children’s Poetry website:
I’ve loved words as long as I can remember. I luxuriated in the long ones, swooned to those that let me smell or hear what someone else did, and eagerly ran away with those that led me to other realities. Books were where I lived as a child, usually reading on the floor with my legs in the air.
Wendy’s books have been translated into various languages such as Tetum (the language of East Timor) and German. The Princess and the Unicorn has been read on BBC3 England’s, Jackanory Junior.
In 2012 Wendy and her daughter Jess formed Blaxland and Daughter. Together they wrote and produced CROSSING for the bicentenary of the crossing of the Blue Mountains.
The 1813 crossing of the Blue Mountains was the expedition led by Gregory Blaxland, an ancestor of Wendy’s, William Lawson and William Charles Wentworth, which became the first successful crossing of the Blue Mountains in New South Wales by European settlers.
After two triumphant years and 20,000 students and families enjoying the production, the play is still going strong. It’s toured Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Wollongong, Penrith, the Central Coast, Bathurst, Orange and Dubbo. In 2015 the world premiere ‘Pioneers in Petticoats’ a play about Australian colonial women premiered. It was an instant hit. Pioneers in Petticoats is a one-woman play focusing on the telling of four different women’s stories from Colonial times. Mary, Bryant, convict escapee, Fanny Macleay, unsung scientist, Eliza Hawkins, a girl pioneer and Lola Montez a goldfields performer.
In 2016, both CROSSING and Pioneers in Petticoats will continue to tour schools and play to packed theatres. Blaxland and Daughter are working on their next projects, another historical play, GOLD and a version of Alice in Wonderland also to play in schools during terms 3 & 4.
Wendy has written fourteen plays for Marian Street Theatre for Young People and tirelessly campaigned the local council to ensure the theatre’s continuation after council evicted the theatre from its base in 2013. With over 1000 signatures and support from actors, Hugh Jackman and Emma Booth, Wendy and theatres supporters won, with council confirming the theatre would remain open.
Wendy has also written scripts for ABC’s Play School and several Babies Proms for the Sydney Opera House.
School Magazine, various Australian poetry websites and magazines have all featured Wendy’s poetry.
Wendy Blaxland is an Australian pioneer for the children’s book industry with The Christmas Rose, The Teeny Tiny Woman, Who Will Help?, The Princess and the Unicorn, Saving Greedy Guts, I’m Not Scared, Me and My Shadow, Hide, Spider and countless other fiction titles to her name. Early readers such as Where is Kitty?, Lunch at the Zoo, In the Garden, Six Big Balloons, Giants, Fishing with Grandad and various other titles have been read in schools all over Australia.
You can visit the wonderful world of Wendy Blaxland here: www.wendyblaxland.com
For information about Blaxland and Daughter visit: blaxlandanddaughter.com
Read CKT's interview with Wendy Blaxland (Dec 2015)