Award-winning Brisbane-based author Dimity Powell would love to eat ice cream for a living. Fortunately she's found a job that's almost as satisfying: reading and writing.
In her everyday life, Dimity lives and breathes children's literature. When she's not writing her own stories, she's reviewing children's books online for Boomerang Books, and she's also a Managing Editor for Kids' Book Review. "All of which keeps me too busy to eat ice cream!"
she tells me.
Now based in Brisbane, Dimity grew up in Far North Queensland and Adelaide, where she spent lots of her time reading and writing. When she 'grew up', she went travelling around Europe, the Mediterranean and the Caribbean with her husband in the super motor yacht industry. Then after many years away, they returned to Australia to start a family. "It was during the first year of my child's life that I quickly realised I was never going back to my role as Director of Marketing
," she says. "I wanted instead to balance full-time mummyhood with my long yearned for passion of writing."
So about ten years ago Dimity began writing for children professionally. And she hasn't looked back.
"As a kid, I read voraciously," Dimity tells me. "Stories weren't just portals into different times and places; they were my best friends, which is not as sad as it sounds. I was never more comfortable or assured of myself than when I was deep in a story. That's the sort of magical feeling I enjoy recreating for kids. Sharing stories, feeding wonder, allowing joy and emotions to bloom, not to mention reliving favourite memories; all this creates tremendous job satisfaction. I'm very lucky."
Dimity has published over 27 stories so far, including short stories, junior novels, and digital narratives. But her favourite stories to write are picture books. "Picture books are my all-time obsession: to read, to write, to wax lyrical about," she says. "For me, they are exquisite works of art able to express any emotion and notion, in engaging, entertaining and inspiring ways. Pure magic."
At the End of Holyrood Lane
Dimity's latest picture book is exactly what she describes: pure magic. At the End of Holyrood Lane touches on a very serious subject, one that is lacking in children's literature-domestic violence.
The inspiration for At the End of Holyrood Lane came to Dimity after a meeting with Deidre Hanna, Founder of Paradise Kids children's charity. Deidre declared that more picture books about domestic violence were needed to help increase awareness and understanding.
"It seemed an impossibly difficult subject to translate into an entertaining children's story and then convince publishers to back," Dimity says. But with dogged determination and after many rewrites, Dimity had her story, and a publishing company, EK Books, decided to back it.
At the End of Holyrood Lane
is a metaphorical glimpse at one aspect of domestic violence and how it affects young lives. It tells the story of a small girl called Flick who has an intense dislike of thunderstorms, a fear shared by many young children. But Flick's life at the end of Holyrood Lane is itself often violent and unpredictable due to the constant storms that plague her home, causing her to cringe with dread and flee whenever they strike. "I hope the duality used evokes a gentle awareness for young readers who may be suffering their own domestic torment but are too scared or unsure of how to seek help and shelter from their storms,"
At the end of Holyrood Lane
addresses domestic violence in a very sympathetic and non-threatening way. It is evocatively and beautifully illustrated by Melbourne-based illustrator Nicky Johnston, who has worked with Dimity before on her first picture book, The Fix-It Man.
Dimity will launch At the end of Holyrood Lane
on Sunday September 23 in the End Room at the Brisbane Square Library, Brisbane, from 10.30am. This is a free, family-friendly event for all, which includes awesome raffle prizes, book signings, kids' activities, and a delicious morning tea.
For more information about Dimity, visit her website here
. You can buy copies of her new book at the launch or via her website. At the end of Holyrood Lane
will also be available at every good bookshop.
And watch this space for more picture books by Dimity, to be released in 2019 and 2020. "All of which,"
she says, "makes me happier than a bear eating ice cream!"