Saturday, March 15, 2014

Goodbye to SCBWI's Lady with the Perfect Prose.

It's with great sadness that I have to say that my good friend and SCBWI Singapore Coordinator, Catherine Carvell is moving back to Australia. Catherine's a fantastic author and an equally great co-ordinator  for our meetings.  It's going to be really strange and different without her here. I call Catherine my literary twin because we've gone through the same ups and downs on our writing journey and we've got a lot of similarities in life, although I'm not British-Australian, I'm not a woman, I haven't gotten married, nor do I have to two fantastic kids.

Last week we gathered at out regular meeting spot - it's kind of like a local version of the Central Perk - The Book Cafe for Catherine's last official meeting.

And wouldn't you know it, the genius that I am, I forgot my camera. Anyway, it was a busy day: I spent the morning going through final proof-checks before heading to the police station to help my mum file a lost and found report. Then I had to dash over to Tanglin Mall to pick up a cake for Catherine's farewell meeting and then heading to Emma's for a meeting with our agent, Helen. It was a great meeting, BTW.

At 6:00pm, Emma called for a cab and we floored it to the Book Cafe. Catherine was already there so I had to surreptitiously hand the cake to the restaurant manager to keep in the kitchen. Saraharrived shortly thereafter with a huge bouquet of orchids, which was also handed over to the kitchen staff.

Catherine, David, Evelyn, Vidhya, Simon, Linda, Tracy, Maddie and my distributors Denise and Kelvin from Closetful of Books were already settled in our assigned corner of the cafe.  Catherine's brilliant and soon-to-be-blockbusting best-seller, Darcy Moon and the Deep Fried Frogs had just arrived and Catherine looked quite at home signing copies of her book. She's a natural. Her distributors were more than happy when they made a tidy sum from book sales that night.

After announcing her imminent departure to the rest of the members, we started the meeting proper by critiquing manuscripts from Vidhya, Simon and Linda. 

Vidhya's piece was an engaging piece about a lunch that mysteriously vanished, Simon's was funny is a squirmish, blood and guts way, and Linda's was about going home.

Catherine read Linda's story and it touched home! Linda later confessed she didn't think about that when she submitted in for review.

SCBWI RA showed up in the middle of the critiques after a full day of planning this year's Asian Festival of Children's Content. Though he was swamped at work, nothing was going make him miss Catherine's last meeting!

With the critiques over it was time for the cake and flowers. Sarah and I brought out cake and Sarah carried the flowers. I think Catherine was surprised. At least I hope she was. 

Catherine gives  a speech!

With her flowers and cake
After a short, informal but heartfelt speech, we all dug into the cake, which was kind of difficult to cut into. Then we all sort of sat around chatting and catching up before it was time to head on home. It's still hasn't sunk in that it was Catherine's last meeting but I'm sure it will. I'm sorry that Emma, Kenneth and I won't be here for her book launch next month at the Arts House but I'm sure it will be fantastic. I'll miss you lots, Catherine. You're a great friend.

One last shot of the group
Front Row (left to Right): Vidhya, Linda, Evelyn, me, Kenneth, Simon, Kristy, David
Back row: Vinnie, Maddie, Tracy, Emma, Sarah, Catherine.
Absent with regrets: Felicia, Adan, Emily, Kate.

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