Yes, it's true! Thanks to funding from the University of Auckland (School of Humanities Research Fund), I'm off to Boston to attend the American Library Association (ALA) midwinter conference in January. Find out more about the ALA midwinter conference here.
My publisher, Month9books, has invited me. Up to 10,000 librarians from around the States (and the world) will be there. The young adult fiction I write has applications in the classroom. My publisher wants to get me in front of these librarians (either on panels or as a guest speaker) to discuss 'Fictionalising mythology for YA audiences'. I'm also extremely interested in discussing the 'Evolution of monsters in mythology and fiction' (a possible PhD topic).
This has all come about from enrolling in the MCW (Masters in Creative Writing). The course has not only made me a better writer, but it has created opportunities. The University wrote a press release about me and my work. On the back of that, the NZ film commission has been in contact with the goal of introducing me to leading New Zealand producers/production companies to option my work for screen adaptation and to explore the prospect of developing new projects for screen. To say that I am excited is an understatement but I need to be cool. A Hollywood studio approached me about Rapture a couple of years ago but nothing came of it -- so I don't want to get my hopes up. I also have some more exciting news but I'm not allowed to say yet.
Admittedly, these opportunities haven't just fallen in my lap. I'm doing the course in the first place because I was successful in applying for a sabbatical from the Ministry of Education. My lecturer, Dr. Paula Morris told me that she gets occasional comments like she is 'lucky' getting residencies to exotic locations or funding to research or write a book. There's no such thing as luck. You work hard and you apply for things.
I applied to the NZ book council for this and they knocked me back. Creative NZ doesn't cover international travel to conferences (even to promote NZ fiction on a worldwide stage). I felt despondent and a little depressed by this response. But then this opportunity came up, I applied and the University of Auckland said yes. I'm impressed by how progressive and supportive they are. It's a great opportunity and I would particularly like to acknowledge Dr. Paula Morris, Associate Professor Malcolm Campbell and Professor Tony Spalinger.
Phillip W. Simpson
Phillip W. Simpson is an author of YA and children's books.