The Short Version:
Emily Gale has been involved in the children’s book industry for over twenty years. In the UK she worked as an editor for Penguin and Egmont, and later as a freelance manuscript consultant and pre-school book writer. In Australia she has worked with literary agent Sheila Drummond, finding new children’s and YA authors; she has reviewed for Bookseller and Publisher, been a judge for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards (YA Category) and spent several happy years at independent bookshop Readings as a children’s buyer, during which time she was instrumental in establishing the Readings Children’s Book Prize. Emily’s writing includes four novels for teenagers – Girl, Aloud in 2009, Steal My Sunshine in 2013, The Other Side of Summer in 2016, and a new Young Adult book due this August (2018) called I Am Out With Lanterns, as well as Eliza Boom’s Diary, in 2014, for younger readers.
Emily is available for school visits in 2018, in Victoria or beyond depending on feasibility. Please get in touch with Creative Net or Speakers Ink for further details about workshops and presentations.
The Long, Whimsical Version:
Part One: When I was little, I must have overheard someone say: “She’s going to be a writer” because I grew up believing that one day I would be. Maybe they weren’t even talking about me. In any case, such a sparkly idea is exactly the kind of thing I’d have stolen and kept it under my pillow. (I was going to say “like a magpie” but then I looked it up and discovered that the idea of a thieving magpie being drawn to shiny objects is a myth. I love research.)
Part Two: Bear with me, this is still about when I was little. Many weekends my brother and I would stay with my granny and she’d take us to a bookshop. We were allowed to choose a book each. Then we’d go next door to the newsagents and choose a chocolate bar each. Me: Fry’s Peppermint Cream. My brother: Fry’s Five Centres. I remember believing with utter certainty that I had better taste in chocolate, not to mention books.
At the time I didn’t realise how lucky I was to be getting books for birthdays and Christmas as well, as much as I cherished having my nose in one. I perfected my fake smile aged nine when I received a Thesaurus. But I still have that Thesaurus and, more importantly, many of the books that were the foundations of my imaginary life when I was growing up: Charlotte’s Web, Charlotte Sometimes, and dozens of books that weren’t about anybody called Charlotte. To this day I love reading children’s books. (P.S. My granny was a bit like Essie in my novel Steal My Sunshine.)
Part Three: We can skip a few decades now, during which I wrote lots of bad poetry, went to uni, became a children’s book editor, fell in love and out of love a few times, had two children and finally retrieved the sparkly idea from under my pillow. Maybe it didn’t happen exactly like that.
I wrote my first book in 2005. It was never published. (This is probably a good thing.) I wrote my second book in 2006 and it was published in 2013 (Steal My Sunshine). I wrote my third book in 2007 and it was published in 2009 (Girl, Aloud). In between I’ve worked as a freelance editor, a reader for a literary agent, and a children’s book buyer in an indie bookstore. I’ve written Young Adult, picture books, junior fiction, and that nameless but essential upper-middle/lower YA age-range. It might sound like I’m a bit all over the place, but if you went looking for themes in my work you’d find them.
My heart will always belong to London, where I grew up, but my current home (Melbourne, Australia) is truly under my skin.
Part Four: I find the writing life frustrating and heart-breaking but impossible to resist. This quote from Virginia Woolf’s A Room Of One’s Own is my mantra.
“So long as you write what you wish to write, that is all that matters; and whether it matters for ages or only for hours, nobody can say.”