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A masterclass with Christopher Cheng


It’s always a joy for us to work with our author friends and this week was no exception as the talented Christopher Cheng  joined us to share some of the secrets of his creative practice with students attending Aurora College. If you’re not familiar with Aurora College I encourage you to check them out and discover how the Departmen of Education is catering for the needs of gifted and talented students who are located in regional and remote communities across NSW.

man with large book and manuscript papers

Christopher arrived for our virtual masterclass with a small suitcase full of his archival material revealing just how his popular books are developed from an initial idea through meticulous research and the long journey through many drafts to publication.

The State Library has a particularly strong link to New Gold Mountain as Christopher spent four days a week, for three months in the Mitchell Library, researching the events of the 1860's events at Lambing Flat and the impact on Chinese miners. We retrieved, from the stacks, some of that research material Christopher used and he was thrilled to see it all again.

Christopher works in an extremely methodical way and writing is a very ‘physical’ process for him as he handwrites all his books (usually in pencil) and has many notebooks, archival folders and even the stack request slips from his early research! Aurora College students thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to interact with an author and had some wonderful questions for Christopher. The teachers were of course pleased that Christopher talked about the many drafts required before you achieve your ‘best work’.

manuscripts and hands

Next week we will be launching Don Spencer’s picture book I Wish I Had An Elephant so why not bring your pre-schoolers to a FREE session of music, songs and stories with former playschool presenter and renowned musician Don Spencer.

Coming up in the January holidays we will be offering a workshop session with Aura Parker where she will share her gorgeous picture book Twig and lead a guided drawing activity for children. Stay tuned for details and book spaces early as this one will sell out.