8 May 2020
Mother’s Day started over a hundred years ago as a daughter’s tribute to her mother, but what does it mean today? I explore this question and more in a feature for Canberra Weekly.
16 March 2020
Just before Covid-19 changed our daily lives, I had the pleasure of visiting some amazing small schools in country Victoria, where I spoke about reading, writing and my author’s journey. The students blew me away with their curiosity and love of reading. With shutdowns imminent, educators are trialling new online methods to nourish children’s love of learning and their strong, confident relationships with peers and teachers.
10 March 2020
Arkfest, Lilydale Victoria’s annual short theatre festival, paid dividends this year for my monologue, Pretty Stupid, which the adjudicator selected to go through to the final round. There, it received Highly Commended for the Best Script Award, while talented young actor, Hope Cunningham received the Adjudicator’s Award for her top notch performance in the piece. A great event for both the local arts communities (14 independent theatre companies participated) and the public.
3 March 2020
Thrilled that my short story, My Dog is a Cat (inspired by Millie, pictured) received Highly Commended in the 2019/20 Greenleaf Buds Unpublished Picture Book Competition.
21 November 2019
A powerful and telling review of Fragments in this week’s New Territory by Rosalind Moran
24 October 2019
Another great review for Fragments from ArtsHub!
21 October 2019
Talking about youth mental health in today’s Her Canberra.
21 September 2019
Lovely to talk to Barbie Robinson at Living Arts Canberra today about Fragments in the lead up to its production next month at The Street Theatre (23-27 October).
28 July 2019
Hooray for Hollywood! I’m thrilled to learn that my monologue (titled ‘She’) has just been shortlisted from nearly 500 entires for Short+Sweet Hollywood.
Final selections are underway. Whether or not the work is picked up for production, I’m happy to have made it this far!
20 March 2019
I’m excited to be named Artist-in-Residence at Bundanon Trust, where I’ll be finalising the script for Fragments, my youth monologue project on mental health, for production and publication. Details here. I’m grateful for two weeks of creative time and space in such a unique and inspirational setting – over 1,000 hectares of rich landscape on the Shoalhaven River, inhabited by native plants and wildlife. Who knows what creative ideas will pop into my head when surround by such natural wonder? Thank you to the renowned artist, Arthur Boyd, and his family for an enduring gift to Australia of such cultural and environmental significance.
12 March 2019
A lovely review of The Trouble in Tune Town today from Sarah Wallace at Kids’ Book Review. It’s hard to believe that I launched this title nearly a year ago – so much has happened since then. I’m heartened by the many messages of support and thanks, especially from young children and their families. It seems that my kids weren’t the only ones who struggled with music lessons! I’ve learned so much on this journey and I’m grateful for the many opportunities that seem to be coming my way. Stay tuned for some exciting news.
6 December 2018
I’m thrilled to announce that I have won the ACT Writing and Publishing Award (Children’s category) for my debut title, The Trouble in Tune Town. The ACT Writing and Publishing Awards, administered by the ACT Writers Centre (ACTWC) across four categories, ‘recognise excellence in published writing by ACT region authors’. In presenting the award at the ACTWC Christmas party on 6 December, ACTWC Director, Paul Bissett, described The Trouble in Tune Town as “a gorgeous picture book that tells a fun story with a lovely message for children along the way, and provides a perfect introduction to the world of music”. Earlier this year the book was named Joint Winner, Best Illustrated Children’s E-Book, Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY) 2018 and Finalist, Children’s Picture Book (Hardcover Fiction) for both the International Book Awards and Best Book Awards. Yay!
20 November 2018
Double good news: The Trouble in Tune Town has been named Finalist in American Bookfest’s Best Book Awards in the Children’s Picture Book — Hardcover Fiction category. The book has also been selected by Bluebell Books for its new online shop of specially curated kids’ titles. If you’re looking for great holiday gift ideas for the holidays, check out their website and tell your friends!
17 November 2018
Wow! What a thrill to watch such passionate and talented young actors bring my words to life on stage. Thank you to the cast and crew of Fragments, to director James Hartley for his vision, and to all who came to see the show. I was heartened to hear that the work resonated with the challenges and experiences faced by so many people. Mental health issues don’t discriminate but people do. Fragments aims to shatter stigmas and to start a conversation. Judging by feedback from the enthusiastic audience, I’m confident that it did that … and more.
14 November 2018
It’s opening night! Thrilled that Fragments will be performed tonight at the Pioneer Theatre, Castle Hill with shows over the next four days. Creative dynamo, James Hartley (director) has assembled an impressive artistic team. I attended rehearsals last week and was blown away by the talent of the eight young actors. I’m looking forward to catching the show on Friday and Saturday night — it’s always exciting to see my work come to life on stage.
15 October 2018
Time is not my friend lately but I’m trying to offer my help where I can with literacy activities. I recently joined the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) review team and enjoyed immensely the first two titles they sent me. Here are my two reviews, one a picture book, the other a middle grade novel. You can read my reviews here: My Life and Other Failed Experiments (Tom Weekly #6) and Puffin the Architect.
19 September 2018
Great news: Fragments has secured funding for creative development (5-8 October, Ainslie+ Gorman Arts Centres, Canberra), supported by artsACT! The development will dig deep into the eight interconnected monologues to explore their potential as individual pieces and as part of a unified work, culminating in a development showing (in the form of a rehearsed reading) for a small but diverse audience. I’m quietly confident about bringing Fragments to the stage in Canberra in 2019 — stay tuned!
13 August 2018
It was my pleasure to hand over the ‘Little Library’ this morning to Julie Wiley, Principal of St Thomas More’s Primary School in Campbell. I’ve been interested in starting a street library for quite some time and, thanks to a motivated tradesman, have finally found a cost-efficient way to build one using excess material. The design was easy – I wanted something that would blend into the bushland surrounds, be waterproof, and have two levels, whether to sort books for younger and older readers, or for kids and adults. In Campbell, elderly residents, have lived here since the suburb was established in the 1960s, thrive alongside young families. My hope is that the Little Library brings young and old together, promoting community and conversation amidst a shared love of reading.
28 May 2018
Another accolade for The Trouble in Tune Town, which has just been named Finalist in the Children’s Picture Book Hardcover Fiction category of the 2018 International Book Awards in the U.S. The book was a labour of love in many ways and it’s so gratifying to see it acknowledged within the industry.
20 May 2018
Thrilled to learn that Fragments, my youth monologue project on mental health issues, has been selected by the Australian Cultural Fund from 140 applications for their ‘Boost’ program. This means if the project raises at least $2,000 by 30 June, ACF will match funds with an additional $2,000. The project was recently workshopped in Sydney with a young cast, and I was heartened to see them animate my words with passion, support and commitment. The aim is to produce the work in Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne, pending funding.
Further details can be found here: Fragments – Australian Cultural Fund.
17 May 2018
I was honored to attend a performance of my monologue, Picture Perfect (from the larger work, Fragments) in Sydney as part of The Monologue Adventure, led by NIDA’s Lliane Clarke. With the theme of Secrets, Longings and Desires, The Monologue Adventure ran for three nights, showcasing women’s voices from all walks of life in an inspirational, provocative and moving piece of theatre.
6 May 2018
The launch of The Trouble in Tune Town – a day that in so many ways I thought would never arrive – came and went with much fanfare, enthusiasm and relief! The highlight for me was the involvement of Music for Canberra’s young musicians in the form of two ensembles – the MFC youth strings ensemble and Peg Mantle Strings – and also the open, light-filled space of the National Library. My son and daughter spoke about their challenges with music, especially when learning difficult new pieces, and I enjoyed an author’s reading then meeting and signing books for many budding young musicians, followed by music-themed craft activities. All in all, a great day and the first, I hope, of many book launches.
4 May 2018
A big thank you to Romi Sharp at Just Write for Kids for a fantastic two-week blog tour via Books on Tour in the lead up to the launch. Romi’s hard work, endless creativity and good humour made the journey so rewarding and fun. Check out the Tune Town Blog Tour for Q&As, book reviews, the book trailer, craft activities, photos and loads more!
10 April 2018
Wow, I wasn’t expecting this! The Trouble in Tune Town has just been named Joint Winner, Best Children’s Illustrated E-Book, Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY) 2018. Great timing for the book launch on 6 May at 2pm at the National Library of Australia. The book, my first, was a labour of love in so many ways, and I’m thrilled that it has received this international recognition.
15 March 2018
The big day is nearly here! The Trouble in Tune Town is being launched at the National Library of Australia in Canberra at 2pm on Sunday, 6 May, in association with Music for Canberra. There will be a special music performance by Peg Mantle Strings, conducted by Tim Wickham, an author’s reading (of course!) and book signing, along with plenty of activities for kids. The event is free but RSVPs are appreciated: Book here!
15 November 2017
Great news! I’ve just been awarded a Fellowship to spend two weeks at the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers’ Centre in WA next March to develop Leaving into a full length play.
Hoping the change of scenery brings inspiration for fourteen productive days to my cabin in the woods.
Looking forward to meeting the other Fellows and to being part of such a wonderful creative community.
10 November 2017
Surprised, elated and grateful to have been named Winner of the Charlotte Waring Barton Award and the CBCA Aspiring Writers Mentorship Program 2017!
Here I am accepting the award last night in Sydney, from James Kellow, HarperCollins CEO (AUS & NZ).
I’m looking forward to getting started with HarperCollins and my mentor next year.
28 October 2017
A big thank you to Hawker Primary School!
They invited me to read The Trouble in Tune Town yesterday to nearly sixty super well behaved, very clear and all around lovely Year 2 students.
A fun and fantastic first author reading, and I can’t wait to do more!
A big thank you to LJ Hooker Canberra City and property manager extraordinaire, Susie Weaver, for supporting my work.
So happy to see The Trouble in Tune Town bringing a smile to people’s faces. Thanks Susie and LJ Hooker Canberra City for supporting local artists!
31 August 2017
The Trouble in Tune Town, my firstchildren’s picture book, is now available!
Free e-book with purchase of the hardback edition!
The e-book will be sent to the email address used for your book order.
Read more about The Trouble in Tune Town over here.
20 March 2017
Congratulations to the entire Tapping Out team!
The play was awarded Third Place, Best Production at the Short+Sweet Theatre Gala Finals in Sydney on 18 March.
A great outcome, given over 750 scripts were considered for the competition.
Director Cecile Payet was awarded the Best Director gong – a fantastic achievement and well deserved.
8 February 2017
I was thrilled to be in the audience when Tapping Out was awarded Judges’ Choice at Short+Sweet in Sydney on 5 February.
A huge thank you to the visionary director, Cecile Payet, choreographer Genevieve Morris and the amazing cast for their inspired performances.
Fingers crossed for the Gala Finals, 16-18 March!
21 November 2016
So close, yet so far! I was pleased to see Freefalling (under its original title, True North) be named Runner Up for the NSW Writers Centre Varuna Fellowship, a lovely recognition by industry judges amidst some very stiff competition.
The prize includes a book pack and the opportunity to submit my manuscript to publisher, Meredith Curnow.
A wonderful testimonial for my YA manuscript, Freefalling from Samantha Tidy, award-winning author of The Happiness Jar (Storytorch press, 2013):
On first reading, Freefalling struck me as being a rare gem of a story.
Maura brings insight into the challenges that teenagers face and a rare humour that young people respond to in text.
Her story is strong and well-crafted; her voice unwavering and relevant.
23 October 2016
What a confidence boost!
In October 2016 I received the MPS Travel+Tours Performers’ Award, Capital Arts Patrons’ Organisation (CAPO), to write a series of dramatic monologues this year on the theme of mental illness.
The monologues aim to increase public awareness of mental health issues, with a view to reducing stigma.
Here I am accepting my award.
8 September 2016
‘Tapping Out’ wins SOLO Monologue Competition!
Very excited that the original (monologue) version of Tapping Out won the SOLO Monologue Competition in the published category.
The competition, an initiative of HotHouse Theatre, La Trobe University and Write Around the Murray, was held at the Butter Factory Theatre in Wodonga.
Read More on Hot House Theatre
2 August 2016
Some lovely words from the multi-talented Terry J Cassells, lead performer in Tapping Out, Brisbane Powerhouse, 20-23 July 2016.
As a performer you are always searching for a theatre piece that delves into your soul.
Maura captures the desperation of loss in Tapping Out and I felt honoured to be presenting her work.
8 January 2015
I was delighted to learn that the first-draft of my YA novel, Freefalling, has been shortlisted for Varuna’s highly competitive Publisher Introduction Program.
News like this is heartening and gives me the confidence to keep going with a story of love and loss, friendship and fitting in, and finding your place in the world.