The Newcastle Writers Festival and Newcastle Libraries were proud to help launch the amazing new picture book Don't Think About Purple Elephants by creative team Susan Whelan and Gwynneth Jones (published by EK Books - an imprint of Exisle Publishing) on Saturday during the festival's Saturday Family Fun Day.
The Lovett Gallery in Newcastle Library was eerily quiet and empty 15 minutes before the launch. The sound and lighting had been checked and the elephant treats had been perfectly arranged. The anticipation was building as Susan, Gwynneth and I (I was volunteering as part of the festival) waited for family, friends and book lovers to arrive to help celebrate. They obviously hadn’t found the elephant footprints all over the stairs yet.
Don't Think About Purple Elephants is the debut picture book for both Susan and Gwynneth. There is nothing like the launch of the first book by an emerging author or illustrator (other than a wedding or birth of a child I guess). Wondering and worrying if people will come to celebrate the years of writing, editing, scribbling, drawing, painting, planning, and creating would be overwhelming. But hundreds came.
As the room filled quickly, joy and love consumed the space.
As I was a volunteer, I sadly had to watch from afar, but it was lovely to help fill the front half of the room with children of all ages as they waited in anticipation for the first official reading.
After thank you speeches had been delivered and the story shared, children were treated to purple elephant biscuits, yellow cupcakes topped with handmade edible purple elephants (made by the wonderful Julie Swane) and drinks.
As an extra treat, helpful purple elephants appeared everywhere even though everyone was told not to think about them. Susan spent hours hand-dying each outfit.
A signing line quickly appeared as everyone congratulated the girls while holding their freshly purchased copies of their book.
I think the girls lost count of how many photos they posed for and how many lovely comments they received. This book launch was so special and one I'm sure they will never forget.
Congratulations to you both, Susan and Gwynne. Not only do we share the same publisher but we share a friendship (which came first). I hope your book reaches all the corners of the world and everyone thinks of both of you fondly when they do and don't think about purple elephants.
|Gwynneth Jones, Mark Robinson, Susan Whelan, me|
|Susan Whelan, Kirrili Lonergan, me, Gwynneth Jones|