Waiting for the Night

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Waiting for the Night began as a 195 word student assignment in 2008 for Libby Hathorn’s class on children’s literature in the Master of Creative Writing course at the University of Sydney.

It was only when I was clearing out some old files two years ago that I found the draft and decided it was worth revising. I spent a little time re-writing before sending the manuscript around to publishers.

Interactive Press (IP) responded with a positive email in 2016. The search for a suitable illustrator began. Early in 2017, Anna Seed and I signed a publishing contract with IP, and Anna began creating her vibrant illustrations.

The text went through many further drafts, changes and revisions in consultation with IP editor and publisher Dr David Reiter and illustrator Anna Seed. The flying fox was particularly troublesome! And many rewrites ensued.

At last, in March 2018, ten years after the first version, here is the cover for the published book. I hope that you and your little people will enjoy Waiting for the Night.


Date Stamp

date due

September gone
and another birthday
I pause
before turning the fourth
corner of the year

these book-lined walls
all thought, every emotion
on my calendar I schedule
a day to run free

last day of term
locking the library door
on silence
I check myself out
for a long, long loan

Julie Thorndyke

(Tanka Splendor Winner 2006)

Just off Message

Just off message

Congratulations to Interactive Press on their 20th year anniversary and anthology,
Just off Message!

Thank you to editor David Reiter for including some poetry of mine in this celebratory book.

As he writes on the IP website, it is important to remember that “independent publishing houses like IP are, and always will be, an essential part of the cultural landscape” offering opportunities to local and emerging writers.

I’m looking forward to reading the work of all the contributing writers.

Pansy and the Christmas Tree

CP with angel

Last January, I saw the email call for submissions from Christmas Press for their 2017 anthology,  A Christmas Menagerie. 

I spent several afternoons devising a story based on memories my mother had told me, about a Christmas she had on the family dairy farm at Federal in the 1930s when she was a girl.

Pansy and the C T

Although I have made up the characters and the plot, there really was a cranky cow called Pansy who gave my mother a black eye when being milked.

All their cows had names. This photo isn’t Pansy, the cranky cow. When we were going through photos,  sorting out names and places, Mum told me it was Anzac, a nice cow born on Anzac Day.


The surprise Christmas meal was also true, and I know that Mum and her family had sing-a-longs with friends for which my grandfather played the fiddle. They were Methodists, and music was essential to their lives.

We celebrate Christmas without her now, but I hope Mum would be pleased that a story she gave me so many elements for is now in print.

CP anthologies

A Winter Ginko

winter huddle.jpg

It was a wabi-sabi sort of day last weekend, when I met with poetry friends for a garden ginko. We took some time to slow down, walk around a winter garden, and notice the textures of foliage, stone and wood.

Camellias, jonquils, and other rarer blooms we couldn’t name were there for the keen-eyed poet to discover.

In these moments of reflection, we may have also learnt something about ourselves.

stone tubs
that once held the weekly wash
now cradle spring bulbs
. . . each day I find
a new skill to master

© Julie Thorndyke

From the Attic . . .


In my case, the “attic” was the wonderful online repository from the National Library of Australia, TROVE. Many digitized local newspapers can be found there, listing social events like birthday parties, weddings and funerals.

Such an insight into the lives of long-gone relatives!

Thank you Christi Craig and Lisa Rivero for accepting my creative non-fiction piece, “Aunt Becker’s Secret” for this unique anthology.

I am looking forward to seeing the finished book, and also reading the stories other writers have discovered in their family attics.

How to buy the book? Information here http://www.hiddentimberbooks.com/family-stories-attic/