Hot on the heels of being shortlisted for the Western Australian Premier's Book Awards for the second consecutive year, Helen Milroy is launching a new podcast sharing insights into the creative process behind children’s books.
An accomplished writer and illustrator of picture books and junior fiction titles, Helen says she has always been interested in people's stories and, as a consultant psychiatrist, has spoken with many children, young people and families over decades. She says, 'Stories, whether personal or creative, are how we come to understand and learn about life.' She says her interviews with writers and illustrators cover everything from early life experiences with reading through to current projects and tips. Topics include getting started with writing or illustrating, finding inspiration, working with collaborators and publishers, handling feedback and setbacks, managing self-care, and seeking support.
Helen says, 'Sometimes this type of work may be seen as child’s play, but in reality it can take an enormous amount of time, effort and research just to get to the first draft. I am fascinated with exploring the creative process and how this develops and unfolds over time, as well as the effort that goes into creating authenticity, diversity and interest for the people reading the stories.'
The podcast is designed to appeal to emerging children's book creators, as well as to carers, teachers and readers who want to understand how our talented writers and illustrators nurture their skills. The first episode features textile-artist-turned-illustrator Ruth de Vos with episodes featuring James Foley, Gladys Milroy, Katie Stewart and Jessica Walton to follow soon.
Fremantle Press Marketing and Communications Manager Claire Miller said the idea for the podcast came about after a conversation with Helen about her past experience with the media. Most of Helen’s interviews inevitably focused on her achievements as Australia’s first Indigenous doctor and psychiatrist, or asked for her expert opinion on important issues to do with trauma and mental health. Claire said, 'Very few gave Helen the chance to share her passion for storytelling, her books or her belief in the importance of stories for us all. So I jumped at the chance to hand over the microphone and have her set her own agenda.'
You can listen to the podcast here or on your favourite podcast app by subscribing to the Fremantle Press podcast.
Dr Helen Milroy is a descendant of the Palyku people of the Pilbara region of Western Australia. She was born and educated in Perth and has a passionate interest in health and wellbeing, especially for children. She is currently a professor at the University of Western Australia, a consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist, and Commissioner with the National Mental Health Commission. Her books have been shortlisted for the Western Australian Premier's Book Awards (2019, 2020), the Readings Children's Book Prize (2020) and the Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year (2020).