I took myself along to Oliver Phommavanh’s launch of his 6th book, ‘The Other Christy’ a novel for children aged 8 to 12, about a year 6 girl from Cambodia, navigating the social shark tank of finding friends. It was the first book launch that I have ever attended and I was keen to know exactly how these events go.
The launch was held in the grand old Dymocks store in Sydney’s CBD. Libby Gleeson, author of ‘Red’ and ‘Mahtab’s Story’ opened the event explaining how she knew Oliver from various CBCA events, paying tribute to his writing and natural sense of humour. She also read a section from his new book. Oliver’s launch also allowed Room to Read, a charity he supports, to promote their recent projects, and explain how they bring literacy to developing countries. What a great cause!
When Oliver spoke, he was lively, gave out many thankyous, and was all round hilarious. Just like his books! But his most touching comment was that the main character of ‘The Other Christy’ was based on his wife, “who is the sweetest thing in this room!” What a compliment, considering there was a table filled with cakes, baked goods, and Donut King Donuts.
Call outs were made to Oliver’s illustrator, Evi Ometeo who has illustrated all his books, giving them a similarity which helped to create a real brand for his writing.
After the speeches, Oliver signed books, giving out small presents for the kids that lined up to get their books signed (a nice touch). Everyone was invited to enjoy the table of sweets, and make a donation to Room to Read. The sweets tied in nicely with the book as Christy loves to cook.
There were about 40-50 people who attended. It was great to see some of Oliver’s high school friends come and support him, big men holding kids’ book, with the backdrop of pink iced cupcakes. It just goes to show that family and friends always have your back, and to be honest writing is tough, but made so much easier with the support of those closest to you.
Congratulations Oliver! Having 6 books published is no easy feat!