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Nautical Novels, and a Nomination

Despite all the isolation and gloom of our times, things are beginning to look rather buoyant!

First excellent news to share, is the release of the Daldy and Friend-Ships books, written by US author Douglas Walker.

The box of books arrives!

These three titles have been in the pipeline for a while, so it’s great to see them finally in print in US and New Zealand editions.

The books are set around Auckland, New Zealand, and are narrative adventures of true stories surrounding surviving historical harbour vessels, especially the William C Daldy steam tug, the largest historic steam ship in New Zealand, preserved today in Waitematā Harbour. Built in Scotland, and entering service in Auckland in 1935, the Daldy was rescued from scrap and purchased by an enthusiast society in 1977 - Facebook page is here.

The William C Daldy today (image: Preservation Society website)

The first book Daldy to the Rescue introduces Frankie and Katie, the children of Captain McKenna, who commanded the ship at the time of one of Daldy’s finest moments in 1958, when, in the middle of a storm she prevented one of the main sections of the partially constructed Auckland Harbour Bridge from being swept away.

Book 2 The Beaching of Bertha Barge personifies various stories of barges in the shape of Bertha, who is saved from scrap to help reinvigourate a damaged beach.

Book 3 Deodar's Voice follows the story of Auckland’s first purpose-built police harbour launch, Deodar, which was plagued by infamously noisy engines when launched in 1960, but soon proved her value in a daring rescue mission.

These three stories have been lovingly crafted by author Douglas Walker, and beautifully designed by Jeroen ten Berg. It was a delight to research and illustrate the books.

My second bit of news has really helped to clear the Covid 19 + climate crisis + Brexit gloom. Almost at the same time copies of the Daldy series arrived, to my enormous surprise and delight, came notice that I’ve once more been nominated for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. For the fifth consecutive year!

I am stunned, amazed, and incredibly humbled by this astounding news, though I’ve always been a complete outsider amidst the outstanding list of writers and illustrators, my name nominated for such a prestigious award five times now is an honour I cannot begin to express my gratitude for.

My deepest thanks to all those who continue to show faith in my work!

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