Meet children’s author and science communicator Cristy Burne
Cristy Burne works at the intersection of story, science, technology and creativity and is passionate about empowering our next generation of creative, science-savvy citizens. Deakin Library is hosting Cristy for an author talk at our Warrnambool Campus Library on Tuesday 2 May – take a look at our Q&A to get to know her better!
What made you want to be a writer?
Mum doing the voices for Snugglepot and Cuddlepie is probably the thing that made me fall in love with books. I’ve always loved stories and reading and writing, but then in Year 8 I failed creative writing.
I was so devastated. I decided I hated English and I hated writing and I would never try writing again. But it turns out I couldn’t stop. I just love making things out of words.
Tell us a little bit about how you got started and your journey as a writer so far.
After the Year 8 creative writing debacle, I didn’t think I was good enough to be a writer, but I just kept on writing and writing because it made me happy. There’s nothing quite like the high of being ‘in the zone.’
Eventually I started being brave enough to enter competitions and submit my work, and word by word, adventure by adventure, I managed to carve out a career doing something really meaningful to me.
I think the number-one thing you need to be a writer is courage. Courage to put pen to paper. Courage to share your words with others. And – if you want to get published – courage to face rejection of your stories over and over again.
I probably entered fifty different writing competitions before I was shortlisted in one. I still get rejected. And I just kept on trying.
You’re passionate about blending STEM, literacy, storytelling and creativity – what has inspired you to focus on this combination?
I’ve always been interested in ideas, mysteries, secrets and magic, but it wasn’t until I reached high school that I realised you could find all these things in science and maths.
I decided to study science at uni because I’m curious and I love our planet, but it wasn’t until years later, when I joined the Questacon Science Circus, that I discovered you don’t have to choose between science and arts.
I want to inspire kids to be curious and to love our planet, and to understand that ideas and mysteries and secrets and magic are all part of the incredible world we share.
With the success of your books and speaking events, it’s clear that this is a recipe that appeals to kids – why do you think that is?
I don’t really have a recipe for books or for events, which makes every book and event quite terrifying. I just try to be myself, and to be in the moment, and to genuinely connect with the reader or audience. With kids especially, I try to make sure they feel heard and seen and valued.
You’re the inaugural Deakin University Copyright Agency Children’s Writer in Residence in 2023 – can you tell us a little about this role, what it has involved and how it came about?
This is a tremendous opportunity offered to an Australian children’s author by Deakin University thanks to funding by the Copyright Agency.
It’s a three-month residency that includes time and money (and space at Deakin’s Warrnambool campus!) to work on a new project. This has literally been a life-changer for me. The project I’ve been working on is incredibly personal. I’ve never written anything like it before. It could not have been attempted at home, with the mish-mash of school lunches and laundry and traffic lights and Ordinary Life.
Instead, I was able to bunker down completely alone in my head and get all my thoughts and ideas down in a monumental first-draft (at least, it feels monumental to me 😊).
Built into the residency is a one-week roadshow where I get to meet and work with readers and aspiring writers in Warrnambool, Geelong and Melbourne. I am SO excited for this. (It’s a funny thing that being completely alone in my head really brings out my inner extrovert 😉)
One of the things you’ll be sharing at the workshop is advice for aspiring writers – any sneak peeks you can share here?
HUGE MASSIVE SPOILER-ALERT sneak peek:
I want this workshop to be as helpful as possible, so I’m leaving lots of time for you to direct the focus. Please come along with all your questions and thoughts and let’s see where we can go together 😊
I hope to see you there!
Join us for Cristy’s author talk
Where: Deakin Warrnambool Campus Library
When: Tuesday 2 May, 5–6pm