Welcome to #TheQuickSixInterview with Cassy Polimeni!

It is such a thrill when beautiful new books are launched by wonderful debut authors making a splash into the world. It’s even more thrilling when a publishing contract is signed by our Just Write For Kids’ 2020 Pitch It! Competition winner! Congratulations, Cassy Polimeni, on your absolutely exquisite picture book, The Garden at the End of the World! Thank you for being here and sharing more about your stunning real-life fairytale! 🙂 x

Cassy Polimeni is a freelance editor and children’s/YA author who has always loved words and faraway places. Her past jobs include travel writer, magazine editor, TV book reviewer and airport chauffeur.

The Garden at the End of the World is her first picture book – a fairytale adventure about the real life Global Seed Vault in Svalbard, Norway. It is illustrated by the talented Briony Stewart, published by UQP and will has just recently been released into the world.

As well as picture books, Cassy writes junior, middle grade and young adult fiction. In 2022 she was awarded an Australian Society of Authors/Copyright Australia mentorship to develop a middle grade novel, also set in Norway.

Please visit Cassy at her website: Cassy Polimeni – Children’s Author (wordpress.com)

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Check out the details for the launch of The Garden at the End of the World on Saturday April 29 at Readings, St Kilda: here.

WHO wrote, illustrated and published this book?

The Garden at the End of the World is written by Cassy Polimeni, illustrated by Briony Stewart and published by UQP.

WHAT is it about?

It’s a fairytale adventure to the real-life Global Seed Vault in Svalbard, Norway. After Isla finds a rare plant in the forest near her home, she and her mother travel to the Global Seed Vault to deposit the seeds so they can be kept safe for future generations.

What is your favourite part of this book?

I love the way Briony has depicted what’s going on in Isla’s imagination with ghostly cyanotype plants growing out of the vault, and the tropical plants she imagines when Mum is explaining what Svalbard used to be like millions of years ago.

WHEN did you begin writing this book?

I wrote it in mid-2020 during Melbourne’s lockdowns when we weren’t allowed to travel more than 5km from home – it was a pretty great way to escape!

When is its release / launch date?

It will be in bookstores from 4 April 2023, with a book party/launch at Readings St Kilda at 2pm on Saturday 29 April 2023. The launch will feature sweet treats, storytime and craft. It’s free, but bookings are essential.

Launch Booking link: https://www.readings.com.au/events/book-launch-the-garden-at-the-end-of-the-world

WHERE did the inspiration for this book come from?

I’ve always been fascinated by seed vaults, but first got a glimpse inside this one via an episode of Destination Flavour on SBS when Adam Liaw and crew got to explore the vault. I was blown away by everything about Svalbard and the vault and wanted to know more.

WHY is this book meaningful to you?

It’s my first book, so that’s meaningful all on its own. It was also inspired by my love of northern Norway, where I was lucky enough to study for a few months during university (although I am yet to visit Svalbard). Svalbard and the vault are real, but also seem magical and stranger than fiction – which is pretty much my favourite combination.

Why would its message resonate with readers?

While there is an urgency to act on climate change, it must be overwhelming for kids to constantly face messaging that the job of saving the world is up to them. I hope kids reading this book feel reassured there are ‘helpers’ out there working to protect our future. For others, maybe it will spark an interest in global citizenship and the way we can work together. Mostly, I hope both kids and grown ups feel the same sense of wonder that I did just knowing a place like this exists.

HOW do you feel about the illustrations / cover design? How do they convey the feeling or mood you envisioned?

I love the cover! It’s so inviting. The characters Briony has created for Isla and Mum are gorgeous, and so is Hannah Janzen’s beautiful design.

I also love the beautiful cyanotype (sun print) endpapers made from real plants, and Briony’s stunning illustrations which bring the Arctic to life – snowmobiles, Nordic houses, reindeer and Arctic foxes hiding on the pages, and the spectacular northern lights. She has also depicted the vault very accurately, both inside and out. The illustrations are both realistic and magical which is exactly what I loved about the story to begin with.

How have you promoted this book and how can we find it?

You can find it in all good bookstores (if your local doesn’t have it, ask and they can order it in for you). It can also be purchased online via Booktopia and all the usual outlets. Apart from the launch in Melbourne on April 29 I have been chatting to a few podcasts and visiting local bookshops which has been fun.

Book link on UQP website: https://www.uqp.com.au/books/the-garden-at-the-end-of-the-world

Thanks so much, Cassy! We are so thrilled for you and wish you every success with this stunning book! 🙂

#thequicksixinterview #thegardenattheendoftheworld #norway #globalseedvault #climatechange #picturebook

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