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Delving into the Curious and Wild with Shirley Marr

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As part of our CBCA Book Week 2020 celebrations, we caught up with local author Shirley Marr to discuss reading,Chinese mythology and the joy of creating.

Here’s what she had to say…

What does this year’s CBCA Book Week theme Curious Creatures, Wild Minds mean to you?

For me it evokes images of creatures from Chinese mythology- carp who brave waterfalls uphill so they can turn into dragons; rabbits who make selfish sacrifices and get placed on the moon. Wonderful women who can change into foxes and snakes!

Name your favourite curious creature – either one you’ve created or read about. What do you love about them?

My favourite is the huli jing - the Chinese fox spirit who can change into a young women. I put one in Little Jiang, as I believed she has received a bad rap over the years by being portrayed as a villain and being blamed for everything. She’s still a villain in my book, but also funny and relatable and unashamedly herself.

How will you be celebrating CBCA Book Week this October?

I will be reading all the books on all the shortlists! Wow, a treasure trove of talent!


We also asked Shirley to share a little bit more about herself…


Describe yourself in a sentence.

Weird, wild and incredibly fond of Wednesdays!

What do you love most about writing for children?

I love the chance to have fun and also write about big, important issues in simple and beautiful words.

2020 has been a year of much change and uncertainty – can you tell us a bit about what the year has held for you in terms of your creativity and work?

It has made me appreciate the world we live in. I am thankful for every chance I get to put pen on paper and I actively think to myself “how can I make the world a better place” through my writing?

About Shirley Marr:

Shirley Marr is an author of YA and children’s fiction. Her fast paced, page turning adventure for middle readers Little Jiang, published through Fremantle Press, is a fresh and funny take on an old Chinese legend.

To see what Shirley’s reading check out the CBCA Book of the Year Award 2020 winners and shortlist and to connect with Shirley visit her Website and find her on Instagram.