A few weeks ago I had the honour of attending The Script Road – Macau Literary festival, at the request of Helder Beja and his dedicated festival team. The Script Road is more than just a literary festival; it’s a celebration. Of books and readers, art and enthusiasts, entertainers and performers and audiences of all kinds.
My greatest pleasure was sharing Marjory and the Mouse with two different school groups. I mean, check out that super-watt-mega-cheesy grin! The students at The International School and Zheng Guanying were so curious and treated me with such kindness; I was really touched.
Telling the story of one of my greatest heroes, Marjory Vendramini, is a privilege I don’t take lightly and it was such a treat to see her again during my visit. I met her at Fountain of Hope, the home for the older children within her care, and while I was there school finished and I got to see a gaggle of kids rushing home to greet Marjory and tell her all about their day. Marjory’s aspiration to make Cradle and Fountain like real homes was evidenced in the lightness of their steps, the skipping and giggling to reach Marjory first and throw their arms around her.
As I told the kids at TIS and Zheng Guanying – the first draft of Marjory and the Mouse was written in one night. That was the easy part. It then took close to a decade to find the right illustrator, edit the story, translate it, source the funding, print and launch it. It was a long road. But returning to Macau to share the book and Marjory’s story feels like a magical, full circle. It feels like completion.
Except, of course, my connection with Macau and Marjory and Cradle of Hope will always remain. This weekend, at the Devonport Arts Festival Street Party, I’m going to be sharing Marjory and the Mouse with the little ones of Auckland, New Zealand. Making mouse masks, colouring in Mahe Corrolleur’s gorgeous illustrations and storytelling with my friend, Lotte Wotherspoon.
Macau is where my adventure with writing began. Both The Colour of Tea and Marjory and the Mouse were written and set in Macau and I will always be grateful to it. It’s a tiny place, full of diversity and contradictions, huge ideas (and constructions), sparkling lights against grey skies, incredible food and the most wonderful people. Thank you, Helder and The Script Road team, thank you to my friends, Kylie and Chris Rogers, for hosting me; thank you, Macau.
With love and gratitude, Hannah x