On Sunday May 27th, we had a book launch with a difference. Alison Lester’s new book Sophie Scott Goes South is all about nine-year-old Sophie who travels to Mawson Station in Antarctica on board the Aurora Australis with her father who is the ship’s captain. Sophie is really Alison’s alter ego, as Sophie’s diary is based on Alison’s own writings from her travels to the frozen continent. The book combines a diary, photographs, illustrations and paintings and it’s sure to capture a young (or old!) reader’s imagination and curiosity and encourage a sense of wonder for this unique and precious place.
We thought it would be lots of fun if we could actually launch the book on the Aurora Australis when it was docked in Hobart. The good people from P&O agreed to this, and 40 or so guests lined up to board the vessel at 12.30 sharp. We were introduced to the ship’s captain and other crew members, as well as people from the Australian Antarctic Division. Simon Estella from P&O Maritime launched the book as we all stood on the bridge, and then we were given a tour of the ship. Alison assured us that although it felt very big as we were clambering over it, once it was out in the middle of the Southern Ocean the Aurora Australis actually starts to feel quite small!
Following the launch we had lunch in the mess with several members of the crew, and then it was time to walk to the Hobart bookshop in Salamanca Place where we had book launch # 2! It seemed as if all of Hobart had come along to the launch as we all crowded into the bookshop. Alison signed many, many books for the children (and their parents) afterwards.