A Celestial Launch

What a glorious weekend we had in Canberra for the launch of the Celestial Empire exhibition at The National Library, and the picture book that was written specifically to tie in with the exhibition, which is of course my picture book New Year Surprise! I found out later at the dinner that this exhibition had one of the biggest turnouts for a launch of any that the library has had. Wonderful. This is also the first time that the library has contracted a children’s book to tie in with an exhibition so that is rather thrilling for me!

with the Australian PM

with the Australian PM

The launch on Friday night was in the front vestibule of the Library beginning with a piece played on the sheng – lovely. Speeches from various bods followed, including the departing Chinese Ambassador who whole-heartedly supported the exhibition, before the Prime Minister of Australia spoke. The exhibition was launched. He and his wife then hung around to chit chat with many of us – and yes me too … hence the prominent picture on this page!

A beautifully constructed monkey (it is Year of the Monkey now) was a welcoming sign outside the front of the Library – just in case you didn’t know where to go. This was huge. The exhibition – a joint display from the National Library of Beijing and our National Library – has been a few years in the compilation. It is not to be missed with the intricate and amazing paper works from the Qing Dynasty to be seen. The library has been wonderfully adorned with all sorts of decorations of Chinese origin.

And then it was a delectable, invitation-only dinner, in the Great Hall of Parliament House. Much chatting was also part and parcel of the evening – as well as the eating. Di and Kathy arrived in the afternoon so it was great seeing them too – and Di was in his element catching up with many folk that he knows well. Essentially there was lots of mingling and chatting and feasting and person spotting and just having a grand time in the National Capital.

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