Sophie Masson

Sophie Masson

Sophie Masson graduated from UNE in 1990 with a Master of Letters. She has since published more than 60 books, and is co-founder of children’s literature publishing house, Christmas Press. Today, she continues to make the most of her career and life, working on exciting new novels and picture books, and completing her PhD in Creative Practice at UNE.

‘In publishing … every book is almost like the first, in that there is no guarantee it will be published. You have to work hard to stay relevant, fresh, flexible yet still maintain your integrity as a writer.’

UNE Life

When Sophie and her husband relocated to Armidale in the late 80’s, they both enrolled at UNE. Sophie attended campus once a week, studying externally while balancing freelance writing projects, family life, and renovating their new home in Guyra. On the very evening she and her husband each handed over their final theses, their third child was born. ‘I think the experience of having to fire on all kinds of cylinders during my uni years back then has been part of the reason why I can now juggle lots of things.’ Sophie has now returned to UNE to complete her PhD in Creative Practice, and to work on a young adult speculative fiction novel. ‘I loved my time at UNE, the atmosphere was both laid-back and stimulating, perfect for me.’

Into The Workforce

Sophie was already writing before undertaking her Masters, with short pieces published in magazines and newspapers, but it was during her time at UNE that her career began to take off. Her first novel, The House in the Rainforest, was launched at UNE in 1990 and was followed soon after by her first children’s book. From then on, her publication record became almost constant, now totalling more than 60 published books. ‘I knew nobody in the publishing industry then … I just kept sending stuff off, and hoping and crossing my fingers – and never accepting rejection but always getting up and trying again.’

Don’t give up. Don’t take rejection
personally. Remember that, as the French saying goes, ‘everyone thinks the midday sun falls on their doorstep.’ … just because someone doesn’t like your work, it doesn’t mean no-one else will!’

Christmas Press

Christmas Press began in 2013 when Sophie and two local friends, illustrator David Allan and author/illustrator Fiona McDonald, were discussing the books they had loved while growing up. ‘We were wondering why those kinds of books weren’t being published – and then thought, well, why don’t we have a go?’ The print run for their first book was crowdfunded, and sold out in 6 weeks. They have since published over a dozen books, from picture books and novels to anthologies and plays. Today, Christmas Press books are highly acclaimed, featuring in catalogues, libraries and schools across Australia, and recently exhibited at the largest children’s book fair in the world, in Bologna, Italy. ‘We are very proud of the fact that we operate in Armidale and look forward to some fantastic new books next year and beyond.’

Take pleasure in small joys when things seem less than ideal – a flower, a bright
sky, a child’s laughter … a good book - or whatever makes you stop, relax and glad to be alive.’