Monday, August 29, 2011

Heading North

... And for any Queenslanders reading this blog, I'm heading up to your sunny state this Sunday. (Woo hoo!) I will be at the Ipswich Literature Festival from Sept 5th to the 13th, and also squeezing in a day at the Brisbane Writers' Festival on Sept 9th. Love to see you!
And if you can't make it in person, don't forget to check out Sheryl Gwyther's wonderful blog which, is ALMOST as nice as being there.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Book signings and author talks

For any Billie fans, I will be doing a book signing at Collins Book Store in Northland on Saturday 27th from 1pm until 2pm.
For anyone who'd like to hear me chat about Angel Creek, I will be at the Melbourne Writers Festival on Tues 30th, 10am at Art Play.
Lastly, if you'd like to hear Gabrielle Wang and I chatting about books, writing and just about anything you want really, we will be at the MWF on Wed 31 at 11.15am.
Hope to see some of you there!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Back on the road again...

Well, like many other children's authors, I am gearing up for several solid weeks of school talks around Melbourne and interstate, everywhere from Pakenham to Geelong, Ballarat to Ipswich. I love visiting schools, especially when I get to meet my young readers or test out my ideas on a ready audience, but I do find it exhausting. To me, giving 'author talks' is more like doing a performance, and at most schools I'll do three or four in a row. Often my audience is very young so to keep the littlies entertained I find myself contorting my voice and face into so many different expressions that by the end of the day my voice has diminished into a raspy squeak and even my face hurts and I am wondering how on earth Justine Clarke makes it look so easy.
There was a time when I was younger and more sprightly (in the Olden Days) when I seemed to have limitless energy and would do school talks all throughout the year, whenever my booking agency asked me to. However it eventually got to the stage where I was spending more time talking about what I do than actually getting it done, so now I try to limit my public speaking gigs to one solid block around Book Week and do them all in one go.
I also do this because I am finding it harder and harder to change gears from my outward extroverted performer self to that quiet introverted self I need to create. Sometimes, even if I know I have a public speaking event in a week I have set aside to work on a book, I can often sense an underlying hum of agitation that stops me from completely losing myself in my work.
Having said all this I am also terribly grateful for all my school bookings and public speaking gigs because for many years they have provided the butter to put on my family's bread. Those writing books that describe the 'perfect writing life' are quite laughable really: A log cabin in the woods, long uninterrupted days with a glass of red wine and an intelligent adult conversation in the evenings before settling back down to work. I can only suppose that these people have very rich patrons and definitely no children because I certainly don't know any writers who have that kind of life. Even the most 'successful' ones. In fact the most successful writers I know, men and women, have worked the hardest and often juggled all kinds of things to be able to create a writing space for themselves. These are the writers who inspire me the most.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Faber Academy Writing For Children

It's been hard to keep this to myself over the last few months but now everything has been confirmed I am able to share my exciting news.
Late last year The Faber Academy got in touch to see if I would be interested in teaching a course in Writing For Children. Even though I love teaching, I had recently given up my position at RMIT to spend more time on my own work, so I admit at first I was a little reluctant to commit myself to more teaching so soon. But after doing a little google-work and seeing all their other fabulous creative writing courses held in exotic locations led by jaw-droppingly impressive writers, my initial hesitation quickly faded.
The course will begin in February next year and will run for three months at the fabulous Donkey Wheel House (pictured - check out the link to see the great stuff they do). It's going to be a great course, lots fun, lots of reading and lots of workshopping, with guest speakers and excursions and lots of great discussions about kids lit. I can't wait!
Click here for all the course information and details on the application process.