Archive for the 'Literary Festival' Category

2014 Australian Speaking Tour

2012-01-26It may sound strange, but I’m only weeks away from an international tour … of my own country. It’s only really an international tour as it requires me to fly from Canada in order to do it. Either way, I have 7 wonderful weeks back in Australia and am so looking forward to visiting many amazing schools, being involved in various literary festivals and running workshops and mentoring sessions for adult writers and illustrators. I’ll also be sneaking in some writing time and even a bit of a holiday too.

If you’re interested in booking me as a speaker, I still have some days free and will be there from the 14th July through to the final week in August. I’ll mostly be based in Brisbane, but will also be travelling to Toowoomba, the Gold Coast, Melbourne and Mackay. If you’re an aspiring writer or illustrator, I’m also available to be booked as a mentor / editor through the Queensland Writers Centre Writer’s Surgery program (these are face to face appointments, however I have also done several via skype, which work really well too).

If you’d like to catch me, here’s where I’ll be:

JULY

  • Tues 15th – Fri 18th: Livewire, All Saints Anglican School (Gold Coast)
  • Mon 21st: St John Fisher College (Bracken Ridge)
  • Tues 22nd: Writer’s Surgery appointments, Queensland Writers Centre
  • Thurs 24th – Mon 28th: Melbourne
  • Tues 29th: Available for Writer’s Surgery appointments
  • Wed 30th & Thurs 31st: Kenmore South State School (Kenmore)

AUGUST

  • Fri 1st – Thurs 7th: Mackay
  • Sat 9th: Whispers Event, Queensland Writers Centre
  • Sun 10th: Illustrating Picture Books Workshop, Queensland Writers Centre
  • Mon 11th: Glennie School Literary Festival (Toowoomba)
  • Tues 12th / Wed 13th / Fri 15th: Available for Writer’s Surgery appointments
  • Thus 14th: Redeemer Lutheran College (Rochedale)
  • Sat 16th: Writing Workshop, Write Around Moreton Bay (Bribie Island)
  • Mon 18th: Fairholme College (Toowoomba)
  • Tues 19th: Redeemer Lutheran College – again! (Rochedale)
  • Wed 20th: Assisi Catholic College (Gold Coast)
  • Thurs 21st: Ashgrove Literary Festival (Ashgrove)
  • Fri 22nd: Strathpine State School (Strathpine)
  • Mon 25th: Online Literature Festival, Queensland State Library

In between you’ll likely find me in coffee shops, bookstores, weekend markets, by the river, on the beach and anywhere that houses friends and serves tea.

See you soon, Australia.

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I’m Back!

Yes, indeedy I am. I arrived home a few weeks ago and after a short detour (hopping off to Alice Springs for their writers festival) I have caught up on sleep, unpacked and am back into the swing of things. After two months away, ‘back into the swing of things’ really means that I have had to remember what it is to be a responsible adult, pay bills and relearn how to operate my vacuum cleaner.

I had such an amazing time overseas and I have a million things to blog about (Bologna! Seven Stories! European rabbits! New projects!) all of which I will do soon.

Oh, and I may have had a change of hair colour…

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Someone pointed out that it’s kind of carrot coloured. I think Squish would be proud.

Planes, Trains, Cars and Bounty Hunting (or an overseas trip)

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Yep, that about sums up the next seven weeks of my life. Three planes, two trains and over three thousand kms of road will take us through seven countries on a massive European adventure. At least I’m calling it an adventure – some would call it insanity, considering how much driving we’ll be doing on the wrong side of the road, but I wont let that deter me.

And the bounty I’m hunting? Ideas, inspiration, writerly knowledge, illustratorly experiences, oddities and a whole lot of mischief. Plus, of course, rabbits. I am always on the lookout for rabbits. I will hopefully capture a few European varieties (you can see the ones I captured on my last big trip to America here, including the strange pink demon rabbit pictured above).

While in Europe I will get to do some pretty amazing things as a writer and illustrator, including*:

  • Scotland: I’ll be spending nearly two weeks in Edinburgh and St Andrews and several small towns in between, researching a young adult novel that I’m writing which happens to be set there. So much to look forward to … seaside villages all scuddy with cliffs, gothic churches, crumbling castles, eavesdropping on local teens. But most of all just generally absorbing the feel of the place and letting the world of my story settle into my skin.
  • England: I’ll be doing a short residency at Seven Stories, the UKs national centre for children’s books. I’ll get to be a part of some amazing exhibitions they’re putting together, browse their archives of original literary artefacts, help run activities for young people and learn from their expert staff all about engaging children in the world of books.
  • Italy: I’ll be attending the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, the world’s leading children’s publishing event. I’ve had an image chosen for the second year running to be exhibited by the Australian Publisher’s Association Stand, and I’ll be featuring on their table doing live illustrations each day. Bologna also hosts an exhibition of the world’s leading illustrators, a bunch of professional development talks and is the years biggest networking event for creators, publishers and agents.
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My travelling visual diary

I can’t really tell you whether I’m excited or nervous or completely overwhelmed by it all. The feelings are quite indistinguishable. But either way it’s going to be amazing.

It’s not all work type stuff though. We’ll also be seeing my family in England, heading to Berlin for my man’s birthday, off to Venice just because, then driving in a meandering style (ie. we’ll likely get lost) down through Italy, southern France and into Spain.

Needless to say I may not be around much over the next two months. If you do see me here, make sure to shoo me away from the computer. I’ll likely have other things I should be doing … like freezing my little cotton tail off in the biggest cold snap in Europe since the 80s.

Now it’s time to get packing, if my pup will ever let me…

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* A significant part of this trip is generously supported by a career development grant from Arts Queensland.

Travel and Other Stuff

Apart from blogging recently about my book launches, I’ve been mostly absent from this blog since about August. And believe me, I’ve been experiencing some blogger’s guilt. So please see this post as a kind of peace offering. Or an apology. Or even a series of visual excuses as to why I haven’t had much time for blogging lately…

Book Week

A week all about celebrating children’s books, which started in Australia with the CBCA in 1945. This year the theme was ‘Champions Read’, and I got to visit some delightful schools in Brisbane and Toowoomba. These schools put on book fairs and parades and school wide decorations which must have taken weeks to put together. They went all out in showing their love of books, and they made Squish and I feel very welcome.

Look at all those Squish Rabbits! This school created a whole wall of amazing Squish creations in preparation for my visit

These are some of my favourites. There are ghostly Squish Rabbits, cranky ones and plenty of whimsical pondering ones

At this school all teachers and students dressed up as their favourite character from a book. This mother and son team are Squish and Twitch! (so cute)

One teacher discovered I liked stripes, and donated this hat from her book week costume. Think I’ll wear it at Woodford this year…

Cairns Trip

Not an official work trip for me, as I was just tagging along with my partner. But who wouldn’t find an excuse to escape to tropical Cairns? I took the chance to make it a bit of a writing retreat, and got several thousand words written on my latest work in progress (a young adult novel). After the work was done we were also lucky enough to score a trip out to Green Island…

We all live in a yellow submarine

Brisbane Writers Festival

It was my first year speaking at this amazing festival. I did a bunch of talks with grades 4-6 and a few writing and illustration workshops too. I had a ball, and got to meet so many amazing authors and illustrators.

Brisbane Writers Festival loves books

Write Around QLD / Cairns Writers Festival

Back to Cairns again, this time with Write Around QLD, a BWF initiative that takes authors and illustrators out to regional and remote schools in North Queensland. I was thrilled to be involved, however it didn’t quite go to plan … I may have gotten an awful tummy bug and spent most of the week in the hotel room … but I did get out to a few schools in the end. Next came the Cairns Tropical Writers Fest, where I spoke on a few panels and taught a picture book masterclass, as well as had the chance to meet many budding local writers. I love Cairns – it’s beautifully laid back and oh-so-friendly.

With Katrina Germain, a lovely and talented picture book author

David and I spent a funny night with Tim Ferguson, who was also on the festival bill (he’s not only a talented comic, but also really warm and generous)

Hurrah!

Not work related but worthy of a mention because … my little brother got married! We spent a stunning few days in Mt Tambourine and I got to be involved in the reception as the MC. As you can probably imagine, it was a suitably serious affair with no shenanigans what-so-ever…

Me and my little bro

Not sure who these clowns are…

Goondiwindi

David and I were invited out to Gundy (as the locals call it) to be involved in a festival through one of the schools. This was no small event – they had a massive assembly performance where all teachers and senior students performed skits, there was music and craft stalls and several days where artists were brought in to run talks and workshops. The whole shebang finished with a starlit night of poetry, where the kids performed the work they’d produced with David.

We knew we were getting close when massive cacti started cropping up along the road

We took pup with us and walked along the river each day

The kids and I created a Julia Gillard monster (their idea, not mine!)

Our wacky burger. When the kids had me adding all the farmyard animals, I decided it was necessary to add to the farmer too…

Kumon

I’d never heard of this amazing organisation until they contacted me. Kumon began in Japan but is now worldwide, and is a method of learning where kids are encouraged to advance their skills beyond what they’re learning at their schools. Some of the most exciting young minds in Australia are involved in Kumon, and each year they hold an awards ceremony for their highest achievers. I was invited as keynote speaker for their Brisbane conference and loved meeting all the enthusiastic learners.

They even provided me with a corsage – cute!

Talking about imagination and literacy

Home

But even with all the events and trips I’ve done and the amazing people I’ve met, the best thing about travel is arriving back home again…

Literary Festival Season

We have just entered literary festival season. Writers, usually quiet pyjama encrusted and tea toting creatures, suddenly start popping up all over the place. Books begin to grow on trees. Festivals bloom in cities like pubs (ie. one on every corner). It’s an exciting time of year.

So far I’m having a ball – I’ve met so many wonderful writers, teachers, librarians and little reading rabbits. These festivals are put together by an amazing group of people who love books and the kids who attend are wonderfully enthusiastic. On the flip side, sleep is suddenly hard to find and I’m living out of a suitcase, but that’s kind of an adventure in itself.

If you want to catch me over the next few months, I’ll be doing talks and workshops and readings at the following places:

  • Aug 8th: Voices on the Range, Toowoomba based youth literary festival
  • Aug 20th-24th: Book Week, at various school around Brisbane and Toowoomba
  • Sept 5th-9th: Brisbane Writers Festival, both WordPlay and the adult program
  • Sept 11th-13th: Write Around Qld, an amazing program organised by the BWF that tours children’s authors around regional Qld
  • Sept 14th-16th: Cairns Tropical Writers Festival, kid’s and adult program
  • Sept 29th: Brisbane launch of Brave Squish Rabbit, at Black Cat Books
  • Oct (date TBC): Melbourne launch of Brave Squish Rabbit
  • Oct 28th: Making Picture Books Workshop (for adults) through the QWC
  • Dec 27th-31st: Woodford Folk Festival, kid’s program

Here’s a photo diary of the festivals and such that I’ve been involved in this year that have already slipped by:

May: Darwin Writers Festival (WordStorm) where I did a number of school visits and adult writing workshops and didn’t get eaten by crocodiles

June: Out of the Box Festival, which celebrates children’s books in big circus tents by the Brisbane river

July: CYA Conference, for adult writers of children’s and YA lit. I’m posing with the delightful Penny Whitehouse in front of Craig Smith’s playful illo

July: Setting up for the Brisbane Square Library ‘Journey of a Book’ Exhibition

July: Squish Rabbit glass cabinet display at the Brisbane Square Library

July: Whitsunday Voices, Mackay youth literature festival. Dave Hackett did awesome caricatures for all the presenters (which were very accurate – I think he had secret intelligence on us all…)

July: Whitsunday Voices – life sized bird-monster I drew with the help of some creative kids in an illustration workshop

July: David and I with Peter Carnavas at the launch of his latest picture book, the delightful ‘The Children Who Loved Books’

But I wont be able to convince you it’s all just work. Here’s some evidence that relaxing happened too…

Beach and sunset in Darwin. There may also have been wine…

Post festival breakfast on my parent’s back deck in Mackay

Media Bunny and Word Play

This little bunny was out on the media trail earlier this week, hopping over to Eagle Junction Primary to meet some fellow book lovers. The kids were adorable and full of smiles, and we had lots of fun doing silly poses for the cameraman (the photo they chose was probably the most traditional).

It was all in the name of Word Play, the amazing kid’s stream at the Brisbane Writers Festival. The 2012 program launched this week and I’m thrilled to be involved. I first attended this amazing festival as a book lover, then as an aspiring book writer, and this year will be my first presenting as an actual real live author (woo). You can check out the program online here, and have a sneak peek at all the amazing children’s writers and illustrators who’ll be doing readings and workshops here. I have three talks and a workshop spread across the days, where I’ll be talking all about writing and ideas and characters, as well as doing some Squish Rabbit readings. The kids who attend might even get an early peek at Brave Squish Rabbit too.

The festival runs from 5th – 9th September on the sunny banks of the Brisbane river. Hope to see you there!

Adelaide Fringe Festival

It’s so easy to get caught up in the time warp of writing and drawing. To spend too long in my own mind with only my ideas for company. Yet I find in order to fuel my ideas I need to keep my creative well full, by getting out of my head and seeing what the creative world is up to – reading, watching, listening … and attending the Adelaide Fringe Festival.

At least, that was my latest creative adventure. I was lured there by my poetically mischievous partner, with promises of music and plays and cabaret and street art, not to mention great food and wine. I was also an Adelaidian for a short while myself, so it was a thrill to return to a city I know quite well – but this time as a tourist.

In the months earlier I put on my designer cap to help create some posters and postcards for David’s performances. Then of course we had to set out and do some poster spotting when we arrived…

Postcards for the band shows at the Spiegeltent (credit: Justin Leegwater's moth illustration and Matt Leasegang's photography)

'Ghostboy with Golden Virtues' posters around the Fringe

Postcards for David's solo show with Richard, at La Boheme (think velvet, cocktails and cheeky bar staff)

Posters spotted 'Live' in North Adelaide

It was an amazing but ridiculously busy week, and my only regret is that amongst my own work and all the fringe happenings I didn’t get to catch up with some of my favorite Adelaide writers. Next time I will have to make it a more social trip. One of the benefits of having an artist’s pass was that I could get into all the shows for free, so I saw a LOT of art while there…

Fringe Highlights:

  • Michael Workman’s one man play Mercy – The tale of a Cuban man set adrift on the high seas with nothing but a pile of cabbages. A funny, moving and at times achingly beautiful love story, full of heart. Great writing too. While watching it, my chest swelled with all the things I want to make as an artist
  • Sam Simmons’ About the Weather – Another one man play, but this time full of Sam’s mad quirk and sideways meanderings. Loved it
  • The Table – Four polish man transform what appears to be an everyday wooden dining table into an incredibly diverse instrument. Their music moves from amazing soundscapes and playful percussion to hard electro-rock. Completely unexpected (I literally had no idea what I was walking into!)
  • Soap – Acrobatics, opera, comedy and modern dance all happening in bath tubs. This was a lot of fun (warning: if you must sit in the front, wear a raincoat)
  • Drinking cider and dancing with the band at the artist’s Fringe Club (and getting home after 5am…)
  • Delicious pizza at a stall in the Garden of Unearthly Delights (best we’ve had since New York)

Other Highlights:

  • Our only day off spent catching the tram out to Glenelg where we flicked through records, drank milkshakes and danced on the beach
  • Visiting my old favourite eateries to find nothing had changed – still awesome food, great atmosphere and delightful staff
  • Walking into the city through the parks and along the river
  • Visiting the lovely people at The Little Big Book Club (more on this later…)

What I could have done without:

  • Late nights and early starts (this wee rabbit is not as spritely as she once was)
  • A prank gone wrong that had David and I believing we had been violently broken into (Richard, I’m looking at you)
  • Cold nights. VERY cold nights. Adelaide weather, you had prepared me for summer heat!
  • Returning home to the worst flu I’ve had in forever

All up though it was an amazing trip. And not only is my creative well full, but my belly is also full of South Australian delights. It seems I have both some writing and exercise ahead of me…

Hopped into Haigh's for some choc-pepermint frogs but bagged myself a bilby instead


About this Blog…

A blog of ramblings about the world of writing and illustrating for children, by an author / illustrator who might just have a thing for rabbits.

Katherine's picture books, 'Squish Rabbit' and 'Brave Squish Rabbit', are out with Viking (Penguin, US) and UQP (Australia). Please e-mail if you would like her to blog about something in particular.

All text & images  Katherine Battersby

Released Sept 2012:

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