Posts Tagged 'David Stavanger'

Voices on the Coast (Part 1)

Ah the serenity. Sun. Surf. Sand. Seagulls. Palms. Sound luxurious? It was.

What it doesn’t sound like is the venue for a children’s literature festival, but then again – this isn’t just any festival. Voices on the Coast is the award winning super festival held annually on the sunshine coast, which has been providing a gamut of literary talks and workshops for school aged kids since 1996. This year I was lucky enough to be a speaker at the festival, and was incredibly spoilt on 3 accounts: I got to…

  1. spend time with inspiring kids and teens
  2. hang out with a bunch of other author / illustrators
  3. take some much needed time out scudding along the beach

L to R: Michael Bauer, David 'Ghostboy' Stavanger, Kate Forsyth and me

David and I headed for the coast last Sunday afternoon, and were joined at the festival by other creatives Michael BauerTristan BancksDeb AbelaPascalle BurtonKate ForsythSerena Geddes and Oliver Phommavanh (just to name a few). We were put right next door to the party room (Michael – I’m looking your way) where the first night’s festivities were held – a dinner and general get together for all the festival presenters to meet and greet (and drink … sensibly of course).

L to R: John Flanagan, Lili Wilkinson, Serena Geddes, Kelly Dunham (festival organiser), me and Rebecca Belfield Kennedy

The next two days were chock full of workshops, whiteboards, pens, pencils and school uniforms. The first day was for secondary students (where myself and a few other picture book writers were stolen away to a local junior school for some talks) and the second day was for primary students. Other authors were also involved in late night panels, adult writer workshops and a further day of touring around libraries across the hinterlands. Unfortunately I was only just recovering from a cold as I set out for the festival, so by the last 10 minutes of my final workshop I had absolutely no voice left (I believe I was emitting a hight pitched tone heard only by local dogs). The kids were very kind and quiet for me, and as an illustrator I could luckily rely on drawing rather than talking.

On the final afternoon David and I headed to the beach for some super juices to try to recoup

After it was all over we had one day before we had to return to Brisbane, so checked out some local markets (and spent some of our hard earned dollars – I might just be wearing a new dress below).

Eumundi markets: Me arguing with a sign over some name calling ... he started it

Next post I’ll break down the workshops I ran at the festival, including some funny Squishy pictures the kids and I drew and wacky monsters we created…

The Hill that Broke

I love small towns. They remind me of home, as I grew up in a small coastal town up in North Queensland called Mackay. There’s something that will always feel oddly comforting to me about wide quiet streets, kids riding bikes without helmets, dogs unchained and people with quick smiles and ready conversation. That’s how I felt in Broken Hill (NSW) where I recently spent a week stealing colour from the desert and writing in the sand.

We three in the local newspaper

I was there with my partner (in crime) David Stavanger, a talented writer and performance poet, and beautiful Melbourne based poet Matt Hetherington. We three were on a writing / illustrating residency funded by the local library, put up in a little white cottage on the north side of town.

Put simply, our time looked a bit like this:

Write, cook, eat, wander, write, scribble (in my case), sleep, meet locals, write, wonder, marvel at wide skies, scribble, laugh, drink milkshakes, write, talk writing, dream writing, eat writing, more sleep  –  basically writer’s heaven.

Matt and I looking like something out of a Kerouac novel

We each had projects we were currently working on, however part of the residency was also to develop some work based on our time in Broken Hill. We spent time meeting and mentoring local writers, doing interviews about our work and stealing librarian’s cars (for trips out into the desert and on milkshake seeking missions). The boys also did an incredible performance at a funky joint called The Palace Hotel, which has possibly the coolest front office in history (think taxidermy zoo crossed with British aristocracy chic) and ceilings covered in roman style frescos (done by an indigenous man who paid his stay with paintings).

I’ll do two more posts about our stay over the next few days, firstly about the things that inspired my writing and scribbling while in the broken hill, and lastly to post up some of the work I completed while there. In the meantime I’m back in bustling Brisvegas, missing the open skies and friendly laid back locals…

Bell's Milkbar, the Hill's infamous milkshake joint (would you believe David and I went 3 times in 6 days?)

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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