Posts Tagged 'Mackay'

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?)


Sound Waves

As most of you know, while in Mackay for the Whitsunday Voices youth literature festival I was interviewed at the local radio station, ABC Tropical North. I got to have a chat with the delightful morning show host, Aaron Stevens, who was incredibly welcoming and enthusiastic. We talked all about the festival and the importance of books in children’s lives, and also discussed some of my work. If you’re prepared to lose 6 minutes of your life that you’ll never get back then feel free to listen below (by the way, the images are of the Mackay beach side suburb I grew up in):

Those astute listeners will have picked up on my clumsy plug for this blog…

Whitsunday Voices

The Mackay Festival of Arts is growing into a distinctive regional QLD presence.  This week it presents the annual Whitsunday Voices youth literature festival, which each year is attended by over 5,000 students.  2009 sees a stunning cast of authors and illustrators; people like Michael Gerard Bauer, John Marsden, Emily Rodda, Matt Ottley and Sally Rippin.

And me (*cheeky grin*). I’ve been invited to attend as an emerging author and illustrator, and will get the opportunity to be involved in the festival events and talk to a number of junior classes. The festival itself is held at my old school, so it will be an interesting experience standing up in front of kids in the very same classrooms I sat in as a student. Even some of my old teachers still work there. No doubt the experience of running into them in hallways will make me unconsciously duck away guiltily, feeling like a troublesome school girl again.

The festival itself runs on Thursday and Friday, but I’m in Mackay a day early. I had the fortune of being invited into the local ABC Tropical North studio to do an interview with the delightful morning show host, Aaron Stevens. It was lovely having the chance to speak about the great work the festival does in introducing a new generation of kids to books and reading, and to also be able to speak about my craft. While there I got to catch up with an old school friend, Melissa Maddison, whose dulcet tones present the news each day.

The Whitsunday Voices festival launch is tonight, and I’m all amped up for the beginning of what will be several days of writing and illustrating mayhem. I’m going in equipped with stories, art and even some little bookmarks I made for the kids I’ll be speaking to. Bring it on!


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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