Posts Tagged 'Queensland Writers Centre'

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.

Writerly Party

Who said writers are a shy, unsocial bunch? I can’t speak for all writerly types, but at the very least Queensland writers aren’t. Last Thursday the Queensland Writers Centre threw its annual Christmas party, the first one held at their new premises at the State Library, South Bank.

This night was especially exciting for me as it was also the launch of the 2011 program of workshops and masterclasses. For the first time I’ll be a part of it, presenting a workshop called Making Picture Books in August next year. For more info (and to see my grinning mug) check it out on the QWC’s webpage. Here’s a snippet from their site about what the workshop will cover:

Focusing on the principles of writing for children and the craft of creating picture books, as well as covering how to build your resume and submit work to publishers, Katherine Battersby will illustrate each concept using picture book examples drawing from both classic and modern Australian titles. Perfect for anyone with a children’s story in the making!

It was a great night, with much chit chat, wine, finger food and posing in lovely frocks (mainly the women). Unfortunately there was no dancing, as some rumour mongers would have you think (you know who you are – Kathleen I’m looking at you). See the photos below for evidence of the fun had:

Me, Simon Groth (author and new addition to QWC staff) & Jodi DeVantier (WQ Editor)

Me, David 'Ghostboy' Stavanger (poet and general trouble maker), Kathleen Noud (YA writer / rumour monger) & Peter Allert (illustrator)

Where I Write

I’ve spoken before about how you need space to write – both mental and physical. Having just moved interstate I’ve been working hard to carve out a new writing (and illustrating) space for myself. The mental space is tough, because in a way the stress needs to leech from my mind before that will really begin to happen, but the physical – now that’s something I can control. Wherever I am in the world, I have three favourite places to write:

1. My Office

Includes the following necessities:

  • Computer – place to put ideas
  • Art desk – place to put paint
  • Art shelves – place to put junk
  • Ergonomic chair – place to put butt

2. My Lounge

Must include:

  • Laptop for writing
  • Mug of hot chocolate (brain food)
  • Large squidgy couch for curling up on
  • Puppy for company and emotional support

3. My Cafe

Being new to Adelaide, I haven’t found one of these yet. But what I need from a cafe is the following:

  • Room to spread out my laptop and books (so I look sufficiently arty)
  • Staff I can get to know, so I don’t have to do small talk (“How hot is this weather?”)
  • Steady supply of hot chocolate (Jules – I’ll never find another like Litse!)

I don’t ask for much do I? But in reality I could and would write without any of these things. Because, like all writers, writing is just one of those things I must do. But I’m also human and I like my comforts, so I’ll work to get them if I can. How about you? If you want to blog about your own writing space, feel free to link to your post in the comments.

This post is part of the Queensland Writers Centre blog tour, hosted by the delightful Lisette Ogg over on The Empty Page Blog.

A Sentimental Moment

Rabbit - lonelyI love my local writer’s centre. They provided many ‘firsts’ for me. They were the first writing organisation I joined. In their wood paneled foyer, I first said out loud my deep down dream of wanting to be an author. They ran the first workshop I attended, where I started to believe that maybe I could do this. Their magazine informed me of the opportunity that lead to my first paid acceptance. Their e-mail bulletin advertised the competition that lead me to meet and sign with my agent. Not only have they paved the path for me, but they have been there to celebrate each of my steps along it.

Anyway, you may ask: why the sudden sentimental moment? Recent events have me reflecting on my journey more than usual (and the people who have played a big part in it). So I was touched when the lovely girls down at the Queensland Writers Centre asked me to join in their annual blog tour. Which I shall – by answering the following questions:

Where do your words come from?

My words ultimately come from the things that move me: things I see that make me laugh and make me cry. I’m an emotional sort of person. As a children’s writer I suppose my words also come from my childhood. I’m still fascinated by the way kids see the world – the way they’re so open to ideas and people and places. Often my stories come from an experience I had as a child, but I rarely recognise this until I stand back from my work.

Where did you grow up and where do you live now?

I grew up in a small coastal town called Mackay. I was one of those barefooted kids who spent their life on the beach. I still miss the smell of the salt and burnt sugarcane (sugar is a big Mackay industry). I now live in sunny Brisbane in the suburb of Ashgrove, which seems to be a mini hub for children’s writers. Must be something in the water.

What’s the first sentence/line of your latest work?

‘It’s said that the most haunted part of any town is its graveyard, but in Cain’s village it was the old church.’ It will be a mid-grade novel about black magic and bounty hunters and 17th century beasts. It’s a tale I’ve been wanting to write for a long time, but the first sentence only seeped into my mind the other day, bringing with it the world of the story. I’m now letting it simmer away a while before I delve into the first draft.

What piece of writing do you wish you had written?

The Book Thief. I love the way Markus Zusak plays with language. He uses words in utterly surprising ways that are so unique and perfect. I always remember that one of the characters is described as having ‘gangling blue eyes’. More recently I’ve fallen in love with Glenda Millard’s A Small Free Kiss in the Dark. Go read this book then come back and tell me how much you loved it.

What are you currently working towards?

I’ve only just received my first contract for a picture book I wrote and illustrated, which will be published by Viking in the US (an imprint of Penguin). I’ll be working with the lovely editorial team at Viking over the next while to make it the best it can be. In the meant time I’m also trying to look towards the future and keep working on my other picture books / novel projects. Ultimately I still feel like I’m working towards the same goal I always have – striving to be the best writer and illustrator I can be.

Complete this sentence: The future of the book is…

Ever evolving. I’m not sure where it will take us, but I’m excited that I get to be a part of that journey.

This post is part of the Queensland Writers Centre blog tour, happening October to December 2009. To follow the tour, visit Queensland Writers Centre’s blog The Empty Page.

Writers Party Too

So. Writing Festival season. Never have I been kept out so many long days and late nights in a row. Not even at uni (and that’s saying something). Yes – writers can indeed party too. So where did the whole shenanigan start? Let me tell you, my friend…

Ipswich Festival of Children’s Literature

Apart from the dramatic start to the Saturday (Jenny – our hearts go out to you) the weekend event was perfect. The setting was stunning (think heritage winery in the rolling hills), the talks were intimate and the speakers were enthusiastic. Anna Ciddor and Simon Higgins shared insights into researching historical fiction, Justin D’Ath and Brian Falkner gave tips for writing compelling action / adventures, Boori Pryor and Jan Ormerod shared the story of their unique collaboration on a picture book, then Boori joined Belinda Jeffrey and Michelle Witheyman-Crump to discuss their experience of race and culture in their lives and books. A highlight for me was the demanding role of playing a tree during one of Boori’s performances. I had feedback that I did an inspired job – I always knew I was destined for great things.

2009-09-15a

Me, Belinda Jeffrey, Sheryl Gwyther and Julie Nickerson

Queensland Writer’s Centre Cocktail Party

This event was to launch a new initiative by the QWC called Industry IQ. I’m constantly in awe of just how hard the QWC staff work and how much they put back into their writers. I will always remember them as the people who nurtured me into the writer I am today. Anyway, sentimentalities aside, it was also a rocking evening. Wined and dined on the rooftop deck of the Gallery of Modern Art, I got to meet many writers I admire and friends I had yet to meet face to face. My lovely agent was also there, as well as a number of other publishing professionals and high profile presenters from the festival itself. Afterwards a number of us kicked on to a modern restaurant in South Bank, where I sat and chatted with the lovely Kate Eltham (QWC CEO) and had a few quiet drinks with JJ Cooper (thriller writer and all round nice guy).

2009-09-15b

Karen Tyrrell, Ally Howard and I

Brisbane Writer’s Festival

Perfect sunny weather and an ideal location (the state library by the river at South Bank) boded well for this year’s festival. There were too many incredible children’s authors and illustrators talking at the festival to name, however some of them were Michael Bauer, Belinda Jeffrey, Tristan Banks, Richard Newsome, Sherryl Clark and James Moloney. Like many years, while I made it to a number of talks and panel discussions, some of my favourite times were running into other writers and sitting and chatting our way through the day.

Children and Young Adult Writer’s and Illustrator’s Conference

Or, for those who don’t like tongue tiers, the CYA conference. This yearly event is run by the energetic duo Tina Clark and Ally Howard, and for me is always a bit like a reunion (it’s attended by most of my nation wide network of writerly friends). Some favourite presentations at this year’s conference were Jackie French’s passionate opening speech, Meredith Costain’s talk on crafting picture books, and meeting the delightful Peter Carnavas, whose workshop on writing and illustrating picture books was the perfect end to the day. Afterwards a large group of us went out to dinner and had a few celebratory drinks, toasting to all those involved behind the scenes.

2009-09-15c

Too many people to name. Feel free to play 'guess the author'

So: 5 days of writing festival, 50 hours of writerly networking, 15 hours of writerly socialising and 0 hours of writing. I love irony. Now back to that novel redraft…


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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