Posts Tagged 'Simon Higgins'

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.

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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).

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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.

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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…

When Writers are Lost for Words

Rabbit - psychicI attended the Aurealis Awards on Saturday night, the annual Australian speculative fiction awards held in Brisbane.  The room was brimming with publishers, editors, agents, authors and wannabes like me.  It was a place where geeks of science fiction and fantasy were not afraid to speak out and embrace their geek-dom.  The alcohol might have helped.

But what really stayed with me about the night were the acceptance speeches.  As an aspiring writer, I often view authors as these rather enigmatic figures.  People blessed with an ability to express themselves intelligently in interviews, with market savvy and ever thoughtful things to say.  I suppose this probably comes from those we see most in the limelight, speaking about their craft in ways that makes everyone want to become a writer.

But it would seem even the most natural public speaker loses such skills when accepting an award.  I don’t think I have ever seen authors so humbled, touched, and yes … lost for words.  It was really quite endearing.  There were many brilliant children’s authors and illustrators represented on the night.  Shaun Tan won the illustrated book award for ‘Tales from outer Suburbia’, a surreal and poignant book exploring the Australian burbs.  Emily Rodda took out the children’s fiction award with ‘The Wizard of Rondo’ and Melinda Marchetta the young adult award for ‘Finnikin of the Rock’.  Isobelle Carmody was also up for an award, as was one of the hosts for the night, Simon Higgins (who I got to chat with, and is incredibly funny, down to earth, and clearly suited to writing his ninja novels).

We have several speculative fiction writers in my wider writing network, so I look forward to one day attending the awards in support of them as nominees…

 


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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