Whitsunday Voices has just rocketed to the top of my list of favourite Youth Literature Festivals EVER.
Enthusiastic hordes of kids (nearly 6,000 over two days), an unruly mob of wacky funsters (er, I mean authors and illustrators), and a sold-out bookstore that more than eased the graphospasm pain from six frenetic signing sessions.
Whitsunday Voices made it look effortless with a top lineup of literary and musical talent and gifted minions catering to every whim of its fourteen resident authors, illustrators and musicians over the two days and nights of the festival.
And what a demanding mob we were. Especially Tony Flowers who insisted on fresh jelly beans in the green room each morning AND his sandwiches cut into circles, NOT rectangles, triangles or squares.
When he demanded chocolate biscuits decorated in his own inimitable cartooning style, we almost choked laughing – until Mandy Lawless and her nonpareil catering corp managed to come up with exactly that.
Now I know that Literature Festivals aren’t all about the food. But when you’re talking to up to 300 kids per session, a writer has NEEDS (some of which only occured to me when they wheeled in the freshly baked scones, and please, don’t get me started on that apple and date cake with caramelised coconut topping).
[Pauses and wipes dribble from keyboard]
Now, where where we? Oh, yes, literature. Um, have I mentioned this year’s awesome lineup?
A huge thank you to Whitsunday Anglican School for hosting such a marvellous event, to the Winchester Foundation for bringing rural and remote students to the Festival, to my fellow scribes, artists and performers for making it so much fun, and to the kids – you’re the best. Write on!