Tags: Literature Festival, Voices on the Coast
Voices on the Coast rang out loud and strong this week with four-and-a-thousand school kids and more than thirty authors, illustrators, poets and performers converging on the Sunshine Coast University for Immanuel College’s 20th annual celebration of literature.
Thank the high heavens I have a voice that can be heard in the back paddock because it was put through its paces over two packed days of workshops, talks, and signings (and yes, a bit of after-hours goofing off with assorted creative types too).
I’ve had had a soft spot for Voices since the festival was kind enough to launch my debut novel Dust seven years ago and I do love to be invited back (and yes, that is a hint, Kelly!)
This year, I had fun judging the Short, Sharp and Snappy 50 word writing competition (after Festival Organiser Kelly Dunham did all the hard work shortlisting the 320 entries!)
To all the hundreds of kids (and smattering of keen adults) who came to my talks and workshops, thanks heaps, I loved sharing stories with you.
I know you came for the writing tips and left in love with my beagle, so this is for you …
Yup, the pup missed me.
But now Huggy has a new bed to curl up in, while I can go back to pounding out words on my keyboard. Both of us, where we belong.
Tags: Cloudland, Corinda State High, Museum of Brisbane, Robyn Stacey, This Writing Life
My standard reply is always ‘real life.’
It’s a handy catchall. Because inspiration is literally everywhere – in the lives we live, the paths we choose, the mistakes we make, and the people we encounter along the way …
Stir in all the experiences and art that we expose ourselves to and a healthy dose of imagination, and you have a rich base for the alchemy of ideas.
I wandered in for a quick heads up before tomorrow’s writing camp for Corinda State High students and found myself in a stunning topsy turvy world.
Stacey brings the outside in, projecting stunning city views into darkened rooms, using the ancient camera obscura technique.
She captures fleeting glimpses of lives, producing moments that resonate in a lush and surreal setting that literally turns Brisbane on its head.
Any one of her photographs could balloon into any number of stories given the prod of a healthy imagination.
Which is what I’ll be doing tomorrow with Year 7, 8 and 9 from Corinda State High: giving their imaginations a prod and seeing what stories they come up with inspired by Cloudland.
Tags: Henry Hoey Hobson, This Writing Life
So tell me, whaddaya think of the new look Henry Hoey Hobson?
Penguin Random House has shouted my adored middle child a brand new jacket and I couldn’t be happier.
‘Henry is an in-house favourite,’ says my lovely publisher Zoe Walton. ‘We wanted to give him a fresh new look that’s fun and grabs young readers’ attention.’
So brace yourself young readers, the rejacketed Henry Hoey Hobson is heading your way soon. Look for him in bookstores from 1 March.
Tags: Dear Blog, This Writing Life
‘The seven year itch, a time of potential crisis when you traditionally take stock of your relationship and decide whether it’s what you really want or not.’ Daily Mail Online
It’s exactly seven years since you first came into my life.
Back then, you were a bit shy, hesitant, and let’s be honest (we’ve known each other long enough to be candid), a trifle underwhelming.
I was an internet virgin. Nervously attending the kind of workshop that those in the know recommended to those without a clue (before their first publisher had their way with them).
I remember blushing when the workshop convener at the Qld Writers Centre suggested I google myself (I’d never done that before – and certainly not in a room full of strangers).
I found only two online references to myself (an article on dispute resolution dating back to the nineties, and a more current tuckshop roster for my kids’ primary school).
Clearly there was work to be done on developing this author’s platform. And apparently you were the blog that would do it for me.
The lovely convener that set us up, explained your needs and what I should do with your widgets, and somehow we survived our first awkward encounters.
Ironically, one of my first posts protested parallel importation of books – and seven years later, Aussie writers are fighting that battle again. (Thanks for providing the handy link to click if anyone wants to sign the Petition to save Australian literature).
Our blogging efforts went to the next level when I worked out that a bit of visual stimulation (and even some Elvis the Pelvis) could add a bit of fun. And suddenly there was no stopping us.
We went at it like rabbits. But after seven years, more than 200 posts, and 71,000 views from more than 10,000 visitors, I began to wonder if it might be time for a change.
I found myself making discrete inquiries to friends about their website designers. Late at night, I previewed other blog themes, colours and fonts. I fantasized about a more exciting website that could show me off, take me to new places, introduce me to new friends.
I went back through seven years of archives, trying to see how to do things better and a funny thing happened.
So you can scratch that seven year itch. The comfort of the tried and true is strong enough to keep us together.
Rest easy, dear blog, looks like you’re stuck with me for a good few years yet. Cxx
Tags: 17 December 2015, CBCA, Indigenous Literacy Foundation, The Great Holiday Book Swap, This Writing Life
This Thursday, I’ll be scooping up all the gold coins from Hubba Hubby’s desktop, grabbing an armful of books my kids have grown out of, and heading into the State Library of Queensland to help raise funds for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.
For the price of a gold coin, you can join me (and please do – I’d love to see you there!)
Festivities kick off at SLQ from 10.30am, Thursday 17 December, with a welcome to country by songwoman Maroochy Barambah.
The Honourable Leeanne Enoch, will read No Way Yirrikipayi!, a story of a hungry crocodile which was written and illustrated by the children of Milikapiti School on Melville Island in the Northern Territory with author Alison Lester, an ILF Ambassador. Sam Wagan Watson will read some of his poetry for children.
Bring as many books as you’d like to swap. Dedicate it to the next reader if you like. Or even buy new books donated by the Queensland Literary Awards, Queensland Writers Centre and the Children’s Book Council of Australia.
The funds raised will be used by the Indigenous Literacy Foundation to buy books for children in remote Indigenous communities.
The Foundation, a not-for-profit initiative of the Australian Book Industry, has raised nearly $3 million since its inception in 2004 and in the past three years has gifted over 85,000 books to more than 200 communities across Australia.
It’s a wonderful initiative that deserves our support. Hope to see you there on Thursday.
Tags: Books for Xmas, This reading life, This Writing Life
For the surfing fanatic in your life, you can’t go past William Finnegan’s Barbarian Days.
Hubba Hubby says it’s the best in its genre and (big call here) so well-written I’m gonna love it when he’s finished.
Nana’s insatiable lust for crime will be well-serviced this Xmas with Michael Robotham’s latest Life or Death.
It has already won the Crime Writers of America Gold Dagger Award and is regarded by many as his finest work yet.
A compelling thriller about a criminal’s escape from jail the day before his release and the remarkable hunt that ensues (read fast, Nana, ‘cos I have dibs on this one).
Got a hard-to-buy-for teen boy who’s read all the Cherubs and Percy Jacksons and isn’t sure where to go next?
Try him on Zeroes by YA super stars Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan and Deborah Biancotti.
Six kids, born in the Year 2000 with uncontrolled superpowers that make them more Zeroes than Heroes.
(Bonus here, if he likes it, there are more coming in the series.)
Our Miss Teen Queen is a girl who just wants to have fun and she knows what she wants this Xmas.
After steaming through Books One and Two in Ellie Marney’s Sherlockesque Every series, she already has the final book Every Move (Every, #3) on her wish list.
Just for fun, I also need to get her/someone/ anyone who grew up with Harry Potter, Carry On by Rainbow Rowell.
It’s a wickedly funny take on magic school (except with a gay central love/hate affair, vampires, and the worst Chosen One ever). Ridiculously good fun.
Uncle J can have Flesh Wounds by Richard Glover, because it’s funny, poignant and full of rollicking growing-up-in-the-seventies adventures.
(For those who think their family is weird, think again….)
And finally, for me, a book I’ve searched for fruitlessly over the years, and finally found….
A beautiful cloth-bound edition by Folio Books with full-colour plates and 328 pages of fencing, fighting, torture, poison, true love, revenge, giants, pain, death, passion and miracles.
Brimming with quotes, I’ll leave you with this one for Christmas:
“We’ll never survive!”
“Nonsense. You’re only saying that because no one ever has.”
― William Goldman,
Wishing you the happiest of Christmases and may you all find someone kind to share it with. Cx