Posts Tagged ‘author visits’

Warrego River

It’s been more than 20 years since I stood on the banks of the Warrego.

Last time, I was in Charleville filming a documentary for Channel 7’s World Around Us series.

This time,  I was there for the inaugural St Mary’s Writer’s Festival, with the wonderful Michael Gerard Bauer, Cunnamulla legend, Uncle Herb Wharton, and local writers and illustrators Michelle Sheehan, Donna Reynolds and Majella Stapleton.

Teacher-librarian Dominique Gardiner did a stellar job mustering the troops from Charleville, Cunnamulla and Quilpie. And oh my, the stories we shared…crashing dinner

Not sure which I enjoyed most, the enthusiasm of the western kids and their teachers, or the after-school tour of the sights with big kid, Michael Bauer.

Not that I’m one to tell tales out of school ….actually, scratch that, I am.

Thank the high heavens that Charleville’s streets were built wide enough for the full turning circle of a twelve-bullock train and a fully loaded wool dray….because Mike and I spent a goodly portion of Monday afternoon in a borrowed car (thanks Dom!), doing ‘U-ees’ up and down the main street.

CB tractorFor me, it brought back fond memories of my teen years in Biloela doing ‘blockies’ round the clock. For Mike, it was a desperate attempt to find our way around a small, totally flat town (population 3,500) , which was laid out in convenient grid. And I was no help at all…

Eventually we found our way to the Vortex Guns, used to shoot explosives into the clouds in 1902 in an attempt to make it rain. “Will Charleville be the laughing stock or the envy of the world?’ asked a breathless editorial in the Charleville Bugle.

Neither as it turned out: the Vortex Guns failed to make it rain, but the drought did break of its own accord shortly afterwards.MGB steam engine

We toured the local courthouse courtesy of Magistrate Terry Gardiner, sat in the dock, and snuck into the judge’s chambers when he wasn’t there. 

We met a man with an eclectus parrot, and were charmed by Uncle Ernie Adams’ stories and didgeridoo playing at Alfred Street’s historic home before we flew out. 

IMAG0694in the dockAll told, a fabulous trip to the Mulga country.

Couldn’t ask for a better travelling companion than MGB… You can read his hilarious blog post on our trip by clicking on the following link: Blog 50: In which what happens in Charleville doesn’t stay in Charleville. | michael gerard bauer – author.

Let’s just hope it’s not a another twenty years before we get back there!MGB on banks of the Warrego

Oh for heaven’s sakes, what was I thinking???


Judging a Drongoes art competition at the local school seemed like such a great idea at the time…. but then in came more than a hundred entries from Grades One-to-Three at St Ambrose’s, Newmarket, and every dang one of them was as cute as a bug’s ear.

The Race, by Tessa, Year One

Jack vs Rocket Robson, by Tessa, Year One

Talk about diversity and depth of talent among our local 6-to-8 year olds. After listening to only two chapters from Drongoes , each child created a unique pictorial take on the story.

Some focused on the race between Jack and his arch-rival Rocket Robson….

Best mates, by Charlotte, Year Two

Best mates, by Charlotte, Year Two

others on the strong bond of mateship that sustained Jack and his best bud, Eric through their toughest times….

and more than a few were inspired by the asthmatic Eric’s nickname, Puff the Magic Dragon! P1000629

The special place where Jack went to be alone with his drongo ‘mates’ was one of the most beautifully depicted scenes …


Down the creek, by Luke, Year 3

…as were the drongoes that flit in at the end of the story to unexpectedly save the day.


Drongo by Charlotte, Year One

Congratulations – not only to Tessa and Charlotte in Year One, Charlotte (another one!) in Year Two, and Luke in Year Three – but to each and every one of the entrants from St Ambrose’s.

You are all winners in my book. 🙂P1000633


And the winners are...

And the winners are…

Man, oh man, I am so looking forward to putting my feet up this weekend.

(I even have it scheduled in: 7.30 pm this Saturday, 25 August, to help celebrate The Reading Hour as part of the National Year of Reading.)

Book Week is a huge month for authors – it’s our time to shine.

We drag ourselves away from the keyboard and out of the dacks of track, and into our silver writing sneakers to sashay our way through talks and workshops all over town.

The best bits are always the kids and their shiny bright ideas. Though I do have a soft spot for the lunch treats all those lovely librarians and teachers roll out for visiting authors (yes, Warrigal Road State School, I am talking about you. Homemade gyoza. Nom nom. Thank you, Mary and Maureen!)

My Book Week kicked off a couple of weeks ago, but it really hotted up this week and is showing no signs of easing till the end of the month.

Last Sunday, I had a fun day with my made-of-awesome Year-of-the-YA-novel students in at the Qld Writers Centre, followed by many fun days with the lovely girls at Moreton Bay College and the champion little writers in at Warrigal Road State School.

Next week, I’m looking forward to spending my days at All Hallows School, Calvary College’s Literature Day, and Mount Alvernia College. And of course, there’s also the wonderful Gus Gordon’s book launch to look forward to (Tuesday 28 August at 5pm at Riverbend Books for those little and big people who love picture books).

If you need me before 31 August, I’ll be hard to track down during the day. But at night, you need look no further than my couch. I’ll be assuming the position. Feet up. Reading a book.

Fancy being immortalised in print by having a character named after you?

How about swanning along to the Ultimate Girly High Tea with the likes of international best-selling author Kate Morton, Rebecca Sparrow, Caroline Overington and others?

Or a chance to win signed book packs, a book club or school visit from your favourite author, or a manuscript appraisal from a top literary agent or publisher?

You can win all this and more by jumping onboard Writers on Rafts, a fund-raising initiative of the Qld Writers Centre to benefit the Qld Premier’s Flood Relief Appeal.

More than 150 Australian authors including Morris Gleitzman, Melina Marchetta, Nick Earls, John Birmingham, Jessica Rudd, Tara Moss and Di Morrissey,  have donated prizes in every state in Australia.

I’ve already bought tickets for book packs and author visits for my kids’ schools.

Click here for your chance to win all that and more while benefiting victims of this summer’s disastrous floods.