Posts Tagged ‘John Danalis’

Not all the cool kids were at the Brisbane Writers Festival’s Word Play for young readers, writers and illustrators this week.

Some of us – er, I mean, them – took a mosey down Waterworks Road to the inaugural Mater Dei Writers Festival at Ashgrove, where they heard tall tales and true from award-winning authors like Michael Gerard Bauer, Narelle Oliver, John Danalis, Josie Montano, Julie Fison and of course, yours truly.

It was a fabulous end to Book Week for this little black duck. After quacking away to nearly two thousand students in three dozen sessions over the past three weeks, I was delighted to shake my tail feathers closer to home for my last official school visit of the term.

My littlest guy was in the audience, just one of the gorgeous Year 4-7 students from Mater Dei, St Ambrose’s, St Peter Chanel, St Finbarr’s, Holy Rosary, Windsor and St Joseph’s.

Thanks to Dominique Gardiner for organising what we all hope will become an annual event. Watch out BWF, MDWF is stealing your thunder!


Feels like I been everywhere, man – Biloela, Rockhampton, Bracken Ridge, Toowoomba, Newmarket, Springfield, Ascot, and Sunshine Coast (for an online festival)… I barely had time for a breather after Book Week and now Brisbane Writers Festival is upon us.

Word Play, the kick-ass program for kids and lovers of youth literature kicks off on Wednesday with a host of international, award-winning, and best-selling authors and illustrators including Kate Forsyth, Morris Gleitzman, John Danalis, Leigh Hobbs, Gabrielle Wang and Dave Hackett.

I’m there Wednesday and Thursday introducing Henry Hoey Hobson to Years 6-9, trying not to look like a naughty school girl with my scraped knees and band aids.

Seriously, I’ll be hobbling rather than hobnobbing, after not one, but two nana falls in the past week.

I tripped over my Birkencrocs on the way to school last week. Tore my tights and looked like a right scrag when I fronted up at St Margaret’s for my Book Week talks to Years Six and Seven.

Then I opened up the same knee a few days later, crash-tackling my runaway beagle after he rifled my visiting brother’s suitcase and stole his socks.

I came away with an egg on my forehead, bent glasses, a tear in my brand-new jeans and a sliced open knee.

The beagle, of course, got away with the socks.

This year’s  Book Week theme takes us Across the Story Bridge, (and yes I did conquer that demon fear of heights, after a communal neck rub and surprise de-lousing, courtesy of the naughty John Danalis).

Greg Rogers, pictured here working the kinks out of Narelle Oliver, went on to win Picture Book of the Year for The Hero of Little Street. Narelle’s Fox and Fine Feathers was an Honour Book in the same category.  For a complete list of CBCA Book of the Year Awards, click here.

The good folk from Story Bridge Adventure Climbs got us up and down without a mis-step. My monster fear of heights shrank back down to a pathetic little bogey that dogged me slightly on the see-through stairs, then disappeared completely when I stood at the top.

I could see to Stradbroke Island, I was higher than the city sky scrapers, I was Top of the World, Ma! Next time, I’m doing it at night. 😉

CBCA Book Week: Across the Story Bridge

We writers are a sadistic lot.

We know that true character is revealed under pressure, so we force our protagonists to confront their deepest fear, then we crush them, just to see what they’re made of.

Well, what goes round, comes round… I’m about to find out if there’s any iron in my own filings.

On August 13, look for me amongst the rigging of Brisbane’s Story Bridge, where I’ll be joining a shortlist of CBCA Notable Authors to promote this year’s Book Week theme, Across the Story Bridge.

I said yes to the climb, despite the fact that I’ve been backing away from precipices, anything higher than the teacup ride at the Ekka, and the windows of high rise, for more than thirty years.

My dislike of heights dates back to my teenage years when a cousin dangled me over the edge of London Bridge on Victoria’s Great Ocean Road (in the days before it collapsed into the sea).

‘Hysterical’ does not do justice to my reaction.

Years later, I suspected I might have a problem with heights when I froze on Ayers Rock … at the beginning of the chain.

I’m improving with the years, after giving abseiling a go, hurtling down the odd flying fox, and most recently, taking all the really big chair lifts on the ski fields of Niseko.

I figure August 13 will be my Acrophobic Graduation ceremony.

I will climb the Story Bridge, and finally kiss my fear of heights (or my ass) goodbye.

I’ve done some tough gigs in my time.

I’ve turned up to give a talk and found that the only other woman in the room was a topless waitress…

I’ve talked to Year Nine boys in thirty-five degree heat, last period on a Friday, after Phys Ed…

I’ve sat alone at an author signing table while every every child in the known universe lined up for Morris Gleitzman at the table next to me.

So, when I land a gig like the Gold Coast Literati, I feel honour-bound to publicly thank the high heavens (Gold Coast Libraries and organiser Maryanne Hyde, in particular) for such a wonderful event.

Literati was the bomb. Great food, convivial company, motivated and enthusiastic writers, illustrators, and audiences.

Highlights for me included:

Rosie Fitzgibbon, me and Katherine Howell at Gold Coast Literati

catching up with John Danalis, Katherine Howell, Karen Brooks and Belinda Jeffrey

meeting Rosie Fitzgibbon (who edited both Dust and Henry Hoey Hobson), and sitting in on her sister, Marion Halligan’s session with Sonia Orchard

meeting the gorgeous Alice Pung (who I would love to see in action; unfortunately her session with John Danalis coincided with mine and Belinda’s)…

sitting next to Garry Disher and Michael Robotham while the wickedly funny Shane Maloney discussed making his Murray Whelan books into movies: ‘I thought I’d just toss books over my shoulder and they’d run along behind me picking them up.’

Literati – what a pleasure, from start to finish. Thank you organisers, authors and audiences – Bravo! 🙂

“Thank you, Somerset Celebration of Literature, for four of the most joyous days of my writing life.” John Danalis, author of Riding the Black Cockatoo

“Missing you all. Sob.” Belinda Jeffrey, author of Brown Skin Blue

“Fabulous four days…Why can’t life be like that all the time??” Kate Constable, author of the Chanters of Tremaris trilogy

“Now that the music has stopped it seems a little embarrassing.” Gus Gordon, author and illustrator of 67 children’s books and newly crowned Dancing King of Somerset

“Sometimes the planets just align, don’t they. Nothing but magic…Couldn’t have hoped for a more meaningful, inspiring and wonderful four days.” Dave Hackett, author of ‘Unavoidable Family Outing’ series, and proud winner of the kids dinner performances.

“My little car kept forgetting to change gears in the hope that we might be able to go back for just a little longer.” Nette Hilton, author of Pyro Watson and the Hidden Treasure

“I touched Markus Zusak.” Chris Bongers, author of Dust

“Oh, it’s even better than I’d hoped.” Anthony Eaton, author of Daywards, the latest in his Darklands trilogy

“Best Somerset Festival ever. Thanks to all the organisers and the other presenters for a fantastic time.” James Roy, author of Anonymity Jones