Posts Tagged ‘Voices on the Coast’

Voices on the Sunshine Coast.jpg

Half the cast were hiding (including YA superstars Rebecca Lim, Nova Weeetman, Kirsty Eagar and Fleur Ferris), but here’s a glimpse of Voices’ fabulousness including Children’s Laureate Lee Hobbs, indigenous authors Lesley Williams, Ellen Van Neerven and photo bomber Greg Dreise, performance poet Phil Wilcox, the talented Janeen Bryan, Samantha Wheeler, Julie Fison, Serena Geddes, Lynette Noni, James Phelan, Shelley Davidow and Sarah Kinsella with festival uber-organiser Kelly Dunham, her ever sunny self in yellow. 🙂

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 …20160609_125234

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. 🙂





I found my underpants on the front lawn this morning. The puppy feigned innocence, a single striped sock lolling from his puppy chops.  Clearly, it was time to get my act together and unpack after my first ever youth literature festival.

I’ve been back four days from Voices on the Coast, run by Immanuel College at the University of the Sunshine Coast. My suitcase is still trailing t-shirts, jeans, tights and a lone striped sock onto the bedroom floor.

Most of the underpants have made their way to the laundry basket, after being rescued from puppy chops and his burgeoning stash under our dining room table.

If the organised fairy had come to my christening, my bag would be unpacked and repacked, ready for Thursday’s launch of Dust in Biloela (6pm Qld Heritage Park, formerly the Silo, for those in the vicinity).

My blog would already be posted, my child’s clothes neatly labelled for Sunday’s Canberra trip, the fridge stacked for my next absence, my letters posted opposing the removal of copyright protections on Australian books, three months worth of bookkeeping completed, and the BAS ready for lodgement on the 28th.

Instead, I’m unpacking my thoughts on youth literature festivals, knee-deep in chaos, luxuriating in the guilty pleasures of skiving off when there’s real work to be done.

So, in no particular order, five unforgettable moments from my first youth literature festival:

1. The little girls in the front row who had as much fun as I did at my primary school sessions; the two big boys who read out their work in my high school workshop.

2. Festival organiser Kelly Dunham’s amazing organisational skills (bet she doesn’t take four days to unpack a single suitcase) and her wonderful army of high school minders and trouble shooters that kept us all going.

3. David Stavanger aka Ghostboy’s electric opening night performance that exploded any preconceptions about poetry and poets.

4. The engagement and enthusiasm of the kids, their librarians and teachers, ratcheting up my own pleasure in talking books and writing, making me wonder who was learning more, me or them.

5. Michael Pryor asking me to to sign a copy of Dust for him. The man has published twenty books, has more than a million words in print and a purple velvet jacket to die for. He didn’t need to buy my book, but I’m still thrilled that he did.

Regrets? I have a few. I wish that I’d had time to sit in on the sessions run by the other presenters, including Shaun Tan, Maurice Gleitzman and cartoonist Brian Doyle. Brian can teach anyone to draw; next time it’s going to be me.

Next time, I’m schmoozing the organised fairy, getting her onside, sitting in on her sessions, winkling out her secrets. Next time, I’m not missing a thing.

Image_SchoolArts_HR22 June

International stage and screen luminary, the actor and playwright, Bille Brown will launch my novel Dust at Riverbend Books, Bulimba on 22 June.

Like me, Bille was born and bred in Biloela. Like Dust, his new play The School of Arts, is set in the landscape of our youth.

The good old Bilo network – kickin’ it for Queensland’s 150th anniversary!


25 June

TLC Books at Wynnum-Manly is hosting an author event to launch Dust to bayside book-lovers on Thursday 25 June from 6pm. For bookings: click here or phone 07 33935130.

14 July

Dust will also enjoy an industry launch as part of the opening night festivities for Voices on the Coast, the youth literature festival run by Immanuel College and the University of the Sunshine Coast. Click here for more details.