OWOD illustrator event – Brisbane

Last year I had the pleasure of facilitating Brisbane’s OWOD (One Word One Day) illustrator event. So I was very happy to be part of this year’s event. This time it was held at The Edge, State Library Queensland.


OWOD is a wonderful nationwide event run by the Australian Society of Authors (ASA) in partnership with the Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF) and Micador (supplier of all the art supplies). Funds are raised for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation from the sale of the art created at each OWOD event. On Wednesday 26 June it was Queensland’s turn with two groups participating on the day – Brisbane and Cairns.

The Edge overlooks the Brisbane river and it was such a beautiful day. However, give artists an array of delicious art supplies and they’ll be happy playing working indoors for hours.


I took lots of pics, especially the different stages of each artist’s evolving masterpiece.

Instead of posting lots of pics here, please click on the following link for the OWOD post and pics that I wrote for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrator’s (SCBWI) blog as six of the ten artists who participated at Brisbane’s OWOD 2013 event were SCBWI QLD members.

Here is the direct link:

And, if you haven’t already, could you please LIKE the OWOD Facebook page and ask all your friends to do so. The more support we can get on there, the more interest we can get for bidders.

I will keep you updated with any AUCTION news. In the meantime, please pass the word around about LIKING the facebook page. Though the OWOD promoted here is an Australian event, it is a wonderful fundraising opportunity to raise money for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.

Have an inspirational day!

ASA’s QLD Professional Development Coordinator (Honorary)

A Summer Renga – completed

In February this year I posted that I joined eight poets at Karawatha State Forest (Brisbane) for a summer ginko (haiku walk) with the talented poet Graham Nunn.

Then from that time till mid April we worked on a renga (collaborative poem) using the following form: [SU = summer; A = autumn; W = winter; SP = spring; Misc. = non-seasonal references -- usually about people or feelings or places; Love]

It was a great experience working with these talented poets with a diversity of voices. It certainly unearthed me from my comfort zone of writing humorous poetry for children. It helped stretch me as a poet of haiku (I’m still very much a novice) and Graham’s advice was always invaluable. I learnt so much from this experience.

Now it has been completed, Graham has posted the links to each quarter of the renga on his blog, Another Lost Shark. Incase you haven’t checked out the completed renga, just follow the direct links below:

So drum roll please

Snake Renga – written by/between: David Stavanger, Andy Smerdon, Cindy Keong, Katherine Battersby, Graham Nunn, Chris Lynch, Trish Reid, John Wainwright, Helen Ross (me) and Andrew Phillips

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4

As I was in Japan at the time that we were working on the final quarter, you will notice my Japanese inspired contribution (couldn’t help but be inspired by the beautiful cherry blossoms).

I think the renga has shaped up beautifully. And though I was always nervous when it was my turn to contribute, I still enjoyed the whole experience.

So thanks Graham, David, Andy, Cindy, Katherine, Chris, Trish, John and Andrew. You are all so inspirational.


A Summer renga

If you love haiku, hope you’ve had a chance to check out the links to the haiku written by the nine poets who recently gathered at Karawatha State Forest. David Stavenger’s haiku, ‘snake weather’, was voted the most resonant poem by the group on the day.

Since this fabulous summer ginko (haiku walk) the poets have  been working on a renga (collaborative poem) using the following form: [SU = summer; A = autumn; W = winter; SP = spring; Misc. = non-seasonal references -- usually about people or feelings or places; Love]

Drum roll please…

Starting off with David’s haiku, here is the first quarter written by/between: David Stavanger, Andy Smerdon, Cindy Keong, Katherine Battersby, Chris Lynch, Trish Reid, John Wainwright, Helen Ross (me) and Andrew Phillips

Snake Weather, a Summer renga: Link at:


I think it has shaped up beautifully.

State Library Qld Young Writers Award competition

The State Library Queensland runs an annual Young Writers Award competition.  If you know of any young writers who might be interested in entering, please pass this information onto them.

The short story competition is open to Queenslanders aged 18-25 with a cash prize of $2,000. The Young Writers Award winner, first runner-up and four highly commended entries each receive prize packs.

Got a way with words?

State Library of Queensland
Young Writers Award is now open!

If you’re 18 to 25 and live in Queensland,
Enter your short story today for a chance to win $2000.

   Entries close Friday 13 July.
Get the details here.

More information at:   http://www.slq.qld.gov.au/whats-on/awards/ywa

‘ONE WORD ONE DAY’ ASA’s Brisbane event

Before I begin with a write up of this fabulous event, I thought it best to include a snippet of what OWOD (ONE WORD ONE DAY) is all about – for those not familiar with it. Or, if you wish to cut to the chase, just click on a previous blog post.



ONE WORD ONE DAY is a national event occurring at different types around Australia.

At these events, a host of Australia’s best known and highly acclaimed artists create art for ONE WORD ONE DAY to raise funds for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF) to help disadvantaged kids in the remotest parts of Australia.

Artists have three hours to create a picture and the ASA will release the inspirational WORD that morning (if not before). “The topic for the painting is to be an inspirational word that will fire artists’ imaginations,” says Laurine Croasdale, manager of the One Word One Day event.

ABOUT the Indigenous Literacy Foundation

The Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF) aims to address literacy in remote communities across Australia. In the past three years it has sent more than 70,000 books to creches, women’s centres, schools, libraries, health and youth centres in the remotest parts of Australia. ILF also works closely with a small number of communities, translating books like The Very Hungry Caterpillar into local language and recording local stories. In 2011 the Foundation was enormously proud to publish 13 stories written by children from Warburton and Wyndham in WA and Wilcannia in NSW. Called The Naked Boy & the Crocodile, the stories capture the talent and lives of children.

Now for my write up of this fabulous day at ABC Brisbane studios (South Bank).

Drum roll please ………… On Friday 11 May 2012 the foyer of the ABC studios, South Bank (Brisbane) was a hive of quiet activity. This might be hard to imagine – nine talented artists, paints, crayons -   but yes, it was relatively ‘quiet’.  Sure, there was chatter and laughter, the tingle of art materials as the artists buzzed around the art trolley, the scraping of chairs on tiles, the patter of shoes, and the periodical snaps from cameras and filming equipment. But for most of the four hours, each artist was so absorbed in their creative zone that I felt the need be mother hen – making sure they had breaks and sugar fixes. Didn’t want an artist fainting into their paint pots.

The nine creative souls who quickly settled into their new surroundings (give them paper, paints, and brushes and watch their eyes light up) were Kerry Argent, Stephen Axelsen, Rebecca Berrett, Joanne Brooker, Lucia Masciullo, Lynn Priestley, Gregory Rogers, Angela Sunde and Peter Taylor.

Let’s meet the fabulous nine.

You will note that Brisbane’s OWOD word was ‘skidaddle.”

L to R:  Angela Sunde, Gregory Rogers, Kerry Argent, Stephen Axelsen, Lucia Masciullo (far right)

Front: Peter Taylor, Joanne Brooker (holding word), Lynn Priestley (showing back of ILF t-shirt),  Rebecca Berrett (slightly back),

There were quite a few visitors due to regular radio promotion, and the strategic placing of the artists’ chairs and tables in front of the foyer’s large windows, to lure in passer-bys. This didn’t appear to distract the artists.

For me, it was a wonderful opportunity to view the progression of each artist’s creation (seeing their illustrations slowly come to life) and the diversity in style. What also impressed me was the some artists used this opportunity to experiment with other mediums that they hadn’t used before. How brave!

Disguised as a roving reporter, I was intrigued to find out what each artist’s reaction was upon finding out that ‘skidaddle’ was their OWOD word.  (Note: There was a little discussion about the correct spelling of  ‘skidaddle’ (skedaddle). Though all artists interpreted the word to mean ‘fleeing’ or ‘just run away’, it was interesting to find out the variations in the mental pictures that first sprang to mind:

  • ‘Someone running away with something.’
  • ‘Heard the words, skid and waddle. Someone skidding through a puddle like a duck.’
  • ‘Upon discovering what it meant, realised movement was involved, so needed to draw someone running or moving fast.’
  • ‘The Flat Iron building in New York (cnr 23rd and Broadway).  It is at this intersection that police signal ‘skadoo’ (Get moving/On your way). So immediately thought of “run away”.’
  • ‘The thought of medieval time, with the words skatty;  skattering – something dashing off to safety.’
  • ‘Just run away.’
  • ‘OMG’ (I couldn’t print this artist’s exact expression). ‘Then running dogs.’
  • ‘Taking flight. Thought of a mixture of skate boarding, with a humorous picture of animals skate boarding, then fleeing.’
  • ‘Was hoping for a noun. Initially thought, “How could I possibly draw to that?” Then got an idea and all was well.’

And to conclude my roving reporter impersonation, each artist was invited to offer words of inspiration to children – in relation to art:

‘They are born artists and all they have to do, is do it.  They have a natural instinct so they don’t always have to go along with what others tell them [about how to draw]. Don’t judge yourself too harshly.’ (Joanne Brooker)

‘They have to play. They have to be free to draw something even if they think it is bad. Each time they draw something they improve.’ (Angela Sunde)

‘Unlike mathematics and some other subjects, in Art there are no errors, just a continuous experiment; no mistakes. So this is a good thing for children to remember when they draw – you just keep learning.’ (Lucia Masciullo)

Don’t ever lose your sense of play or the ability to play with ideas. The more playful you are the better. Children have an innate ability but tend to lose it as they get older. Try not to lose that sense of play. If you don’t have fun you aren’t going to achieve much.’ (Gregory Rogers)

‘Use nature as inspiration. For example, the words wind and rain, can be very inspirational as they can be interpreted in so many different ways. Kids can use nature as inspiration.’ (Peter Taylor)

‘Don’t stop. Copy. Enjoy yourself!  Don’t worry about drawing realistically. Try to lighten up. Draw lightly and easily to begin with.’ (Stephen Axelsen)

Paint with your heart.’ (Lynn Priestley)

‘I am a fan of drawing constantly and drawing from life, if possible. As a child I was drawing all the time as we didn’t have a TV. Once you develop really good drawing and observation skills you can go onto other mediums.’ (Kerry Argent)

‘Practise every day until you is really good at it. And read a lot.’  (Rebecca Berrett)

What wonderful words of wisdom.

And what about the finished art?

Back row L to R:  Gregory Rogers, Stephen Axelsen, Peter Taylor, Joanne Brooker, Lynn Priestley

Front row L to R:  Angela Sunde, Kerry Argent, Rebecca Berrett, Lucia Masciullo

Well that’s about it in a nutshell. But before I skedaddle, some special ‘Thank-You’s’ are in order.

The ABC staff at South Bank were absolutely marvelous.  I arrived early to find Suzie Wilson, (Marketing Manager), Mark Bowling (State Director) and Glenn Costello busy setting up tables. Mark Bowling pleasantly surprised me when he announced that he had ordered a couple of trays of sandwiches for lunch.

I wish to also thank Lucia Masciullo who also assisted me on the day. Lucia helped greet the artists and was in charge of organising the art supplies.  Lucia also acted as ‘art protector’, keeping a watchful eye on the finished art work, making sure none skidaddled (skedaddled) out of the ABC’s foyer. Thanks also for sending off the finished art to ASA. Thanks Angela Sunde for assisting Lucia in the sorting out of the wonderful art materials.

A special thank you also to Stephen Axelsen, ‘the key man’. Without Stephen’s assistance during set up we would have been up the creek without a paddle.  Whilst the Micador art trolley was being set up, Lucia and I came to a standstill – no bolts to join the trolley together. Aaarrggghhhh!!!! This is where Stephen played a vital role in finding the bolts and allen key, and tightening the trolley. Thus the art supplies had a home for the day.

And thanks Laurine Croasdale (ASA’s Professional Development Officer) for being so organised and keeping me up to date with the day’s schedule.

A big thank you to the ABC’s cross media reporter, Emma Sykes who filmed the artists at ‘work’. Her ‘Artist TimeLapse: Skidaddle’ video can be found on ASA’s ‘One Word One Day’ FB page. It was also a pleasure to meet Suzy Wilson, Founder of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. (Note: I will be posting a direct link to this video tomorrow – so stay tuned!)

AND big hugs to all the nine artists. You were wonderful to ‘work’ with, and made my role of assisting you so very easy and enjoyable. Hope to see you at the next One Word One Day event.

Artists with Suzie Walker Marketing Manager (left) and Mark Bowling State Director ABC (right).

Far Left: Suzie Walker (ABC’s Marketing Manager)

2nd from far right .Mark Bowling (State Director)

Artists: Back: L to R:  Angela Sunde, Gregory Rogers, Stephen Axelsen, Kerry Argent, Rebecca Berrett

Front: L to R: Peter Taylor, Joanne Brooker, Lynn Priestley (holding the back of her ILF (Indigenous Literacy Foundation t-shirt) and Lucia Masciullo (far right).

Artists with Mark Bowling State Director ABC (far right)  & me (2nd from right) .

L to R:  Angela Sunde, Gregory Rogers, Kerry Argent, Stephen Axelsen, Lucia Masciullo

Front: Peter Taylor, Joanne Brooker (holding word), Lynn Priestley (showing back of ILF t-shirt),  Rebecca Berrett (slightly back),

Far Right:  Mark Bowling (ABC’s State Director), and Helen Ross (ASA’s Qld Professional Development coordinator)2nd from right.

Artists with Suzy Wilson (Founder of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation)

L to R: Gregory Rogers, Rebecca Berrett, Peter Taylor, Lynn Priestley, Angela Sunde, Joanne Brooker, Lucia Masciullo, Suzy Wilson (ILF founder), Kerry Argent and Stephen Axelsen

And the parting comment from all the artists was: “That was fun! When can we do that again?”

NB: Tomorrow I will be posting some more pics plus a direct link to Emma’s ‘Artist: TimeLapse: Skiddadle’ video.

 • Melbourne      Wednesday 14 March 2012 - completed
• Adelaide         Wednesday 11 April 2012   - completed
• Perth              Wednesday 18 April 2012   – completed
• Brisbane         Friday 11 May 2012             – completed
• Hobart            Wednesday 23 May 2012    – completed
• Darwin            Wednesday 6 June 2012
• Sydney           Wednesday 20 June 2012

And if you haven’t done so, could you please LIKE ASA’s OWOD FaceBook page. And ask all your Twitter, FaceBook et al followers to LIKEONE WORD ONE DAY.

Just click on:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/One-Word-One-Day/361742690527315 and Press LIKE. That’s all you need to do.

I now close with my own ‘skidaddle’ (skedaddle) creation. This was inspired by some of the artists’ comments upon discovering their OWOD word. My poem was created on the day whilst the artists were ‘hard at work’.


(Best read with slow dramatic flair. NB: The third last line is in reference to the expression, ‘Up the creek without a paddle.’)

Also, please come up for air after every fourth line – for some reason I am unable to add an extra space between each verse.

Oh my God!

What to draw?

It’s far too hard

My head’s now sore.

What does it mean?

How do I start?

I’m at a loss

But I looooooove my art.

(pause – light bulb moment)

Hey!   Hang on now!

Just like rain

Ideas have flooded

Into my brain

I no longer feel

I’ve lost my paddle

Oh good! It’s time to start.

I’d best …….. ski…daddle.

©  Helen Ross 11 May 2012

A condensed version of this write up will appear in a forthcoming ASA newsletter.

Before you go!

Please drop by my blog tomorrow for more pictures, and links to Emma Sykes’ (ABC’s cross media reporter) Artists: Skidaddle TimeLapse video.

Pictures from ‘YSM and ISY’ ASA Illustrators get together (Brisbane).

On Friday 4 May the ASA (Australian Society of Authors) organised a National event for the artist/illustrator community, called ‘You Show Me Yours and I’ll Show You Mine.’ Illustrators around the country gathered at designated venues to show their portfolios, discuss current work, share news, and meet other illustrators from a range of genres including: botanical, picture book, comic and graphic novels.

Having the privilege of ‘facilitating’  the Brisbane get together at the lovely ‘The Gun Shop Cafe‘, West End, gave me the opportunity to meet some of the talent we have in Brisbane (although I had met a couple of the artists at prior events).  It also gave me the occasion to find out an illustrator’s perspective, especially in relation to the children’s book publishing industry and working with writers and publishers.

We all had a really fun time. Apart from sharing information, a lot of laughs bounced around the cafe’s courtyard. We started at 10.00 am and were supposed to finish around 12.00 but didn’t finish until nearly 2.00  p.m.

It was a wonderful opportunity for artists to meet ‘like-minded’ people and get out of their studios for a while. What I admired most was that these five gifted artists were so appreciative of each artist’s style.

So without further ado, here are some pictures of these talented Brisbane’s artists/illustrators/painters and their work. I have also included their websites so you can check out their other work, as well as find out a little bit more about them.

The artists:

From left to right: Peter Allert, Samantha Groenestyn (back), Ben Redlich, Joanne Brooker (back) and Lucia Masciullo (front right)

Below are just a few pictures of some of their art and published ‘work’.

     Meet Peter Allert (NB: Peter’s website is currently under construction)

Peter is a children’s book illustrator, and has had his first illustrated book published by Interactive Publications (IP Kidz).  Peter’s website is currently under construction. But his contact details are available at:www.peterallert.com.au

    Meet Lucia Masciullo

Lucia has established herself as a prominent illustrator in the field of children’s book illustration since she moved from Italy to Australia in 2007 (taken from her website). She is also co-founder of a new Digital Children’s Book Publishing Company.

More at: www.luciamasciullo.com

     Meet Samantha Groenestyn

Samantha is another talented artist. Samantha is currently studying towards an Advanced Diploma in Graphic Design at the Commercial Arts Training College, Brisbane, Australia. She is also studying traditional oil painting.

More info about Samantha at: http://www.illustratorsaustralia.com/portfolios/samantha_groenestyn OR http://www.samanthagroenestyn.com/

Meet Joanne Brooker

Joanne’s many awards include Best Artist at the Queensland Media Awards on four occasions, Best Artist, Best Caricaturist and Best Realistic Illustration at the Stanley awards for Media, NSW Journalist Best Artwork.

More about Joanne at: http://www.thebrookerstudio.com/

     Meet Ben Redlich

Ben is another talented artist and has illustrated a number of books, most being children’s books. He also enjoys painting, making puppets, and playing the banjolele.

You can find out more about Ben and check out some of his finished art, conceptual work, unpublished material, and other miscellaneous jobs at: http://benredlich.blogspot.com (http://benredlich.blogspot.com.au)

   That concludes the pictures. But if you haven’t done so, please check out the  websites of these wonderful illustrators. I have spent some time just perusing their online portfolio work. Just breathtaking.

A little favour – LIKE ‘ONE WORD ONE DAY’


Please note:  This post has been amended since it was first posted on 2 May 2012.


Please ask all your Twitter, FaceBook et al followers to LIKEONE WORD ONE DAY.

Just click on:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/One-Word-One-Day/361742690527315 and Press LIKE. That’s all you need to do.

For more information about this event, please scroll down to yesterday’s post.

OR click on: http://misshelenwrites.wordpress.com/2012/05/01/like-one-word-one-day-on-facebook/

The more support for this page, the more interest can be generated for bidders. This is a great fundraising event to raise money for books and art supplies for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF).

Please share these posts by clicking the appropriate symbols under the share button below.

Thanks so much.


2012 poetry challenges

There are so many people who loooove writing and reading poetry of all styles.

So thought I would just promote some blogs that I follow where the blogger/author/poet has created a 2012 poem writing challenge. These are in no particular order of importance – all are great.

Green Tea Haiku.

If you love Haiku please visit Green Tea Haiku.

Submissions for April are open now.

To find out submission details, and the topics for April and May, please visit:


Submissions can be emailed to jelli_beanzbooks@aol.com.au  Submissions close on the 28th of each month and issues will be available on the last day of each month.

Details of the online course ‘Mastering Haiku’ can be found at:   http://haikupoetry.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/green-tea-haiku-march.pdf

Haiku Haven created by John Malone


John has created a Haiku Haven page on his blog. This is a haven for haiku lovers to post their haiku. No competitions here, just a place to rest your haiku – and comment if you wish.

As John states: A haven is a place of shelter, a refuge, and this is what this blog will be: an asylum for the little poems that get lost amongst the big ones and are anyway rarely read in the dominant world of prose.

John is building up quite a nice gallery of haiku

The Poetry Challenge

Corey Booth’s Friday Poetry Challenge.


Every two weeks Corey will be holding a contest called “The Poetry Challenge” which will let anyone who wants to get involved show off their poem writing abilities.

On the Friday Corey will post a title or theme of which the contestants must base their poem on. Contestants must then post their poems or the link to their poems in the comment section below the post. On the following Friday Corey will choose his favourite three and then ask his WordPress followers to pick their favourite poem.

More information at:


April’s Poem a Day Challenge – created by Robert Brewer

Poeming begins April 1 and runs through May 1 (to account for time differences in other parts of the world–and yes, poets all over the world participate).

The main purpose of the challenge is to write poems, but Robert will also choose his favourite poems of the month from poets who submit up to 5 poems by May 5 to his e-mail address (robert.brewer@fwmedia.com) with the subject line: My April PAD Submission. He will make selections by August 8, and they’ll be announced on his blog.

More info at:


OR via his website http://robertleebrewer.blogspot.com.au/

No doubt there are oodles of other on-line poetry challenges out there, but these are a start. The first three are run by fellow Australian poets. There are some lovely poems published on these sites.

Haiku poetry online

Apart from the above blogs promoting other poets to ‘hang’ their poems on their blogs, there are of course many poets who publish their own beautiful haiku and other poetic styles on their sites.  Beautiful photographs accompany many of these. These are just a few poets

Graham Nunn’s blog:  http://anotherlostshark.com/

Poetry by Gabrielle Bryden


Poetry by Cynthia Louise and Dean J Baker http://lesplaisirssimplesdelavie.wordpress.com/

AND if you know of any more, feel free to add  in the comment section.


If you live in Brisbane or nearby regions, you might want to share your poems with an appreciative audience at the monthly Speedpoets event. I have been there, and the audience is very supportive towards fellow poets. A great atmosphere.

More details at:


I hope you are having an inspirational 2012.

PaperGirl Brisbane – calling all ‘artists’ (not just Brisbane or Queensland)

Calling all poets, writers, lyricists, artists, photographers, comic writers ….. from anywhere in Australia.

The following contains amendments to the original post. Amendments are in italics.

I have just found out that PaperGirl Brisbane is very happy to accept submissions outside Brisbane (and Queensland for that matter).

You can email your submissions to: papergirlbne@hotmail.com

Any queries please contact Marc on 0416 204 832 or by email at marc@raracurio.com  If you live outside Australia, I suggest you contact them if you have any queries regarding submission.

I believe submissions close Thursday 2 February (afternoon).

What do they do? In a nutshell -

1. Collect artwork and writing

2. Exhibit all the submitted pieces of work.

Work will be exhibited this Friday 3 February 2012.

White Canvas Gallery
26 Church Street
Fortitude Valley QLD 4006

3. Deliver all the work to random people via bicycle.

All work will be rolled up and on the Saturday you can be one of the people who distributes the artwork to random people by bike! What a wonderful idea!

To find out more:

The following is taken from their website:

PaperGirl Brisbane is a cultural initiative which works to bridge the gap between the wider public of Brisbane, and the local artists and writers who live here. In the style of American paperboys, art and writing is collected from the local creative community, exhibited in a gallery, rolled up, and then distributed by bicycle to the random passers-by in Brisbane’s CBD.

Anyone who wishes to be involved is invited to participate, regardless of age, education, profession, gender, or location. Artworks accepted include drawings, photographs, text, pictures, stickers, posters – basically anything ‘creative’ and considered that can be rolled and distributed by bicycle.

Submission guidelines:

PaperGirl Brisbane encourages you to  submit as many contributions as you would like – in some cases artwork is reproduced to allow more people to receive your work.

There are no guidelines as to medium or quantity: originals, prints, photos, copies etc. are all acceptable forms of submissions. The only requirement is that the art be flexible enough to be rolled up. If you would like to receive credit, print your name on the back of your piece.

Work can be submitted to PaperGirl Brisbane through post, email or at their drop-off location.
Click on: http://www.papergirlbne.com/schedule/ for more information about submission deadline, drop offs and postal address, exhibition details, and other relevant  information.

I am submitting some of my work.


Also in Brisbane:

If you’re feeling like learning something about your health, Wednesday night (1 February) Green Earth Group are hosting a video viewing from 6pm at the Brisbane Square Library of the wonderful documentary, Forks over Knives.

For more details and to view the trailer see: http://greenearthday.net/events/events/84-green-earth-group-events-for-2012.html

Helen Ross writes supports  Brisbane’s artistic communities

September, a busy month of festivals and events

Well, what busy months August/September have been. The literacy world is a buzz in Brisbane, and other States, this time of the year, with so many festivals and events. Hard to keep track of everything at times.

I blogged last month about my time at the Queensland Poetry Festival on Sat 23 August; so the following is a short account of my movements from the end of August to date.

Sat 29 August

I helped my friend/neighbour, singer/songwriter/vivalavegan Leigh-Chantelle at Princess and Pirate Dress-Ups day at Albion, Brisbane. She has organised four events around North, South, East and West Brisbane from August till November 2009 as part of fundraising for Green Earth Festival in March 2010. The Princess and Pirate Dress-up days feature talented children’s entertainer, Renata, as well as a variety of activities for the children, such as  face painting, and sand painting.

Here are a couple of pics from the first Princess and Pirate dress up day.

bn1 (146)

 bn1 (151)

Renata is of course on the left, and Pirate Helen on the right.

Mon 31 Aug

Unfortunately I could not take up an invitation to the launch of the Almeida Poetry collection at the  Australian Poetry Centre’s new home at the Victorian State Library, Melbourne.  I was going to read from my fun book of poetry, ‘Bubble Gum Trouble’ , which is now part of their collection.  But  “C’est la vie” - “Such is life”.

The Almeida Collection (Experimedia Section)  remains at the State Library to be used as an interactive resource for children and students.  To read more about the collection, and its books please visit: http://www.australianpoetrycentre.org.au/?page_id=494

However, I was able to attend the Monday night launch of the  Ipswich Festival of Children’s Literature at the beautiful Woodlands on Marburg, about 45 mins from Brisbane. (see prior blog posting about the mansion)

 It started  at 6.00 p.m. and it was a fabulous chance t0 network even though it was teeth chattering freezing whilst drinking champagne on the lawns.

The festival itself ran from Monday 31 August till Monday 7 September. I helped out at the SCBWI tent (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrat0rs) alongside Peter Taylor, QLD Co-ordinator of SCBWI, and writer/artist/editor Jennifer Poulter. Writer/Artist Lynelle Zita Westlake also had a tent with a display of her lovely books and illustrations. 

Due to other commitments I volunteered from the Wednesday – Friday, then returned on the Sunday to attend  some  wonderful sessions.  The weekdays consisted of a program for the schools, whilst the weekends were for writers/illustrators, and others interested in the writing and/or illustration world of children’s and YA books.

See previous blog about my time at the Ipswich Festival of Children’s Literature. Pictures include a couple of the lovely Book Garden bookshop set up in one of the comely rooms of the beautiful plantation style mansion of Woodlands on Marburg.


This is me.

Sat 5 September

Attended a RADF (Regional Arts Development Fund) 2009 Showcase Program at Logan Art Gallery, Logan Central, Brisbane from 11.00 a.m. - 2.30 p.m.

It was a chance to promote the RADF and find out about other Arts Programs that are in progress. Also there were brief presentations by RADF Grant recipients, of which I was one (in 2007).

 Easter Eggs Bunny 030

Easter Eggs Bunny 027

Two pics of me at the microphone.

Sat 12 September

CYA Later, Alligator (Children’s/Young Adult writers/illustrators conference).

A Quick CYA Conference 2009 rundown:

Congratulations to all the winners.  Well done!

Jackie French presented a forthright, hold no punches, but entertaining key note speech. Excellent masterclasses were conducted by Jackie French, Paul Collins, Colin Thompson, Meredith Costain, Mark Guthrie, Patrick J. Jones, Peter Carnavas and international author, Brian Falkner.  Workshops were also run as well as  a day of manuscript assessments/pitches with Leonie Tyle (Woolshed Press, Random House), Kristina Schulz (UQP), Paul Collins (Ford Street Publishing), Jacinta di Mase (Jacinta di Mase Management) and Dr David Reiter, (Editor and Director of  Interactive Press).

The conference was energised with networking aplenty, meeting familiar and new faces.

I enjoyed my first CYA conference; thought it a great success.  However, I nearly went into ‘panic attack’,  getting lost on the campus grounds of QUT, Kelvin Grove, and after  deciding  to follow my instincts finally stumbled across the conference doors, just in time for kick-off.  In the afternoon, my husband suddenly remembered RiverFire and phoned me; so I made tracks a little earlier than I had intended. Then, upon return to the bus station  I took the wrong turn and had to backtrack.    Leaving the conference early didn’t make too much difference as I was still stranded at the bus stop for at least 45 minutes, and all I could do was  ‘patiently’ watch overloaded buses scuttle past.

 BWF (Brisbane Writers’ Festival) 9 - 13 September

Thurs 10 Sept

From 9.00 a.m. – 12.00 p.m. I attended ‘Poetics’, an excellent workshop with poet/writer/lecturer, Dr Felicity Plunkett, followed by an entertaining hour in the Breezeway with Andy Griffiths, one of Australia’s funniest writers for children. The audience of children and teachers (and me)  just loved him.

Mon 14 Sept – Wed 16 Sept

Sydney School ‘Author Visits’

I was invited to a couple of lovely schools in the suburbs of Sydney where I promoted ‘Bubble Gum Trouble’ and conducted fun  poetry workshops for all levels. Had a fabulous time and was made to feel very welcome by the Principal, teachers and students of the schools.  The children created some fabulous poetry and the teachers were wonderful, allowing me ‘free rein’ in their classrooms. One Grade 6 student however was quite disappointed that my head didn’t explode when I inadvertently took off my very large hat.  (He had previously enquired as to why I wouldn’t take off my hat, to which I replied ‘My head will explode’.  Needless to say that he kept urging me to take the hat off).  Yes, one disappointed child.

Sat 19 September

Poetry Slam workshop

10.00 – 12.00 p.m. at Logan North Library with leading Queensland performance poets, David ‘Ghostboy’ Stavanger and Benna Zennabomb. What an excellent workshop.  I didn’t think I would enter the competition in the afternoon, but there I was signing up at 3.30 p.m.  Nearly chickened out, but so glad I didn’t.

Australian Poetry Slam  ’09 Competition

 Logan North Library 3 .30 p.m. sign up for competition entry,  4.00 – 6.15 p.m. event

This was the first time that workshops for under 18s and adults plus the Poetry Slam heat were held at Logan.  What a great turnout, so hopefully Logan will host another event for 2010. The winners on the day were very deserving but ‘good on’ everyone for participating.  I was even proud of myself for giving it a go.  It was such a supportive and energetic audience. Gave everyone such a lift, and helped us believe in ourselves and our own style of poetry.

Wed 23 September

Baci  Lounge (Books.Art.Coffee.Inc), Paddington, Brisbane QLD

Attended a cosy meeting from 6-8p.m. with ‘All Books Considered’ Group at the lovely Baci Lounge. Coffee, food, wine and books.  Mmm!  What a wonderful combination.

Peter Taylor, children’s author, calligrapher/writer and co-ordinator of SCBWI QLD branch gave a  two hour talk to the  group. The first half focussed on SCBWI and some promotion of ourselves and our books.  It was a lovely eclectic group of people and the common thread was a passion for books, whether as a reader, artist,  published or unpublished writer, book buyer or literary agent.   

For the second half of the session, Peter gave an enthralling history of books from 2000 BC to the iPhone. We were in awe of some of Peter’s collection. 

Well, that about wraps it up to date in regards to festival and events that I have attended. During this time I have also been busy fulfilling some small book orders (all orders greatly received), compiling marketing lists ready for Term 4 send out,  and also finished a couple of manuscripts under the guidance of Dr Virginia Lowe (www.createakidsbook.com.au).  ’10 Yellow Bananas’  is now ready for print, being published by Little Steps Publishing, Division of New Frontier.  Lovely, bright illustrations by Dee Texidor.  Have also received a lovely endorsement letter from Virginia to attach to a children’s picture book manuscript.  So keep fingers, toes and eyes crossed.

That’s a wrap.

May all your dreams come true.