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.

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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:

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).

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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 (  ’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.