Author Talks

Half of a children’s author’s life is spent at the desk and the other half is spent on the road meeting and interacting with the peeps that we write books for. We pry ourselves out of our garrets and actually speak and talk to real humans. I’ve spent a lot of the last three months touring around and writing on the road. Here it is in pics and stats.

The theme for Children’s Book Week was ‘Across the Story Bridge’ and I saw some amazing bridges in libraries. I was tempted to eat this one at St Aidan’s Brisbane.

Number of schools visited: 37
Number of kids visited: 7756 (I made this up but not far off.)
Number of kilometres travelled: 10342 (I made this up, too but close.)
Flights taken: 10
Enviro-guilt over flights and kms: Reasonably high.
Places Visited: Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, Toowoomba, Mackay, Sydney, Mudgee, Port Macquarie, Blue Mountains, Newcastle
Number of pieces of cake consumed at morning teas: 37
Kilograms gained: 33
Number of times I was asked in a session if I like pie: 2
Number of times I was asked how much cash I make: 4
Number of panels I got to be on with Thomas Keneally: 1 (woohoo)
Number of items lost along the way and posted by librarians to my next destination: 5

I spent Book Week in beautiful Brisbane visiting lots of schools.

This is at Wauchope Public School where I had a ball with super-creative kids coming up with lots of wacky story ideas. They live in a fine part of the world. (Pic: Annette McCudden)

I brainstormed a tonne of cool inventions and story-starters in the Mac Slater sessions.

In the holidays I ran a workshop with some excellent young writers at Beecroft’s amazing Children’s Bookshop. Paul MacDonald, the owner, is a forward-thinking, motivated man doing good things for kids’ literacy.

I made it along to the opening of the Brisbane Writers Festival to beat bongos with the audience. This pic is with WordPlay director Molly Palmer and UQP publicist Meredene Hill.

In downtime I took in a cool kids’ art exhibition at Sydney’s Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation in conjunction with Brisbane’s GOMA.

I wrote in motel rooms at night. Two deadlines looming!

This is stencilled on the skate ramp at Bondi Beach. Sometimes, in the whirlwind of touring, I felt a bit like this.

Coffee made it all better again.

The thing that really drove me, though, was the kindness and creativity of kids. I currently have this letter on my work-desk, reminding me of why I do what I do.


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