Here are the highlights from my 2012 adventures in the world of Children’s and Young Adult literature. Certainly, the day I awoke to discover I was half man, half dog will stay with me for some time.
|While not as life-changing as the dog thing, leading a group of brilliant
young writers on a beach story safari was fun.
|Wandering the USC grounds at LA Times Festival of Books was good.
(NB: That’s not me. They wouldn’t let me on the plane with my sword.)
|Seeing sessions with Judy Blume, Jack Gantos, John Green, Dame Julie Andrews, Jeff Kinney (pictured)
and other kid and YA lit legends.
|Catching up with my it’s yr life co-writer Tempany Deckert
who lives in the LA and has a fine canine companion named Cosmo.
|I spent lots of time with hardworking, energetic, dedicated and kooky librarians.|
|Eating a real-life American school lunch on a tray was memorable.
Not the taste of it so much as the lifelong dream realised.
|I loved seeing our Story Scrapbook beta app launched and watching kids everywhere
experimenting with it and giving lots of useful feedback for its development.
|Touring Tasmanian schools and visiting Hobart’s MONA gallery, one of the best in the world. (This is a waterfall dropping watery words gathered from the Web.)|
|Somerset Festival of Literature with high-energy audiences and authors like
James Roy, Oliver Phommavanh and Jacquie Harvey.
|Writing workshops have evolved!|
|Getting our short film, Soar, out there on SMH TV. It’ll be at the end of its distribution run in Jan
and we’ll make it available on Youtube.
|Discovering new technique of freewriting first draft material in Notes on
phone or a notepad while I walk on the beach. Doesn’t feel like work, but is.
And prevents my early death from being seated eight hours a day in front of a laptop.
|Sydney Writers Festival Primary School Days was a wild week.
Big audiences, some excellent authors to work alongside, great festival team, kids excited about
books and lots of time to write each morning.
|Seeing Jane Austen take on a Dalek.|
|Spending two weeks in Armidale on a residency, visiting schools, university
and being in a fresh place to write.
|Notepads. Filling notepads. I enjoyed my writing this year more than ever, I think.|
|Absolute highlight of 2012 for me was making a 3-minute video with this class that
inspired kids all over Australia to raise $20,000 to build a library in Cambodia through
Room to Read. I’m brainstorming ideas for 2013. Hope you can help!
Thanks to everyone I worked with this year – authors, kids, librarians, teachers, readers, co-writers, festival and publishing folk. I feel like a very lucky man to do this work. I hope you have a peaceful, creative and adventurous 2013.