2012 Highlights

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.


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