I opened Newington College LitFest last week with a call to action for the boys to buy thousands of sausage sandwiches in support of girls’ education in the developing world through our Room to Read World Change Challenge. And buy them they did. The school raised $2200 towards our Challenge goal in a two-lunchtime barbecue marathon the likes of which has never previously been seen in an educational institution. (But don’t be daunted. Your school can join in, too! Our goal is 50 schools helping 50 girls by raising $365 each. Newington students helped six girls.)
I also shared a personal anecdote that was the basis for a story in the Tom Weekly books and the fest was off and running. Lots of great authors, funny and inspiring sessions, gossip in the green room and stories shared all over the school. Here are a few highlights of the fest for me…
Anton, my minder for the festival. What a legend. He’s a super-talented artist and, I hear, writer, and his security / bouncer credentials are second to none.
One of the best parts of a fest is catching up with writer and festival organiser friends and meeting new ones. Here (L to R): Zohab Khan, Ann Jagger, a man who was incredibly generous to Room to Read at assembly and whose name I will track down ASAP, me, Phillip Wilcox, Sabine Tanase, Mark Smith and Hulk DZN.
The extraordinary facade of one of the main buildings at Newington. Writer / performer Zohab Khan did a funny series of ‘You know your school fancy when…’ posts on his Insta stories during Newington. I think this building is one of those things that makes you know your school fancy.
With fellow Room to Read Writer-Ambassadors Oliver Phommavanh and Susanne Gervay in front of the epic sausage sizzle fundraiser line.
Student journalists produce a newspaper covering festival sessions every day of LitFest. It’s a great way to catch up on sessions that you missed.
With fest volunteers – parents who made the whole show run smoothly – and writers Liam Pieper and Kirsty Eagar.
In the background I’ve been noodling away on a new book. This notepad looks like it’s been to war.
It’s a great feeling when you’ve spent a few days sharing stories, catching up with writers and readers and you’re heading home, tired and happy. Thanks Newington College LitFest – especially Ann and Sabine – for another cracking festival!