Living on the Discovery Coast, I am perfectly placed for two great literary events; Bundaberg WriteFest and the Gladstone-based Curtis Coast Literary Carnivale. Both have had considerable impact on my writing career and I’ve heaps of reasons to give them both a plug!
Bundy WriteFest is organised by Sandy Curtis and her band of faithful volunteers. It is an outstanding one-day event for writers of all genres – for newbies and established writers. There really is something for everyone! (Take a peek at the 2010 day just gone and you’ll see what I mean.)
It was through a WriteFest interview that I acquired my agent, Sophie Hamley. And this year, I benefited from the expertise and enthusiasm of the delightful Jo Butler Commissioning Editor for Harper Collins Literary Fiction. That is on top of the many wonderful workshops I have attended that have honed my craft… and the networking (chattering!) that has fuelled my passion and kept me Determined! (It was at my first Bundy Writers’ event – in the days before it became WriteFest – that I heard Sandy Curtis talk about the need for Determination as a writer – one of the most important things for any writer to learn. It’s a tough business but stick with it!)
About 150 writers travel to Bundaberg each year for WriteFest – from Brisbane, Chinchilla, Rockhampton and other far-fetched places. It really is THAT good!
The Curtis Coast Literary Carnivale (CCLC) focuses on writing for children. It consists of a 3-day event that caters for children from Prep to Yr 12 – with adult sessions on a 4th day. There is a veritable feast of top-class, highly entertaining authors and illustrators from around Australia to engage children and adults with words and worlds of literature.
The first year I heard of the CCLC I booked my boys in for the children’s workshops, took them out of school for the day, and watched in amazement as a rainbow of children streamed through the twirling door and into the foyer of the CQU – buzzing with excitement! The second year, I took my class – and saw their faces radiating that same interest and enthusiasm. The third year I took my school – which was a mammoth effort but intensely satisfying!
It was an added bonus to launch my first book over the lunch break on one of those days, with oodles of visiting school kids to share the party.
This year we’re all booked to go again. Though it won’t be ‘my’ story we’re launching in the lunch break, but ‘our’ story.
In 2010 the CCLC committee instigated an online component and invited me to be involved. Through Net a Story I am mentoring 30 school groups across the region to write a fishy mystery – or 6. (I wrote a 250 word story starter – and 6 lots of 5 school groups are working to each write one chapter, thereby completing 6 different stories.)
More about that in another post. Soon…
I really am sitting pretty in the middle – and I will be forever grateful for all the tireless workers who bring these two quality events to our region. Both are brilliant for their opportunity to interact with writers (aspiring and published) who are passionate about the wonderful way that words play on the page.
Have you been involved in either of these great events?
Or do you have something similar happening near you?