Somerset CELEBRATION of Literature

The Somerset Festival of Children’s Literature was an extravagant celebration of literature by a whole school community, shared with a much wider community. It was a blast and I was thrilled to be involved in this wonderful event.

These pics don’t begin to capture the festive atmosphere or the fun had by all. But they do bring back wonderful memories for me.

Somerset Celebration

Throughout the course of the festival I was on a panel in an adult blogging seminar, conducted poetry workshops with upper primary students, talked to a range of grades about what inspires me to write and what shapes my writing, did a dramatic reading of ‘This is the Mud!’ with a group of pre-preppies (they were gorgeous – and so spontaneous!) and was involved in the student dinner, where groups were given a topic and had to present a 5-7minute performance on this theme by then end of the evening. (My group was so awesome, that, despite my involvement, they won! :) )

So many wonderful and varied activities throughout the time. The bonus being that through it all, I could have also fun with an awesome bunch of Aussie (plus Peter from over the Tasman) authors. And catch up with my lovely UQP publisher and editor. All on the beautiful Gold Coast, where we were pampered like royalty.

Thank-you to the many volunteers who willingly assisted throughout the festival, most especially my indispensable helper-elf, Vanessa, who was superb! (She was so efficient and involved in so many organisational aspects of the festival that I kept forgetting she was a student.) And huge accolades to the organising committee, for the wonderful vision, and their efforts to pull off such an impressive celebration!

As festival chairperson, Dr Michael Brohier said, ‘We enjoyed celebrating Book Me In and we can confidently say that it was among our most successful festivals. This year, we were visited by 56 schools with over 18,000 ticket sales during the three days.’

If you’ve never been to the Somerset Celebration of Literature… you’re missing out on something special!

Kat’s #PostItNotePoetry Collection

A little late, but better than never… This is a collage of my February #PostItNotePoetry collection. There are more than 28 – because some days I just wrote more, though I didn’t always share all of them via twitter. They’re not in any specific order – just randomly arranged to fit the windows of opportunity in the CollageIt program. (I had hoped you’d be able to read them, but even clicking on the image they still seem to be very small. Oops.)

#postitnotepoetryThanks to organiser Adam Byatt (@revhappiness) and all the other poets who joined in the fun and inspired with their unique brands of creativity. Great stuff!

You can peruse the month’s twitter #postitnotepoetry collection – from all participants here.

Celebrating Australia – with Lorraine Marwood

Lorraine Marwood is one of Australia’s great poets. It is always a privilege to read her works, and enlightening to hear her insights. With the release of Lorraine’s new book, ‘Celebrating Australia – a year in poetry’, I asked Lorraine what brings a collection of poems together – looking at the challenge of variety in poems, balanced with editorial expectations. This is Lorraine’s fourth poetry collection for children, so I think she’s well qualified to answer that question. :)

celebrating-australia Continue reading

One Minute Till Bedtime

Last year I was quite chuffed to be approached by U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate, Kenn Nesbitt, inviting me to submit poetry for consideration in an upcoming poetry anthology, One Minute Till Bedtime. That felt pretty momentous. -Users-KatApel-Desktop-Screenshots 2015-02-17 at 10.45.45 am

I was thrilled when Kenn then got in touch to say that two of my poems, ‘My Dad’ and ‘School Bus’ were selected for inclusion. I hadn’t expected that!

One Minute Till Bedtime will be published spring (in the USofA) 2016 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. It will be my first foray in to the American publishing market…

That’s pretty exciting. :)


Introducing a Character… Toby

-Users-KatApel-Desktop-Screenshots 2015-02-06 at 5.36.25 pm

Wise and wonderful Wendy Orr, tagged me for a blog post about one of my characters. She followed it up with that evil laugh – but when I skipped across and checked out her blog post on Nim, I was quite excited to be asked. What a great way to get a bit of perspective on your character! (Be sure to read Wendy’s post for lots of fascinating insights into Nim.)

But here I am. I’m ‘It’.  Continue reading

We’re On Track

Phew! What a hugely busy couple of months. Since signing the contract with UQP for my next verse novel we have been busybusyBUSY to get it out at its best for a May 27 release date. I don’t think I’ve ever written so many words under such immense pressure before.

When I subbed ‘On Track’ to UQP, it was a 12,000wrd verse novel. I knew it would need some development, but I also knew that UQP would offer feedback to highlight gaps and  maximise this story. I knew it would grow… and it did. I had no idea it would grow so much! I don’t think anyone else did, either. But once we started on the process, it just kept growing… and growing… and growing! This week it went off to typesetters, at 17,300wrds. That blows me away – because actually, that’s just a lot of words, fullstop for someone who used to get speed wobbles at 600wrds – and whose previous best was 7000wrds.

So, what have I learnt during this process? Most of it’s about me, as a writer. Continue reading