Reasons to Love Adelaide

  • gorgeous old stone buildings earthed in charm and character. Sometimes it was like stepping back in time.
  • the walks – so many lovely walks – through city streets, and around parks and city walking trails
  • bushwalking and koala spotting – in the wild!

    When your friend wants a photo with a koala … and it won’t come down from the tree!

  • autumn leaves – tree bones and lacework in the sky (We don’t have autumn leaves in CQ.)
  • beautiful weather – and heating on cooler days. (Bliss!)
  • metropolitan sights and eats –with country hospitality
  • time with the Adelaide kidlit community – which is every bit as supportive and FUN as I had imagined. So much laughter. LOVED!
  • critique sessions with Katrina Germein and Janeen Brian. (So valuable!)
  • meeting with Little Book Press, who are doing amazing things to promote literacy
  • bookshop visits
  • book club dinner at Glenelg
  • author visits at Victor Harbor (4 days) and Walford Anglican (1 day) – affirming to introduce new activities and have them so enthusiastically received.
  • exploring Victor Harbor – including a visit to the Coorong, where Storm Boy was set and filmed. Super-special, thank-you Sarah!

Nostalgia washing over me, in Storm Boy country – inspiration for the legendary Colin Thiele.

I wrote. Lots! Though nowhere near as much as some preceding May Gibbs Fellows. There’s a Fellows Journal in the Burrow that we all contribute to, and I must confess, the word counts of some Fellows had me a wee-bit intimidated for the first few days. But then I gave myself permission to polish and perfect as I go, as is my process. One day I took 7hours to write 49 words – but that was a particularly challenging poem! (Writing a non-fiction verse novel makes many poems particularly challenging! Which is half the fun. 🙂 )

For the first two weeks I worked on my historical NF verse novel about an early scientific expedition to Antarctica. That story hooked me the moment I heard it (whilst on a ship enroute to the Antarctic Peninsular)  – and the more I write, the more I love it. I added 3,550 words (more in draft stage still – but I only count polished words dropped into my WIP) to bring my word count over 10,000wrds, and am so excited about this manuscript! Having worked more on this since I’ve returned home, it now totals almost 11,000wrds.

Some of the lunchtime poets! Gotta love kids who come back voluntarily for poetry!

The last week of my Fellowship I was focused on picture books – revising and polishing a number of manuscripts, critiquing with two writing buddies, writing submissions, researching publishers open for submissions and getting work out there! This was a more disjointed period – but valuable! (More ideas in the pot of inspiration, too.)

And finally, I worked on a poetry collection for children! Still not complete – but closer!

It was a productive, inspiring and affirming month! I was spoilt beyond belief and am exceedingly grateful to the May Gibbs Trust – and for the care and attention from the May Gibbs care team, who think of absolutely everything and are beautifully generous, each in their different way. I don’t think I have ever felt so nourished within my creative soul. Thank-you.

I love Adelaide!

Could not get enough of those LEAVES!

I posted more pics to Instagram, under #MGCTF – when I remembered the hashtag!

This post is a part of the Poetry Friday link-up around the blogosphere. You’ll find more poetry posts at  Michelle Kogan‘s blog – where you’re sure to get double the creativity with words and art! Thank-you Michelle.

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Feasting on Poetry

Oh the things that I have done since cracking open that door of opportunity in my previous post. I hadn’t planned to fall silent – rather, had planned to blog often! But once I started on my May Gibbs Creative Time Fellowship, I threw myself unreservedly into the myriad of opportunities … and just lived in the moment! Four whole weeks of writing (poetry!!) bliss! I can’t wait to get my head and blog organised, and share some highlights with you!

I returned Wednesday – and presented an online Poetry Workshop on Thursday, as a part of the Ipswich Poetry Feast, with fifteen schools across Queensland taking part – plus the Brisbane School of Distance Education. I’m hoping there are lots of young poets inspired to put pen to paper after that. There is nothing quite like purpose and opportunity to inspire writing – and this great International Poetry Competition certainly provides that! (More information and entry forms here.)

This week I ‘discovered’ (thank you Libby) this wonderful 7 minute documentary about Dorothea Mackellar, one of Australia’s most esteemed early poets, and author of the stirring poem, My Country.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror  –
The wide brown land for me!

You can (and should!) read the full poem here– which includes the first verse, too. 🙂

And I am sure you will find Libby Hathorn’s documentary fascinating.

Happy PoetryFriday. Enjoy! You’ll find more poetry posts at https://karenedmisten.blogspot.com – including ‘Sustenance’, a beautiful tribute to Karen’s husband – and marriage. Thank-you Karen!

Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival

During April I was involved with the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival – which would have to be up there as one of the biggest children’s festivals on earth. SCRF2018 was a fantastical, fun and sometimes frenzied (in the best possible way) celebration of creativity in all forms, and it was an incredible experience to be involved with! No matter how I explain it, (or how many pics I collage) you won’t be able to imagine the enormity of it, or the complete and utter w-O-w factor … but here are a few pics that might convey something of the festive feeling … or at least, my little poetry-part of it. Continue reading

Brisbane in February

I will be in Brisbane during February – doing the author thing; school and bookshop visits, catching up with writing peeps and publishers, writing … and all sorts of good things!

If you’re a principal/teacher/librarian interested in a school visit, I still have spaces available. More information here; Bookings Open 2018.

I will be conducting a workshop and Q&A session for teachers and teacher-librarians at Riverbend Books on Friday evening, 16th February, with specific activities to engage students across ages and curriculum areas. For more information, phone: 07 3899 8555, or email: info@riverbendbooks.com.au.

If you’re a budding young poet, you can join me for a poetry workshop at Where The Wild Things Are Bookshop on Saturday, 17th February. Make a plane that is powered by words. Use scissors and glue to create poetry, then hunt for treasure in the Avid Reader’s garden. Tickets are $15, which includes your own copy of Too Many Friends, and all workshop materials. For more information, or to make a Booking, click the link; Kids’ Poetry Workshop Event, or phone: (07) 3255 3987.

Looking forward to finding myself in yet another instalment of the Country Girl Meets City adventure series. Mayhaps you’ll join me. 😉

 

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Going Places With Books

It’s Book Week in Australia. A celebration of children’s books and children INTO books, as we ‘Escape to Everywhere’. Here are some things that had me smiling this week.

Bundaberg Library kicked of Book Week with a hugely popular celebration of books. Wonderful to see parents engaging with their kids in the rich and creative activities. Kudos to Bundaberg Library staff and volunteers!

I was Quiz Master at the Inaugural Year 9/10 Readers Cup event, hosted by Gin Gin High School. Mrs Glenda George did a great job instigating and organising this. Congratulations to James Nash High School, Gympie, who took home the medallions. Winners were grinners – so that means all teams were winners! #smilesallround

The quickest of quick lunchtime poetry workshops (20mins) – was met with much enthusiasm – and wonderful results!

Enjoyed a morning of reading and book talk with kids at Coral Coast Christian School. Spot-on observations about bullying and friendships – and the importance of kind words. Lovely kids and staff.

Talked poetry with kids at Clermont State School via Blackboard online. Technology is a great thing – though truth be told, I much prefer engaging with kids face-to-face to gauge their reactions and understanding. But this was a wonderful way to make a poetry assessment task *real* for kids, as we analysed some of my poems, identifying purpose, audience and literary devices employed. Great bunch of kids – and teachers!

Received a letter from a book character – in REAL LIFE! I was delighted to hear from Tahnee-in-Year-Two (like Tahnee in Too Many Friends) from Western Australia – and her Mum and Dad! Thanks to a ‘darling’ teacher for connecting us.

So of course I had to send some friends to Tahnee-in-Year-Two; a friend charm, a shape poem, and a template to write her own – and one for a friend, of course!

Met with my Text as Art buddy, Adrienne Williams, to chat about possibilities for our collaborative art installation as part of Crush Festival/Write Fest 2017. (Loving the retro gallery walls in our pic.) The #TextAsArt project will be on display in the Bundaberg city precinct, Bourbong St, for the first two weeks in October. Yay!

I’m sure I’ve missed something – but I’ve probably consumed enough of your time (and megs!) already. Hoping that you’ve enjoyed a snippet of my week and my world – and even caught a glimpse or two of my words. The week of wonderful will close on Saturday, with Let’s Go ‘Boating’ Under the Bridge, a free community event which promises to be interactive, imaginative and a whole lot of fun, inspired by the book, ‘Who Sank the Boat’, by Pamela Allen. More information at widebaykids.com.au. If you live anywhere near Bundaberg, you should be there!

How wonderful to celebrate a love of books and story with others. And a love of poetry! It’s Poetry Friday worldwide, and Jone’s collecting links so Check It Out! (Thanks, Jone.) Next week it’s my turn to host the #PoetryFriday round-up. Eeeep! Guess I’d better make sure I get that linky thing working – and hope to see you here, then! 🙂

I knew I would forget something… and I did! How could I forget this exciting news?!

I’m thrilled to share that I’ve been awarded a May Gibbs Literature Trust Creative Time Fellowship in 2018 – to spend 1 month in Adelaide working on some poetry projects. Sooooo excited about this! I’ll be sneaking in just before the winter freeze. (I hope!!) Huge thank-you to the MGLT for their faith in my projects.

Book Week Costumes

Book Week is this week – and if you’re anything like me, you’re probably just starting to think about costumes. Don’t panic! I’ve got your covered, with quick and EASY ideas for each of my verse novels. That gives you more time to do what we all love best, right? READ!!

Enjoy! 😀

Running out of time and in a spin? Shaun and Toby can help you get On Track! Mohawk optional – or DIY with own hair.

Don’t have a discus? Don’t worry! Two plastic plates are perfect. Or a round lid. Or a foam/cardboard circle.

Is this cheating? For simple, easy Book Week costumes? Personally I’m loving the cardboard cutout friend silhouettes.

If Book Week has crept up like a sly wolf, mask your panic with a #DIY mask. Click the pink to go direct to the templates.

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Bookings Open – 2018

Poetry inspires creativity and builds writing muscles that flex across all curriculum areas and genres. A passionate and diverse poet and children’s author, I have an ever-increasing bag of tricks to share with your staff and students – primary and secondary. If your school is considering an author visit, register your interest below.

Student poetry workshops involve fun activities that enable wordplay – and success for all students.

Staff poetry workshop equip teachers with easy take-away activities to use in their classrooms – across curriculum areas and grades.

A Celebration of Friends incorporates activities inspired by ‘Too Many Friends’, blending DIY toys with creative wordplay. Make a palm snake, create a paper chain of poetry friends, power a plane with words, or create a triple twirl word swirl.

During author talks, I share what inspired and shaped my stories, and how I turn reality into fiction. Content varies dependent on the age group, touching on topics of bullying, friendship, sibling rivalry, sporting excellence, identity, self-worth, rural living, a glimpse at Antarctica, and creative things kids can do without a TV!

As a trained teacher and former literacy co-ordinator, working in a P-10 context, I am familiar with the demands of the Australian Curriculum, and the NAPLAN Reading and Writing assessment tasks. My goal is to engage students to play with words and be creative!

I have five days available in Brisbane, February 12 – 17, 2018. ASA Rates for Author Visits are set to rise for 2018 – so book before December 2017 to secure your visit at current prices.

Complete the form below to to express your interest, and inspire your staff and students in the new school year. Other enquiries also welcome. 

More information: Author Talks

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Brisbane Booking

I will be in Brisbane during the first week of August for author visits – and I have one day still available! I offer author talks and poetry workshops, for primary and secondary students – and staff.

“If you are a Brisbane school, I can highly recommend Kat for an author visit.” (Kim Yeomans)

Read Kim Yeomans’ teacher-librarian blog about my May visit to St Martins, in Melbourne.

More information under my Author Talks tab. I’d love to talk creativity and kindness with your class.

Melbourne Highlights

Wednesday: Caught up with my dee-lightful writing friend, Dee White – and her bunny! So lovely to stay with Dee and her family, and have lots of chats over ensuing days…

Thursday: Had a day of author talks at New Gisborne Primary School, where last year they decorated a classroom door as the cover of ‘Bully on the Bus’ – and this year there were lots of colourful hands… but I forgot to click a pic. But I did get a photo of the cupcakes! #thankyouKylie

Enjoyed lunch with some fabulous fun teachers – who wouldn’t normally make the time to eat out! #icouldrelate #butitwassolovely

Ran a staff professional development on poetry across the curriculum areas. I always love this session – and it didn’t disappoint!  Continue reading

Whirlwind Week of Wonderful

Today is Friday – which makes it a poetry day! … After a whole WEEK of wonderful poetry days!! You can catch the link-up at Reflections on the Teche, where Margaret is hosting us this week. Thank-you Margaret. 🙂

Last night I arrived home from an author tour in and around Melbourne – and I had a blast! Talk about eyes opened. That is one HUGE city! But I covered north and south and centre in a wonderful crammed week of school visits, bookshop workshop, kidlit conference, networking, research, friending and just the teensy-tiniest smidgen of sleeping!

And I ticked a few big boxes! Continue reading