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.

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.

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

How to Host an Author or Illustrator at Your School

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  • Read their books before the visit.
  • Talk about what makes this book different from other books you’ve read … and what makes this book special.
  • Talk about how the book makes you feel … and techniques the author and/or illustrator has used to achieve this.
  • Talk about the shape and placement of the words on the page.
  • Talk about what the illustrations bring to the story.
  • Do activities inspired by the book.
  • Write and illustrate your own text innovation.
  • Experiment with the style and medium that you think the illustrator may have used.
  • Create a book or a banner, to showcase student work.
  • Have your camera ready to take photos of your amazing kids with these very appreciative visitors.

Continue reading