This is a log of the first week of my two week trip to Western Australia presenting writing workshops as part of The Literature Centre’s Talented Young Writers’ Programme.
Author’s Log: Star Date Sunday May 28.
Woke up dull and early Sunday morning. Departed Brisvegas 8.40am. Crossed the wide, brown land. Views from window confirm both width and browniness of Australian landmass. Arrived Perth WA approx five and a half hours later. My decision to fly rather than undertake the journey on foot seems totally vindicated.
Three hour wait at Perth airport before next flight to Albany. Spent the time eating, relaxing, reading and navel-gazing. Ceased navel-gazing after third warning from airport security that navel gazing must be limited to my own navel. What’s the fun in that?
Eventually joined at the airport by Lesley Reece – Founder and Director of the Fremantle Literature Centre (TLC), champion of Children’s Writing and Australian Children’s Authors for over twenty years, Order of Australia recipient and all-round remarkable woman. We fly to Albany arriving at 5.15pm.
After eating at a nearby Indian Restaurant, we call it a night. (Although to be fair, we probably weren’t the first ones to come up with that description.)
Author’s Log: Star Date Monday May 29.
Youth Literature Day at Great Southern Grammar. All day writing workshops with approx 60 Yr 9-12 students from various schools. Lovely kids. All goes well. Great way to start the week.
In the afternoon I walk around Albany town centre and down to the harbour. The water is like a mirror. Only wetter. And much more difficult to hang on a wall.
Author’s Log Star Date Tuesday May 30.
Second day of workshops at Great Southern Grammar. This time with around 110 Yr 6 – 8s from a variety of schools. Awesome kids. Great day.
Depart Albany by plane 5.40pm. Arrive Perth 6.50pm. Stay at Hotel near airport overnight.
Author’s Log: Star Date Wednesday May 31.
Leave Perth 7.00am. Fly to Geraldton . Arrive 8.00am.
At John Willcock College for a Young Writers’ Day with 45 Yr 6 students.
During the day I discover to my horror (but not surprise) that my ‘friend’ and fellow author Barry Jonsberg who has presented writing workshops with these same students a few months earlier has attempted to poison the kids’ minds against me by telling them that I ‘sucked’! BUT in a totally unexpected counter move, I somehow manage to turn the tables on him by actually ‘not sucking’!
As evidence of my suck-less status I’d like to table two short extract from the student feedback sheets.
Take that Baz! As you can see from the second comment it’s obvious that my talent can only be adequately encompassed by the use of double superlatives! From now on I will be referring to Barry as Mr Ninety-five Percent.
Once again the kids were beautiful and it was a pleasure to work with them.
At night I made Lesley Reece AM watch some of State of Origin 1.
It was the first time in her life Lesley had ever watched a Rugby League match. She assured me it would never happen again and in future if she wished to witness a no-holds-barred contest she would stick with Master Chef. (Secretly though I think that Lesley, like me, was just heart-broken that the Mighty Maroons didn’t win. I’ll be sending her an email just before the second game to remind her to get her Queensland supporter’s jersey on.)
Author’s Log: Star Date Thursday June 1.
Second day of writing workshops at John Willcock College. This time with about 35 yr 7/8 students.
Yet another bunch of wonderful, inspiring young people (except at the start maybe when they were super keen to inform me that Barry Jonsberg told them to tell me that I ‘sucked’!) Baz is the gift that keeps on giving!
Thanks to the lovely library staff for the author display and for the masses of delicious homemade food they forced me to eat. In the sessions I attempted to put the students nerves at rest by doing a writing activity based on FEAR.
Author’s Log: Friday June 2.
Youth Literature Day workshop at Geraldton Senior College with 45 yr 9-12 students.
Caught up with the school’s librarian and fellow author and friend, Dr Glyn Parry which is always a lot of fun. Glyn’s a terrific storyteller with some wonderful and at times eye-popping stories to tell!
Another really enjoyable day of sessions.
I feel so fortunate to get to work and spend time with so many enthusiastic, friendly, funny, dedicated, co-operative and talented students. Have not got a single bad word to say about any one of them. Great, great kids and a real treat and honour to get to hear their words and stories.
A big thanks and shout out also to the magnificent, over-worked and often under-appreciated (by some) teachers and the more-than-worth-their-weight-in-gold librarians and TLs who help and support all the students.
Thanks too to Geraldton (and Albany) for turning on the beautiful weather and for the gorgeous sunrises and sunsets.
Departed Geraldton by plane 6.10pm. Arrived Perth 7.15pm. Taken in our driver Peter’s very comfortable taxi to The Literature Centre which is housed inside the Old Fremantle Prison.
And that’s where I am now and will be until Lesley and I fly out on Monday afternoon for another week of talks and workshops this time in Port Hedland and Newman.
More about all that and my two and a half days in Freo in the next blog.
ps: A lot of authors I know who have stayed here at The Literature Centre inside the Old Fremantle Prison say that it’s haunted and have posted messages on my Facebook page obviously trying to scare me.
But seriously, do I look scared to you?
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Pity it’s so far away – would love to have tagged along – sounds and looks great
It was Nette!