Category Archives: Events

Five Days Under the Big Sky

It was the best of festivals, it was the best of festivals.

Last week I spent five days as a guest of Big Sky Readers and Writers Festival, which takes place annually in Geraldton, an hour’s flight north of Perth.

I love flying to Gero, not only for the glorious vistas but also because I love watching the flight attendants try and somehow cram meal service into the approximately 35 minutes of level flight time.

I love Big Sky for other reasons, and they are many.

For years, fellow writers and illustrators have been enthusing about Big Sky. It’s the bestival of the festivals! they say. Because they are punsters like that. If you get invited, you absolutely have to go!

This year, I did, so I did. And now I get it.

From the tiny plane trip we took out to the Abrolhos Islands, where we spent a night soaking up the serenity, snorkelling in crystal clear water, communing with a playful sea lion, and generally feeling a million miles away from all things stressful …

… to the visits to local schools, which were full of enthusiastic teachers as well as highly engaged  kids.

From the seamless organisation, creative programming and unfailingly cheerful staff …

… to the warmth and enthusiasm of the audiences.

When I speak at a festival, I always hope that those listening will come away nourished in some way; post-Big Sky, I actually feel nourished myself. And if you know anything about me at all, you’ll know this is a rare feat!

I’ve always loved a big sky, but now I want to live there. It truly is the bestival of the festivals.

So That Just Happened … and also that

It’s been a busy few days. It began on Friday morning when I sat bolt upright at 3am and realised the year was drawing to a close and my annual carbon footprint was altogether too small.

Happily, this was easily remedied. I rolled out of bed and drove immediately to Perth airport. I flew across the country and all the way up to Brisbane. Then I drove to a hotel, stayed overnight, and at the crack of dawn, flew home to Perth again. And just like that, I was back on track.

While I was in Brisbane, a ridiculous thing happened, and it looked a bit like this:

QLA2    20151013_091353

A Single Stone was announced as the winner of the Griffith University Children’s Book Award at the Queensland Literary Awards!

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Launched!

We gathered, we laughed, we launched! I’m delighted (so very delighted, Amanda Betts!) to Kidogoannounce that the official launch of A Single Stone went off swimmingly on Thursday, 7 May.

Against the backdrop of a stunning Fremantle sunset at Kidogo Arthouse on Bathers Beach, a lovely host of friends, colleagues, and other possibly-soon-to-be-one-of-those-things folk ate, drank and were generally merry as Amanda (AJ) Betts launched the book in characteristically hilarious style.

LaunchcrowdIrene&friendsAJ

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Meeting Mr Curly

Yes, I know he isn’t exactly Mr Curly. That would be like saying I’m Ruby, or Cassie, or possibly even Max.

But last weekend at the Perth Writers Festival, I met the maker of Mr Curly and of many things duckish and otherly delightful – Michael Leunig. I’ve made no secret of the fact that the original inspiration for Duck for a Day came from an interview Leunig did with Andrew Denton, but beyond that, I’ve been a long-time fan of Leunig’s work, which my father shared with me from a very early age. The corkboard above this very desk is dotted with tattered Leunig cartoons, snipped from newspapers here and there over the years.

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Poetry Week

Here beginneth the second in what appears to be a biennial series. It’s my own personal poetry week, very much like the one I held back in February 2010. It’s being held for exactly the same reason: I’ve been invited to guest at Perth Poetry Club and really need some new material to read.

But more than that, I really need to work on the hundreds of fragments that have been accumulating in notebooks and files for years, the many beginnings of poems that sit quietly, waiting for my attention.

In my quest to have some of them ready for this Saturday, when I’ll be reading, I’ve identified a handful that look promising. I’m going to throw the (current) opening lines down here in order to hold myself accountable in a semi-public way. And also because I’m narcissistic like that. I did this last time, and it worked. And I’m all for whatever works, narcissism and all.

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Out and About

The last couple of months have been a busy time for me. As other writers will attest to, Book ec7f6-tranbyWeek seems to have turned into Book Month somewhere along the line and I’ve only just finished a steady stream of school and library visits. I could give you a bunch of stats here but I’d rather sit down and get some writing done, so instead I’ll just say that I drove a lot, talked a lot, listened a lot, and laughed a lot. It was energising and exhausting, all at once. And bookings are coming in for 2012, which is lovely, but also a little alarming.

I am always amazed by the creative and insightful ideas kids come up with. There was a great wealth of these this year, but I have to say that my favourite comment from a student was: “Meg, you are the most expiring author I have ever met!” Coming at the end of a long day, this was at once motivating and accidentally apt.

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