Tag Archives: travel

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.

Broome Time

If you’re wondering why I’m looking so tanned and relaxed it’s because I’ve been in Broome! Okay, it was only for three days and there wasn’t much time for lying around in the sun, but it was a fantastic trip nonetheless. I spent time with Years 8 and 9 from Broome Senior High School, then an afternoon with some keen readers and writers from Cable Beach Primary School. We talked about how stories get started – about images that fall into your head and priests on oceanic balloon flights and chihuahuas that get blown away in storms and about ways in which you can take all your wild and crazy ideas and turn them into stories.

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This One Time, At the Bookshop

I spent some time in Victoria recently, dog- and house-sitting for my brother in a lovely little town called Kerang. While I was over there, I stopped by some schools, which was great fun. And I also popped over to my hometown, Bendigo, to catch up with friends and family. One day, I had lunch with an old friend and then we strolled down to Dymocks so she could buy my book for her niece. Sadly, they were sold out (sold out!) which made me rather happy. So she ordered a copy and we strolled some more and we ended up, as bookish people do, at a secondhand bookshop. And I ended up, as children’s writers do, in the children’s section. And then I saw this:

f0511-annabel2ndhand

Annabel, secondhand! I’m choosing to believe that someone loved her so much they just had to share her with the world (it’s my delusion and I’m sticking to it!).