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Brisbane Writers' Festival

7/09/2016

Last week students from Junction Park visited the Brisbane Writers’ Festival.  Two groups of students went- one on Wednesday and the other on Friday.

On Wednesday the first group of students went to sessions by the authors Katherine Battersby, Ted Prior and Tristan Bancks.

Katherine Battersby is a writer and an illustrator.  She told us all about her early life including her quirky habits (she loves stripy socks) and this forms the inspiration for her writing. Her motivation for her stories comes from memories of when she was a little girl. Her advice for budding writers is about the importance of experiences and living a full life. I love her latest picture book “Little Wing”. This is a beautiful book for young readers but there is also a lot to learn from this book, particularly for older students, about the craft of writing.

Ted Prior also illustrates his own books. His ideas come from the ordinary everyday things children do, and then thinking about how it will be different for Grug, the main character in his books. Originally, he wrote the stories for his own children.

Tristan Bancks said that the book that he was most proud of having written was “Two Wolves”. He has written a lot of books, but my favourites are the books from the “My Life” series which are hilarious. Just like these books, Tristan was hilarious. He told us really funny stories from his school life which he uses as inspiration from his books. Everyone was either groaning (his stories are pretty gross) or laughing (as the stories are gross but very, very funny).  As a writer he sets a target of writing 2500 words a day which he mostly writes on his phone while walking on the beach near where he lives at Byron Bay.

On Friday the second group of students went to sessions by the authors Jaclyn Moriarty, Lee Battersby and Maxine B Clarke.

Jaclyn Moriarty’s message was “to colour your world”.  She likes to sit in cafes with coloured textas and a blank paper to plan her stories. Her colour trilogy books started with a picture of a map of a place she named “Cello” and this formed the basis of her latest three books “A Corner of White”, “Cracks in the Kingdom” and the final in the series “A Tangle of Gold”.  Read the books to see how colours influence the lives of those who live in the Kingdom of Cello!

Lee Battersby had three tips for writers- firstly, for humour make things topsy turvy, secondly, use “too much” and lastly, to make things a little scary, use the fear of the unknown.  He read some excerpts of one of his books Magrit, which like Tristan’s work, was a little bit gross as well but very funny. If you would like a taste of his humour, read pages 24-25!

The final session of the day was by Maxine B Clarke, who is a writer, writing in many genres, including poetry. She started the session by asking how many people read poetry regularly, then asked people to raise their hand when they recognized the work as she read it.

This is what she read…..

Hello, it's me
I was wondering if after all these years you'd like to meet
To go over everything

Most in the audience raised their hand after the first three words were spoken. My hand was not among them although I had been very hopeful that my hand would be one of the first to be raised. Do you recognize it? It’s the lyrics from Adele’s hello song. I think every student from Junction Park did!

The Brisbane Writers’ Festival is really an amazing experience. There is so much energy and buzz, you can’t help but be caught up in the whole experience. The students also liked the chance to talk to real inspiring authors! Both days were fantastic and all of us learnt a lot, not only about writers but also about following your dreams and being happy in your own skin. There are lots of photos on facebook from our excursions to the BWF so check them out.