I have just got back from Perth where I ws a guest and speaker at the All Saints Literature Festival. It was hosted by the All Saints College, but many other schools attended as well. There were over 30 writers who presented talks and workshops at the festival. I don’t know how many kids came along, but there were lots. I had six different sessions.
Being a writer is a strange job. Most of the time when I’m working, I’m sitting in a room by myself. Unlike people who sell things, or fix things etc for a living, I hardly ever get to meet my “customers” – the readers. It’s only at school visits and events like these that I actually get to talk to readers – some who have read my books, some who haven’t. So that’s always a great thing to do
After the sessions, there is usually a time for signing books. I was signing alongside Andy Griffiths, that is always a daunting experience. Andy always has about two hundred kids lined up to get his autograph, more than anyone else. People have to bring him food and something to drink so he doesn’t faint from hunger or thirst. I got quite a few kids who wanted me to sign books, but not as many as Andy!
The other thing that happens at festivals, is that I get to meet the other writers. Other authors are my colleagues, but I hardly ever get to meet them either. I get a chance to go to their sessions and to chat to them in between. Some authors I already know from previous events, others I’ve never met before. At this festival, I got to know quite a few writers, including WA authors Dianne Wolfer (who has just published a historical novel) and Mike Lefroy (who is another black dog author). It’s always interesting to hear what other writers are working on, how they go about doing it, and what they think about issues effecting authors.
But it wasn’t all work – I was invited to a get together with WA members of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). It was in the Old Fremantle Gaol, so that was exciting!
If you ever happen to find yourself at the same event that I am attending come up and say ‘Hi” – it is great fun to meet with and talk to people at these events.