Charlotte McConaghy reports on her first writers festival

charlotte hires

Well I’ve just returned from my first ever Writer’s Festival! After biting my nails down to the quick from nerves, I set off, firstly to Ipswich for the Children’s Literature Festival. A whole bunch of wonderful authors and illustrators stay together out in a secluded mansion in the bush, (sounds a bit like the setting of a horror movie) and despite the fact that most of the others probably thought I was just the daughter of writer who’d come along for the ride, they were all lovely and welcoming.

From there I travelled around to some of the schools in the area. I was seriously stressed, never having done a school talk before, nor anything even remotely similar, but after the first day I started to get a feel for it and figure out what actually had to happen. Most of the students were really great – well behaved and seemingly interested, so it made it all a lot easier for me. It’s strange to think that a lot of writers actually make most of their income from school visits, seeing as how we’ve all chosen a very introverted, isolated profession – to go from sitting at home in front of the computer to getting up in front of classrooms of children and turning myself into a comedian/entertainer/teacher is pretty full on.

Once I’d spoken to the whole festival on the final day breakfast session, explaining how difficult it can be to be taken seriously as an author at my age, everyone finally realised who I was, and I got a lot of empowering “You’re one of us now!” statements. Yes!!

arrivalFrom there it was up to Brisbane, staying in a beautiful hotel, being treated like a queen, escorted everywhere, pampered and fussed over, not to mention being introduced to a whole list of famous writer’s that I love. I had to keep reminding myself that I was allowed to be there with them! I had a couple of sessions at the State Library to groups of school kids, and afterwards was the craziest thing ever… wait for it… kids lined up for my autograph!! It was totally surreal to think that there were actually people who’d read and enjoyed my book, or even just my presentation, and it will probably be the closest I ever come to stardom.

Then came a panel session with Jack Heath and Tristan Bancks, which was a good laugh (the boys are both very funny) and finally an interview for the tv show ‘The Shack’.

All in all, an amazing, exciting, overwhelming introduction into the life of an author. I spent the whole time in an exhausted daze, and now that I’ve left I miss it! My life seems so boring now! It’s certainly made me realise how privileged I am to be a part of it all, and if any of you kids out there are thinking of becoming writers, then don’t waste a minute of time – every aspect of this job makes it the best in the world!

Charlotte McConaghy

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