‘Tall Tales and Fat Tunes’ – SCBWI at the BWF

SCBWI Qld member, Dimity Powell posts her review of SCBWI’s contribution to the Brisbane Writers Festival, where five local authors and illustrators volunteered to be part of the children’s program, Alphabet Zoo. Thank you, Jacque Duffy, Lynelle Westland, Jennifer Poulter and Dimity for your fabulous contributions.bwf event1

“There were no track closures or train delays on Thursday the 5th of September, so I arrived in ample time at the State Library of Queensland; hub of this year’s Brisbane Writers Festival. At nine o’clock in the morning, the place was already humming. The book shop was choked with young readers keen to snap up the latest title by one of their ‘idols’.

bwf event7Some of their idols were already there, searching for literary gems of their own.  Legion upon legion of uniformed school kids led by teachers equally as enthusiastic as they, trooped by in orderly lines. In the absence of coffee, I drank in their palpable excitement and thus energised headed for the signing-in table.

With a bright orange lanyard in place and goodie bag slung over one shoulder, I strolled about the grounds, soaking up the atmosphere of my first BWF and the warm Brisbane spring-shine. There was plenty of time to take in the cavernous marquis, stage to a variety of artists of far greater notoriety than I including; Ben Law, Matthew Condon, John Birmingham and Katherine Howell.

bwf evetn15 Clusters of school children waited on the banks of the river for their WordPlay sessions with visionaries like Michael Gerard Bauer, Katherine Battersby and Oliver Phommavanh. Eventually I headed for the fifth floor artists’ green room, strongly recommended to me by the leagues of green-shirted, unfathomably helpful BWF volunteers. They were right. The views of the river and cultural precinct were breathtaking. And the coffees, second to none, except maybe that bookshop-foyer-buzz. But the best was yet to come.

As a member of SCBWI, I was fortunate to be invited along with Sheryl Gwyther and half a dozen other children’s authors and illustrators from all over south-east Queensland, to participate in BWF’s Alphabet Zoo. This inaugural free program was inspired by the books and art created for kids between 3 – 8 years.

The next few hours were spent in the Studio, a spacious room housing an astonishingly gigantic dragon and walls covered in art courtesy of the kids dropping in and Illustrator-in-Residence, Briony Stewart. We delivered live storytellings, readings and art classes as part of the Tall Tales and Fat Tunes activities.

bwf event16 Fresh on the heels of recent Book Week presentations, this encounter with over 60 primary aged students, their carers, teachers and parents was yet another refreshing reminder of why we do what we do. Positive gratitude was instantaneous.

One teacher couldn’t thank us enough for providing a few minutes of captivating wonderment for her students. ‘I’ve never seen them so attentive. Look at them!’

It is true: sometimes the smallest things in life bring us the greatest joy. I may not have been presenting in auditoriums to hundreds but the glint of sunshine on the Brisbane River, the moments spent sharing my words with small, ever expanding minds and being in the same green room with other authors jotting enigmatic entries into paper journals all added up to great, collective Festival joy. It was one of my most memorable visits to the Zoo ever.”

Many thanks, Dimity! (Sheryl Gwyther, SCBWI Assistant RA)

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SCBWI Queensland celebrates a great year

Another year of writing and illustrating is almost at its end. SCBWI Qld members met recently to celebrate another year of connecting and enjoying the company of many of our colleagues and friends in the world of publishing children’s books, celebrating successes and otherwise. 🙂

Some of our SCBWI Qld members

(l to r) Julie Nickerson, Angela Sunde, Ozan Tortop, Anil Tortop, Ally Howard, Lynn Priestley, Katherine Battersby, Sheryl Gwyther, Lucia Masciullo

Our end of year/Christmas party was a great success with yummy food, great company, lots of laughter and even a visit from a hairy gentleman in a red hat bearing gifts. Note: no further auditions for the part of Santa Claus will be needed. We have our star.

 

In SCBWI Queensland we’ve had member meetings this year in Brisbane with guest speakers, like Michelle Richards, the events coordinator at the Brisbane Square Library (with particular reference to children’s books); SCBWI Qld support team member, Pam Rushby, who gave us a great talk based on an article she wrote about selling your own books at a local market. At another meeting Pam also presented a Professional Development mini-workshop called “Perfect Pitching” following on from feedback from the Sydney conference pitching sessions. 

This year was also the first time SCBWI Qld ventured (physically) further into the state’s regions. Sheryl Gwyther (SCBWI Qld ARA) and team support member, Prue Mason flew to Cairns in far north Queensland. The meeting with members in the north was very successful and funding from SCBWI central will allow Sheryl to fly north again in April 2013 to ensure another regional meeting. In 2013, we’ll also be conducting a meeting/workshop in the Gold Coast region, and a workshop in the Sunshine Coast/Maleny hinterland. All members are welcome.

first SCBWI Qld regional meeting

The Cairns Regional visit

In July-August 2012 we had the opportunity for an exhibition in the Brisbane City Library in George Street. JOURNEY OF A BOOK … from idea to publication. A great success for many of our authors and illustrators. Thank you all who participated. 

Part of the Exhibition at the Brisbane city library

Part of the Exhibition at the Brisbane city library

2012 also saw a competition for our own SCBWI Qld logo – and because of the high calibre of entries from member illustrators, we ended up choosing three. One for this blog (Anil Tortop and Jennifer Poulter), one for Facebook (Jennifer Pearce) and one we use for our banner (Lynn Priestley). Thank you to everyone who entered.

scbwi_rectang_orange_new

Our new outdoor/indoor banner

This year saw a very successful national conference in Sydney for SCBWI Australia (east and west)/New Zealand. Roll on 2014 for the next one. 🙂

Our newsletter, SCWIBBLINGS also began life this year with three issues already ‘put to bed’. Looking forward to more member input over the new year. SCWIBBLINGS Newsletter Issue 1 2012

Best wishes to everyone in SCBWI Qld for the new year ahead. Hoping to connect up with many more of you over 2013.