Join Christina Booth as she celebrates and reflects on the Hobart Writer’s Festival and the value of book creators joining together to fuel imaginations and ignite passions.
I loved reading the last blog post by the loveliest of people, Fiona Levings. If you haven’t already, make sure you do. Meeting your audience, especially in schools is, indeed one of the highlights of being a writer for children and young adults. Stories are wonderful, powerful things, alive and growing in directions we least expect. They are, in the hands of the creator, a new being, of huge potential and prospects. Beginning the life it is meant to lead, in the hands and mind of the reader, it grows and evolves into so many different things and follows many different pathways.
This past weekend I had the privilege to celebrate story with many writers, illustrators and readers at the Hobart Writer’s Festival organised by the Tasmanian Writer’s Centre. It was a lovely and engaging event allowing those pathways to meet. For creators to see some of the places their creations have travelled to, to meet the hearts and minds helping them to journey forward and for the carriers of the onward stories to meet with the origins of those stories. We became a melting pot of lovers of words and worlds, imagination, and visual narrative.
This year’s festival included a broad cast of creators who shared their craft and storytelling journeys with us all. The children’s literature scene was well represented, with free storytelling and activities ranging from readings to story yoga and drawing on the lawns of Parliament House. Amongst the first sessions of the festival was the Island of Curiosities panel, where award winning Tasmanian creators of stories for children who embrace our precious environment, flora and fauna shared with the audience their desire to empower children to discover the world around them and to champion it.
|Christina Booth, Island of Curiosities panelist|
© Jillian Mundy Photography, Hobart
A great opportunity to network with new and aspiring children’s creators as well as those well-established took place on Saturday afternoon. So many booked it was an encouraging and delightful time meeting new people, making connections, sharing our ‘book babies’ and realising the hope of children’s book creation as alive and strong on this very special island.
The weekend drew to a close with a final session for those interested in kid-lit with an absolute treat: a session with our current Children’s Laureate, Ursula Dubosarsky. Whilst Ursula was unable to attend in person, we are eternally grateful for Zoom, as it meant, whilst lock-downs are underway and travel is restricted, we were still able to be treated to her wisdom, insights and her delightful story of The March of the Ants (illustrated by Tohby Riddle, published by Book Trail Press), a story about what it is we need most when the trail gets tough, when we run out of hope or joy or energy to keep going. Story is what we all need, now more than ever and this story sums up why we need authors in schools, book festivals, meet ups with other creators and most of all, stories from us all to bind us together.
Happy reading and keep telling stories.
Tasmanian author and illustrator
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