Post Lockdown Festivals — YAY!
After two years of lockdowns, school visits via Zoom and cancelled festivals, it’s been so nice to once again connect with readers in person. I was lucky enough to attend two amazing youth literary festivals in the latter part of this year — Scribbler’s Festival and Once Upon A Festival.
A HUGE thank you to the organisers of both events for inviting me along and an even HUGER thank you to all the wonderful readers I met — those who came along to my sessions, those who waited in line for me to scribble on one of their books and those who just stopped by for a chat. It was wonderful meeting all of you!
Scribbler’s Festival, Western Australia, September 2022
Three days of schools programming and then a weekend of family entertainment, all at the Subiaco Arts Centre. Wow! This festival was BIG! Bus loads of kids for the schools days and then heaps of families and individuals over the weekend.
I did five presentations, one workshop and participated in my first ever story battle. Teaming up with the incomparable Sally Murrphy, we had to create on-the-spot stories based on suggestions from the audience. The opposition: Julia Lawrinson and Oliver Phommavanh. Of course, Sally and I destroyed our opponents to win the golden crown. (But that’s okay… they got second place.) 🙂 I also had the honour and delight of being interviewed for the Conversation Caravan Podcast. This was one of the best interview experiences I’ve ever had. The young student who interviewed me, Lucy, was so well prepared, erudite, articulate, and an absolute joy to chat with.
One of my favourite things about festivals, is the chance to hang out with other authors. My schedule at his particular festival also allowed me to attend some of the presentations and workshops conducted by other authors and artists. Highlights included drawing a fish on the moon in James Foley’s drawing workshop and animating a penguin (named Petronella) in Wai Chim’s stop motion animation workshop.
This is a new festival! It was first intended to run in 2020, but was cancelled due to Covid. It made another attempt in 2021, but lockdowns meant that some of the guests had to appear virtually. Finally, they were able to run in full this year. And what an amazing first festival it was. Two jam-packed days at Immanuel College, with kids from schools all across Adelaide bussing in.
I did six presentations over those two days. After participating in a story battle at Scribbler’s Festival, I had great fun hosting a similar event at this festival’s Gala opening. In a massive marquee, in front of hundreds kids and parents, I had the opportunity to make storytelling as difficult as possible for RA Spratt, Oliver Phommavanh, Louise Park and Tristan Bancks (good sports, each and every one). But then, at that same Gala, in front of that same audience, I got SLIMED for charity. In order to raise funds for Room to Read, three authors (Oliver Phommavanh, Tristan Bancks and I), along with the principals of Immanuel College and Immanuel Primary School, had buckets of slime poured over them by lucky student raffle winners. That was certainly an experience to be remembered.
My schedule at this festival didn’t allow for me to fully attend other authors’ sessions, but I did get to briefly see some of them do their stuff at the Gala opening and in quick snatches between my own sessions. But it was lovely to catch up with them in the green room and around the grounds of the college.
Jumping on hotel beds
It’s just something I do! Kid at heart, I guess.