WOW! That was exhausting! A lot more exhausting than I ever imagined. For those of you who have never attended this Gala event it is a Children’s Literature Festival run every year on the grounds of All Saints’ College in Bull Creek WA. What an amazing experience! As a presenter, the festival organiser (Kris Williams) ensures your every need is met. The whole operation is seamless and professional, for each session a student is assigned to take you (the presenter) to and from your venue. These venues range from theatres in the school (and there are a few), to gigantic air-conditioned marquees. The student introduces you to your audience and concludes the session for you, along with offering you water and coffee (like I said your every need is met) and food. The school puts on amazing food- including a wonderful coffee shop erected for the occasion- great coffee, thanks guys!
Between sessions we get to kick back and talk to other authors, illustrators and people in the industry. A great sharing experience, I learnt a lot of ways to present a ‘meet the author’ session in the future (courtesy of Julia Lawrinson and JC Burke) and heard some amazing stories of other author’s roads to publication (thanks Barry Heard).
The most rewarding aspect of the whole experience is meeting the readers of your book face-to-face and getting feedback from them. In one of my sessions a group of kids, who had read Destroying Avalon as a class sat in the front rows and bombarded me with questions. Hello students from Tranby (Baldivis WA). You guys were fantastic- I loved the opinions and the ideas that you had. I especially loved the fact that all of the feedback about Marshall was so positive. I love that Marshall is finally being accepted.
Would I do it again?
It’s a long way- I get on the freeway at Joondalup, drive through peak hour traffic to exit at the Leach Highway. It’s mentally draining- standing in front of a crowd of people, who may or may not have read your book, ranging from 80 – 300 and talking constantly for 45 minutes. It requires a lot of organisation (I still have 2 children who attend school and extra-curricular activities and a partner who sometimes would like to spend time with me). But it’s so rewarding.
So YES! I would and I think the school -All Saints and Kris (in particular- along with Adam and there were other key people whose names I’ve forgotten- sorry) deserve a pat on the back for creating such a festival and providing West Australian students with a terrific opportunity to meet with living authors!
And for those of you who attended I hope you found it as rewarding as I did!