We made small road trips between floods - Picton, Coffs Harbour, The Hunter, Sydney. I took a lot of nature photos!
Ending the year with a month long walkathon to raise money for Life's Little Treasures Foundation, coupled with some Christmas catch ups with fellow children's author's and illustrators. Another interesting year for the history books! Goodbye 2021, here's to calm and creativity in 2022.
**Images mainly taken from the children's program.
Over a year of work has paid off in the resoundingly successful Words on the Waves Festival, and weren't we lucky to hold it before being thrust back into lockdown! Here's an overview taken from our Words on the Waves website:
The first-ever writers festival to take place on the Central Coast of NSW, Words on the Waves, has marked a hugely successful inaugural event over the June long weekend 11 – 14, hosting nearly 20 sold-out sessions, over 40 inspiring authors, a schools program attracting 1200 primary school students, and a bustling bookshop run by local independent bookseller The Book Shop Umina.
Commencing with an address by Children’s Laureate Ursula Dubosarsky, who implored the young communities of the Coastal region to “read for their life”, the festival continued with its school program featuring First Nations writers and environmental messages with the theme ‘Warrior for Change’. Participating writers included Deb Abela, Kirli Saunders, Oliver Phommavanh and Susanne Gervay.
After a rousing opening night event with Richard Fidler alongside David Hunt, the main program kicked off on Saturday June 12 with five sessions, and then four sessions on the Sunday. Themes included place, belonging, identity, equity, and our shared environmental future, with authors as varied as OzHarvest founder Ronni Kahn, student climate activist Daisy Jeffrey, literary writer Emily Maguire, local historian Garry Linnell, crime novelist Candice Fox and more.
Festival Patron Margaret Pomeranz AM hosted an intimate movie screening and conversation alongside lauded film and theatre director Neil Armfield on the Saturday evening, and on Sunday June 13 Matt Stanton led a rollicking family fun day, the culmination of a Coast-wide illustration competition for youths.
The weekend concluded on Monday with a literary cruise through the scenic Brisbane Waters, led by authors with a tie to the region, historian Grace Karskens and memoirist Vicki Hastrich.
Despite currently having no federal, state, or council funding, plans are already underway for the 2022 festival as well as regular events throughout the year.
I am so proud to have been part of this amazing team and am jumping back on the sponsorship horse ready for another amazing festival.
If you would like to be involved or chat about partnering with us, I'd love to chat!
What a fantastic workshop we had today with Juliet Rogers, Nerilee Weir, Kaye Wright and Benny Agius. Covering topics such as publishing choices, acquisitions and author contracts, self-publishing, how to sell a book and building a career as an author, it was a fascinating insight into behind the scenes - and why that winning manuscript of yours may not get through the final door!
The end of March saw the beginning of the inaugural Words on the Waves Writers Festival held in beautiful Darkinjung Country. A brainwave of Echo Publishing's Benny Agius, and Jacqui Barton, former education manager at Harper Collins, Words@Wagstaffe is the first of many Words on the Waves events. With a full line-up of authors, this event was catered to readers of literary fiction - and didn't we have the perfect day for it! I am beyond thrilled to be part of the founding committee, and can't wait for our Central Coast children to have doorstep access to so many fabulous children's authors!
Follow our kids program here for all the events and catch up on the podcasts here!
A beautiful Sunday morning - and several excited SCBWI members getting together for a Sketch and Scribble event on Cockatoo Island. Led by author Yvette Poshoglian, it was a fascinating combination of dark history and stunning scenery. Yvette spent three years researching the island's history, resulting in her novel Escape from Cockatoo Island . Published by Scholastic, it tells the story of eleven year old Olivia Markham, who is sent to the Biloela Girls Industrial School and Reformatory on Cockatoo Island in the middle of Sydney Harbour in 1878.
Here's an excerpt from one of my scribble stops. This was triggered from learning that girls were made to eat with their hands, and of course longed for freedom from dark working conditions and darker encounters with the older men building ships alongside their school...
Mercy eats like an animal.
Lukewarm, porridge spills from the corner of her mouth. 'Tomorrow we go home?' she says.
I reply as always. 'Yes, tomorrow we'll go home.'
The smell from the cookhouse turns my stomach. Everything turns my stomach these days, ever since...
I won't think of it. Not now. Not yet.
'Lizzie do ye' want the rest of your food?'
One blue eye sparkles with hope. The other flickers violently inward, seeing what only Mercy can know. I push my bowl, the metal meeting hers with a clang.
'You have it Mercy. A five year old needs all her strength. You'll grow up big and strong, you'll see.'
'Big and strong,' she repeats, before dipping her dripping fingers into her second helping. 'Tomorrow we go home?'
'Yes, Mercy tomorrow we go home.'
It is Sunday, a precious Sunday where God has heard my prayer and opened the gates for twenty whole minutes. The other girls shelter in the shade of a fig tree, its roots snaking out, one thick flowing embrace.
I find the sun as Captain Walker has instructed me, to soak up goodness against the damage of darkness. Mercy watches white caps riding on the harbour waters.
Captain Walker teaches me many things. He says it must be our secret.
'You are no ordinary girl, Lizzie,' he says. He instructs me to read letters one more time.
A B C
His calloused fingers drum impatiently on the desk.
D E F... He caresses my cheek.
These letters are my imprisonment.
Mercy laughs. 'Our boat there, Lizzy?' The wind lifts her grimy hair.
The stone beneath my fingers is cold despite the sun.
'Someday Mercy. Our boat will come.'
These letters will be our escape.
Crossing the river seems like the most likely ending here, but no. Happily in situ on one side of the stunning Hawkesbury river, I took a holiday time out to join the Creative Kids Tales zoom workshop with Australia's favourite, Jackie French. As a history lover and eternal workshopper this was just the thing to inspire, with thought-provoking content about bias, sources, censorship, creating fantasy history and of course the sounds, smells and all the fun stuff that colours in the characters world. The only problem I have now is deciphering my notes I was scribbling that hard!
Early this year, a commitee formed here on the Central Coast NSW, to create the inaugural Words on the Waves Writers Festival. In 2021 we bring you a feast of authors and illustrators for both children and adults. We will be holding fundraising events in advance of the main event in June.
Join our Facebook page to stay posted on events.
A lovely afternoon sketching and scribbling at the Gosford art gallery with @coastwrite.It was lovely weather for ducks but we were all very taken with some other birds!
"You’ve always had the power my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself."