Friday, 8 November 2013

Award-winning authors congregate in Waikato

Many thanks to the people at the Waikato Children’s Literature Association who hosted an inspiring seminar on new children’s writing in Hamilton last weekend. We were treated to entertaining talks by Tessa Duder Award winners Rachel Stedman (A Necklace of Soulsand Hugh Brown (Reach), and Ester Glen Award winner Rachael King (Red Rocks).

I always thoroughly enjoy listening to other writers talk, as it inevitably sparks your own creativity and provides insight into the fascinating (for authors) and multifarious process of writing.  I bought all their books (oops: so much for the budget) and will look forward to several good reading sessions over the summer.

I also attended a very good workshop with Alison Robertson, another award-winning children’s writer (Tom Fitzgibbon Award), who gave tips on adding sparkle to your writing; and was treated to a ‘conversation’ with editor Margaret Cahill (previously of Learning Media) who provided a rare perspective on the editor–author relationship from the other side of the desk. The lady in the picture, explaining the nuts and bolts of picture books, is talented illustrator Deborah Hinde of Kooky Kiwi fame.

I find this type of event invaluable, for networking, having a good blather about books and harvesting the tips of the trade. I think the Waikato needs more of them, so if you’re thinking of running one and need a hand, send me an email. I’d love to be involved.

Thankfully the Waikato Children’s Literature Association has several more planned for 2014, including their AGM in February, where I’ll be speaking alongside Hamilton writers Tamara James and Yvonne Milroy. How can I compete with an elf!