Willy Lit Fest

There’s nothing like a festival to refill the well. And there’s nothing like Willy Lit Fest. This local lit fest is now in its fourteenth year and going strong. A small team of mostly volunteers put together a program that has something for everyone from young children to the most literary of readers. From the Markus Zusak/Andy Griffith conversation to folk music and Afgan dust, it was a treat.

This year, I was co-presenting a workshopping session with my friend and colleague Sue Lawson, author of many wonderful books and stories. We were ‘in conversation’, offering Insider Tips for Children’s Writers.

Totally unintentionally, we dressed in coordinating colours, carried red handbags and red black and white tote bags. We even brought some of the same books to share with the audience as examples of good writing!

Our session was sold out!


We talked about picture books for different ages, lengths of longer fiction, organisations that can help hone skills and create networks. There was so much to share, so little time. We wanted this to be a Q&A session and it was. Hopefully we were able to share useful tips for all participants. We certainly had fun. But then, as we said at the beginning of our session: we could happily talk for hours … underwater … yano.


We were looked after brilliantly, from the Green Room, to the volunteers to the ‘introducer’ to the personalised coffee!


Suffering Succotash!

When I was small, I really loved Sylvester, despite him always been bested by a grinning yellow canary. I particularly loved his ‘Suffering Succotash!’ cry.

I thought it was a made up word, but I liked how it tasted. On this weekend just gone, I discovered that it’s real! It’s a combo of corn and beans widespread in part of the US. There are recipes for making it at home, or you can buy it in tins. Who knew?

This discovery was just one of very many made during the biannual Reading Matters conference, held at the Arts Centre in Melbourne. The conference mixes panel discussions with keynotes from local and international writers and image makers. This year also featured Dougal, illustrator of Introducing Teddy. His work, interpretations of presenters, were posted on Instagram. Take a look. His handle is 15mindrawings.

I could list the speakers, but I’d leave some out and feel bad. Besides I’m sure you can find the information on the CYL (Centre for Youth Literature) website. Suffice to say, by close on Saturday I was stuffed full of inspiration and admiration. So much to think about, so many authors to explore, so many new books to read. Well done RM team.



And then this arrived: Danish editions of Koala. Oh my!