Ballarat and back

I’ve spent two days this week in Ballarat. The first day I talked about books and writing with all primary levels at Sebastopol Primary School. We covered everything from drafting, editing, publishing and the challenges in getting the words right. I showed students why I don’t illustrate my own books and they were very encouraging. One group also learned and recited a poem I’d written about Koalas. We read books and considered what it would have been like to be aboard a convict ship in 1841. Despite all the horribles of that journey, there are always a few students who want to join that trip.

The second day was all about poetry. Young writers from six schools in and around Ballarat travelled to Sebastopol to take part. We began the day as a group of about 70 students, then broke into smaller groups to undertake poetry workshops. My session was free verse poetry and man those students came up with some amazing lines! Other sessions were blackout poetry and art poetry. As always, I wish there was time to also attend the other workshops.

The final part of the day involved the students breaking into small groups, writing, workshopping and selecting a rhyming verse invitation. The final seven were performed to the assembled students and I had the task of choosing one. The chosen verse will be used as the invitation to the closing ceremony of the Young Writers Program where parents and other invitees will have the opportunity to view the work of the students.

A great initiative, devised and delivered by some amazing teachers and schools. Congratulations to all who were part of it.

Oh, and it was cold. -4 overnight. But so crisp and clear the next morning. Just lovely.

Bitta dis, bitta dat …

It’s winter here in Melbourne, which means I’m typing while wearing very fetching fingerless mittens, multiple layers of woolies and a big scarf. My office gets a bit coolish. But it’s so beautiful. Much as I hate getting up in the dark, that’s dog walk time and it’s always worth the effort for the sunrises, and the early morning light (keeps the dog happy too).

And there are other things that happen in winter. Great new book releases to add to the reading pile (although a couple of these went straight to the top), I helped a friend launch her first book, our choir was part of a Folk to Classic concert at Newport Folk Festival, we finally managed to book our Christmas gift dinner, and Koala is about to be released. I’ve received posters and teacher notes. Plans for two launches are unfolding, one in Sydney and one here in Melbourne.

Before that though, I’m off to Ballarat for a couple of days, then to PNG. Where it will be warm.