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!


There was a tunnel

I feel like I’ve been absent for a while – much of this year really. Mostly to do with study. But I’ve submitted my final project, completed the feedback form and what happens next is beyond my ability to predict/affect.

I’ve culled my books and there’s a little room on my shelves. I’ve partially cleared my desk, I have my printer back and it’s sort of working, my email inbox is back to manageable and I’m starting to work through what’s been waiting patiently (the impatient things are also done) and I’m ready for what’s next.

But while I work on them, some exciting news. I have confirmation that Koala will also appear in Danish. And Big Red Kangaroo is to be in Korean! Can’t wait to see copies.

My Name is Lizzie Flynn is officially available in paperback from Thursday. Lovely to be able to share her again.


I have left my cave occasionally. I had a lovely day workshopping story with students from 6 Ballarat primary schools. What a treat! I’ll be back in July for some more workshopping with the same students, focussing on poetry.


I was as happy as a pig in long grass. The workshops were conducted at a farm school and I visited the pigs, some chooks and other animals before I drove home. Just call me Old MacDonald. Or not.


Absent in Action

I know I’ve just flagged this new website and blog, but I feel like I’ve been absent for some time. Partly this is due to study, but that’s nearing its end and hopefully I’ll soon be fully present again.

On Friday I was part of the Queenscliffe Literary Festival school program. It was a lovely day, with engaged and enthusiastic students and ran like clockwork thanks to the hard work of an enthusiastic team. Each of the presenters: Martine Murray, Jedda Robard, Carole Wilkinson, Heath McKenzie, Tull Suwannakit, Andy Isaacs (who I didn’t get to meet) and I had our own ‘minders’, who made sure we had whatever we needed. My session with Yr 2 and Yr 3 students from several local schools was great fun. Many thanks to Alice and the team and to hosts Point Lonsdale Primary School (great  catering too).

While I have no pics of the students or the school, here are some from the surroundings. It’s a tough gig, but it has to be done.


Moving On

After 25500 views, I’ve just closed my old blog at Let’s Have Words.

I’m really excited to have my blog and website together here, but I was surprised to feel sad at leaving my old blog behind. Silly perhaps, but there you are.

I am looking forward to posting here though. There will be the same mix of book world news and pics and other random bits and bobs.



I’m very excited to reveal the cover of ‘Koala’, to be released by Walker Books Australia on August 1. It will also be released in the US and UK in September. Stay tuned also for the Danish version.

How beautiful is this cover. Thank you Julie Vivas!




Dromkeen, at Riddells Creek, just north of Melbourne Airport, is a wonderful homestead and owners Bernadatte and Tony are children’s literature champions.

Last Saturday, Dromkeen held a Children’s Literature Festival and I was fortunate to be one of the speakers. Others included Gabi Wang, Mark Wilson, Glenda Millard, Marc McBride and Bret Cardwell.

There were indoor and outdoor activities, or in the space in between, there was time to sit or wander the gardens and just enjoy this wonderful place.

I had a wonderful time, sharing stories with children and adults. As ever, when I talk about ‘My Name is Lizzie Flynn’ I learned new details about Lizzie’s world and the world of the Rajah Quilt.