It’s that time of year again and I am busy trying to promote the 2012 Ballarat Writers and Illustrators Festival.

With a swag of Australian children’s and young adult (CYA) writers, illustrators and publishers attending the weekend of Sept 1-2, it’s bound to be a success. This year the even runs over 2 days with a literary evening on the Saturday night.

We also have a new location –  Ballarat’s iconic Mechanics Institute, where Mark Twain once spoke.

Our panellists will be discussing issues vital to emerging and aspiring writers and illustrators, with a focus on how the industry is adapting to new technologies and where to find new audiences. Writers, illustrators, editors and publishers will participate in panels addressing new media challenges, new opportunities for fiction and non-fiction, creating characters and adapting illustration in the digital age. A major feature of the festival is the ‘first page’ competition. Attendees have the opportunity to have their work critiqued by a panel of publishers in the festival’s final session.

The program for the day can be found here.

The panellists for the day can be found here.

It’s really not that far from Melbourne so if you are free come up!




Ballarat Writers and Illustrators Festival

 I’m pleased to report that this weekend was a great success for the Ballarat Writers’ and Illustrators’ festival for 2011. This year’s theme was ‘words and pictures’ with a focus on Children and Young Adult authors and illustrators. A dinner on the Friday night kicked off the festival in fine form. Dominic Brine from ABC Ballarat was the MC for the night with Maureen McCarthy  as the keynote speaker.  I was lucky enough to be on a table with authors Ebony McKenna, Nicholas Brasch, editor Catherine McCredie from Penguin Books and illustrator Dave Hackett. The mood of the room was inspiring as a range of professionals within the industry shared a few drinks, a fantastic 3 course meal, and countless stories.

It was hard to leave for the night, but my job the following morning was to kick off the festival by interviewing our keynote author Maureen McCarthy. This was intimidating; it was my first public interview, besides the work I do with Voice FM. I read Maureen’s novels when I was in high school and in the lead up to the festival I refreshed my memory by reading Queen Kat, Carmel and St Jude get a life, Rose by Any Other Name and Careful What you Wish For. Her novels are great and there were plenty of questions that I could have asked, but I wanted to make sure that the audience got a lot out of it, whether they were novelists, illustrators or picture book authors. It was a great experience and I really enjoyed doing it.

By the end of the day my head was spinning with all the fantastic panels. There were 26 panellists and each panel was loaded full of tips, tricks and advice. One of the days highlights was the montage of images that Simon Swingler produced. He had been silently animating in the corner throughout the panel discussions and then produced a computer animated image of each of the panellists (I’d love to track down the one he did of me – it was fantasic.)

Ballarat Books was a fantastic sponsor, making sure a great collection of each authors work was available. It was a great festival and something I’m happy to have been involved in. The festival committee consisted of Alice Barker, Jill Blee and Nadine Cranenburgh, who should be congratulated.

Tim Pegler

Over the last few months I have been helping Ballarat Writers to prepare for the Ballarat Writers and Illustrators Festival for 2011. As part of this I have prepared by reading  the novels of young adult author, Tim Pegler. Continue reading →


A few weeks ago I attended a Ballarat Writers workshop run by Alison Arnold from Text Publishing and Cath Crowley, young adult author. The day previous Cath Crowley had won the Prime Ministers Literary Award for Young Adult writing, for her novel Graffiti Moon. The class was instantly excited when Alison told us about Cath’s success, and I have to give her credit for turning up so bright eyed the day after the announcement (if that was me I would have had a champagne headache to say the least.) Continue reading →

Writing Events

I’m feeling invigorated at the moment by a range of different writing activities going on around me.

Last Thursday Tim Pegler and Leanne Hall were guests at the Ballarat Writers reading night. Both spoke fantastically about getting their work published for the first time, the act of writing and spent some time reading from their novels. I’m going to track down Leanne’s novel This is Shyness –  it sounds mysterious, a certainty to lose yourself in it. I was able to purchase Tim’s books and spent last night reading Game as Ned in it’s entirety. I can’t wait to get onto Five Parts Dead, his most recent novel. (I also found out that Tim grew up in the same small town that I did, which has motivated me – if he can write a novel so can I) Both Tim and Leanne are guests at the Ballarat Writers Festival in September. Continue reading →

Aussie YA fiction

I’ve recently been thrown back into the world of Young Adult (YA) novels. I am a fan, but I don’t often read them. But a few things in the last few weeks have got me thinking about the importance of YA novels in Australia.

Boomerang Books released the results from their survey on the most popular Aussie novels, not based on sales, but on a survey where readers indicated which novels they had read in their entirety. I’ve detailed the top 24 below but the entire list is worth a look. Continue reading →