Winter in Melbourne. We should be huddled inside out of the cold, our hands cupped around mugs of hot chocolate.
But no. It’s festival time. (Although, let’s face it, it’s always festival time in Melbourne.) So instead we are shrugging on heavy coats, wrapping scarves theatrically around our necks, and heading out into the city.
Coming up in August is the Melbourne Writers Festival, our annual book fest.
The full program isn’t released for a while yet, but the teasers so far have been more than enough to entice me: New York storytelling troupe The Moth, London Review of Books, a local version of the Edinburgh World Writers Conference, and a whisper or two about a keynote by Marina Warner. I am so there.
But I’m also appearing in the Schools Program this year, and what a program it is. Deborah Ellis, Margo Lanagan, Cath Crowley, Shaun Tan, Scott Westerfeld – the list of local and international fabulousness just goes on and on. Teachers and school librarians – if you haven’t booked your school groups in yet, best get onto it soon.
It’ll all be terribly exciting, and in the middle of it I’ll be:
- Talking about books that matter with Alison Croggan and Morris Gleitzman on 26 August (my plan is to let them say deep and wonderful things and just nod wisely)
- Debating powerful female characters with the powerful Justine Larbelestier on 28 August
- Getting geeky about research with Kate Forsyth on 29 August.
Again this year, the Festival is running Write Across Victoria, a terrific competition for young writers. Just choose one of our story starters, and make it your own. There are stacks of prizes to be won, and Cath Crowley and I will be at the Write Across Victoria awards event on 29 August, talking about how we got started as writers. Story competition entries close on 5 July, so get writing!