Monday, August 31, 2009

Diary of a Storylines day...

A pinch and a punch for the first of the month - and no returns. I wonder who was responsible for that lovely little tradition - they had me pegged because I get an inordinate sense of satisfaction from getting in first amongst my family. Sad really innit.

I don't know if you got along to the Auckland Storylines Family Day last sunday. If you did I hope you enjoyed yourself. As always I was immensely cheered to see so many parents and children wanting to embrace books (and writers and illustrators) and make them part of their lives. Books rock. They feed your mind and make you strong.

I started off with a talk about my work which was a little shakey as I hadn't been anticipating an entire audience of adults. When I'd done my research in preparation (sample size of two) I'd been advised that the audience would be either a) virtually non-existant as I had an early slot or b) mostly children. While my own work is something I should know intimately it can be difficult to know what the audience is most interested to hear. The latest post on Mary McCallum's blog here talks about an interesting discussion between writers Brigid Lowry and Paula Boock she attended recently. I would love to participate in this kind of event or have a question and answer/interview style session. When several writers discuss their work, style and background so much can be revealed.

I also had book signing sessions, book reading sessions and the chance to watch a dramatisation of the Were-Nana. St Cuthberts did a wonderful job and it was a real treat to see how they brought the story to life. I was very fortunate and honoured to have my final reading session introduced by Tessa Duder. I was also honoured to share the judging of the writing entries in the Competition Zone. Judging is not an easy task and i always feel the weight of responsibility. I picked those who I thought had the best grasp of key story telling concepts and who showed some flare with words. A big congratulations to all the participants. And after several attempts to catch him during the day I finally got my chance to meet Dylan Horrocks and tell him how much I liked his graphic novel Hicksville during the group photo session right at the very end. I'm looking forward to buying my own copy when it is reissued next year :)

I didn't talk to as many people as I hoped I would. The schedule was fairly full and the judging took a fair chunk of time. I had the loveliest minder who showed me where and when i should be somewhere and who made me feel very special carrying my name around like a flag as we moved from point to point. Thank you Linda for taking such good care of me! All in all it was great fun and I hope I get the chance to do it all again one day. Thank you to Storylines for giving me the opportunity to meet so many booklovers and to Scholastic who helped make it possible for me.

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