Monday 1 June 2009

Reading Matters Conference

This past weekend I was very fortunate to attend the Reading Matters conference in lovely Melbourne. Run by the Centre for Youth Literature every odd year, the conference allows authors, teachers, librarians and publishing personnel to share the book love.

Author panellists included:
  • John Green US
  • MT Anderson US
  • Mal Peet UK
  • Cathy Cassidy UK
  • Isobelle Carmody AUST
  • James Roy AUST
  • Anthony Eaton AUST
  • Mo Johnson AUST
  • Michelle Cooper AUST
  • Bernard Beckett NZ
  • Alison Goodman AUST
  • Chris Wheat AUST
  • Armin Greder AUST
  • Libby Gleeson AUST
  • Tristan Bancks AUST
  • Randa Abdul-Fattah AUST
  • Adrian Stirling AUST
  • Amra Pajalic AUST

As you can see, there's a reason I haven't posted much in the last few days. I was overwhelmed by the awesomeness that was on and off stage. I got to catch up with the lovely chickies from Random House (who kindly "babysat" me), the delightful Penguin ladies, the super sweet Elise from Allen&Unwin and the incomparable Judith Ridge!

The reason I posted my pic is that I should have done this prior to attending the conference. I stupidly assumed people would recognise me from my Twitter pic and found myself on the back foot because of this oversight. I missed out on meeting Sherryl Clark, Chris Morphew, Gabrielle Wang and Simmone Howell because of this...but I didn't know what mny people looked like either.

I was able to catch up with many authors that I have gotten to know via the Persnickety Snark blog.
Mo Johnson - who I flagged down right at the start and then watched as she completely won the entire conference over. She's the Scottish pixie of awesomeness! Her panel on love and sex in YA and her readings were enormously entertaining. Seeing the huge pile of Boofheads sell out was a high point for me, especially as I felt ahead of the rush having reviewed it back in February. It was also announced that Boofheads was to be released in the UK through Walker Books. Another highlight was John Green incorrectly pronouncing Boofheads as bewfheads = hysterical.

James Roy - I recently read my first title of James' and was completely and utterly impressed. I have been tweeting with him and loved his sense of humour. So it was fantastic to see that he's just as friendly and wicked in reality. He was part of a number of panels but my favourite had to be the closing panel where he and John Green just riffed off one another on various topics (Aussie Rules football, Twilight, their process in writing and other bits and pieces.) At one point in the panel they were asking for questions and no one was obliging - I know, John Green is in the house with the incomparable James Roy and no one was asking questions! I asked something about if they'd been asked to prom and James said my name and blog to the entire conference - was a highlight for me being the narcissist that I am! Needless to say, James is a sweetheart and signed my book. He wasn't sure of the etiquette involved in acknowledging my review - I said that feedback is great and he signed my copy of Town saying thanks for the review. Lovely man!

Michelle Cooper - Poor Michelle was sprung with a kinda loopy Adele. I had just arrived at the YA Hypothetical evening (So You Want to Be a YA Writer?) and saw the lovely Random House ladies who then introduced me to Michelle who was with them. I then proceeded to hit her with a string of adoring incoherent ramblings. I still don't understand why no one ejected me from the venue or gagged me. I have yet to interview Michelle but she had seen that I favourably reviewed her A Brief History of Montmaray last week. Michelle was attending the conference on the back of her win of the Ethel Turner Prize and completely rocked it on her panels. Many of the titles she used as part of her research for Montmaray were noted and I will be reading them asap. The poor lady was also very nice about me hugging her :)

Amra Pajalic - Amra's The Good Daughter was a fantastic debut effort by this Victorian. She was able to leave her baby for enough time to sit in on the panel, 'Growing Up Muslim in Australia'. It was an extremely informative and thought provoking panel, one that I would consider one of my favourites of the conference. Amra and I were able to talk for awhile as she was signing books and she was super sweet, welcoming and told one signee that I wrote her first review. I can't wait to catch up with her some time in the future.

Sue Lawson - I didn't know that Sue was going to be in attendance and she tracked me down. She then proceeded to introduce me to many lovely people including Dee White and Kristen Young. I knew Kristen already from dealing with black dog books but it was great to place a face with a name. Sue's gorgeous inside and out, Kristen's a little ball of energy and Dee had some really nice advice about writing. To be honest, they were so nice it was a little surreal. They were also the group that pushed me into sucking up my courage and approaching John Green at the reception.

John Green - I am saving this interaction for a later post lol

Mal Peet and MT Anderson - I interviewed both of these amazingly gifted authors on my first day in Melbourne. I will be getting into the audio from this interview over the weekend. It was an amazing opportunity facilitated by the divine Juliet at Walker Books. It was unbelievably surreal to be seated in a room with these men and drink in their overwhelming charisma and intelligence.

Reading Matters was an incredible experience and I will be posting my notes from all of the panels over the next two weeks. Hopefully you'll stop by and see how amazing these panels truly were. Also a big thanks to the folks who ran the event, making it hugely successful for everyone involved.


Shalonda said...

I'm so glad you had a wonderful time. I look forward to hearing more about your interaction with John Green! He's always exciting.

Luisa at Chicklish said...

It's great to read all about this and I'm so glad you had a great time. I'm really looking forward to reading and hearing more about this in the next few weeks. Thank you!

Natalie Hatch said...

okay officially jealous over here!

Rhiannon Hart said...

Can't wait to here all about it! Good to meet you at the YA hypothetical :)

Mike said...

The conference was recorded and highlights will be available for podcast on in coming weeks.

We think of ourselves as the Avis of young people's literature in Australia: we try harder.

Mike said...

The conference was recorded and highlights will be available for podcast on in coming weeks.

We think of ourselves as the Avis of young people's literature in Australia: we try harder.

H said...

I'm glad you enjoyed it. What with you going to this, and all the BEA posts, I'm finding it hard not to be jealous over here :)

Sherryl said...

Sorry I didn't get to meet you, Adele. I really did try! And had someone looking for me too.
Maybe next time!

Zoe said...

Hee hee, 'the Scottish pixie of awesomeness' describes Mo so well! Great post, Adele. We loved meeting you too!