Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Reading Matters - The Adele Journey

Last week on Twitter I floated the idea of writing a behind the scenes post on Reading Matters - the response was 'hells yes'.  I've tweaked that a smidge as I'll be writing in detail about the months leading up to the conference and suite of events that comprised Reading Matters over at my work's blog Read Alert but here, I'll post pics and some words instead.

I saw the very first moment of the official program and the very last by overseeing two tours (Brisbane and Geelong) as well as the Conference, Unconference, Friday Fight Night, the Reception and the Green Room.  In that respect, I am your ultimate Reading Matters aficionado.

Come with me now, if you will, gentle viewers*

The Centre for Youth Literature paired with the State Library of Queensland to bring graphic novelist Raina Telgemeier (Drama, Smile) and poet Tim Sinclair (Run) to Brisbane.  Over two days the authors spoke to librarians and students from across Brisbane - the first time Reading Matters broke out of Victoria.  It was tremendous fun seeing Raina engage with Australian audiences for the first time and watching Tim reel them in with poetry.
Raina showing the real life dental drama behind 'Smile'

The very fetching Brisbane

Team Brizzy: Raina Telgemeier and Tim Sinclair

The most beautiful view I've ever seen from a school

Library Captains introducing Raina and Tim to their classes.

Tim enthralling the masses with amazing Parkour images.
Student Day
Reading Matters has two student days occurring simultaneously.  I was in the smaller group acting as the master of ceremonies and chairing panels with Morris Gleitzman and Libba Bray on history and humour, as well as Fiona Wood and Keith Gray on impossible things in YA.

Gayle Forman and Raina Telgemeier also gave presentations on their process to students from grades six to ten.

It was a full house with vibrant attendees, plugged in teachers and an assortment of awesome authors.
Gayle Forman killing it in front of the students.

Then hitting them with the truth...and a lie.

Raina showing her entry point into comic world - cartoons!

Raina answered questions while drawing (illustrated work behind her.)

The Reception

I am horrendous at remembering (or asking) authors for a photo so I'll now use (with permission) Danielle's happy snap from the evening.  Danielle is the brains behind Alpha Reader (and the blonde0 and it was also great pleasure to meet fellow bloggers Jess from Tales Compendium (I dragged her around by the hand and introduced her to every one - I am slightly afraid I terrorised her) and Emmaly from Mundie Mums (who is a dream).

The Conference

Work started on this conference well over nine months ago so it was wonderful to see so much hard work come to fruition.  I didn't take that many photos as I was typically walking around, talking to attendees or on stage chairing.  Here's a few snaps from the sessions...

Sarah Howell demonstrating Grimace  which is very cool.

Is there an app for that? panel with Paul Callaghan, Fiona Wood,
John Flanagan (standing) and chair Jordi Kerr.

The caterers used jellybeans as the focal point of their spread - genius!

Libba Bray, Garth Nix and Gabrielle Williams - book signing

Vikki Wakefield and Zac from Best Friends Are Books
If you are hungering for more information....Danielle wrote two fantastically comprehensive summaries of the two days of the conference, as did Zac.  The whole conference was also very Twitter-friendly and you can check out the conversation on #yamatters.

I was able to chair the 'Action!' panel with Gayle Forman, Raina Telgemeier and Tim Sinclair as the first panel of the conference   I also closed out proceedings with 'Unleashing YA' with Gayle Forman, Morris Gleitzman and Keith Gray.  I can honestly say I've never been so nervous to be on stage with authors than with that panel.

Friday Fight Night

Oh my this was fun.  Take three of our conference authors (Myke Bartlett, Garth Nix and Libba Bray) and pair them up with writers from the Emerging WRiters Festival in a battle of all thing holy - their talent.  What resulted?  Plenty of cussing, some beautiful pieces of work read aloud and Libba Bray OWNING the night.  Big credit to Tom Doig for matching her - impressed!

For a more detailed breakdown of events.

The Green Room

Gayle Forman, Morris Gleitzman and Myke Bartlett considering the
famous chocolate bowl.

My one picture with an author - the magical Fiona Wood.

The Centre for Youth Literature team together with the Reading
Matters author line up.  I am the one being kissed by Keith and prodded by Vikki.

 A momento
A present from Keith Gray.  He was immediately named Keith as was fitting.
The last leg of the Reading Matters journey was two days working with Geelong Regional Library.  It started off with an amazing meal at Jack and Jill's (delicious) and resulted in over three hundred students having time with Gayle Forman, Myke Bartlett and Vikki Wakefield.  Let's just say our road trip music was phenomenal!

We also had a public event at the Waurn Ponds Library - a full house - where we met blogger (and Gayle-diehard) Melissa from Book Nerd Reviews.  She's documented the evening comprehensively and is also running a competition to win a Gayle book signed....hurry along!
The middle dish....ostrich in honour of both real and toy Keith.

Myke reading from Fire in the Sea

Gayle Forman, Myke Bartlett and Vikki Wakfield talking to the smashing
students from Belmont Secondary.
On that note, Reading Matters was done for 2013.  It was a huge piece of work and I cannot be more proud to be part of the Centre for Youth Literature team (we're funny, check us on twitter).  I have a sackful of memories to take away from this experience and I cannot be more grateful for the generosity of the attendees, authors and partners we worked with over eleven days, two states and three cities.  We  promoted YA to over 1000 students and 500 youth literature professionals and enthusiasts.

I have the best job ever.

*I had to drop it.  It's been an eternity since I've used a Buffy reference.


Martina said...

Sounds Like you have been busy.

Anonymous said...

Wow what a wonderful event! Thanks for sharing:)

Christy Anderson said...

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