Yes, it was that time again! Time for Australia’s kidlit writers to come out to play at last Saturday’s WritingNSW Kids and YA Festival.
It’s hard to believe two years have passed since the last Kids and YA Festival at WritingNSW (you can read my round-up of the last festival here if you’d like your memory jogged.) This year’s event was just as wonderful, with quotes flying left, right and everywhere. Some of you know how much I love a good writing quote, so I thought I’d base this year’s round-up on the best (and quirkiest) quotes I heard.
Here are a few of my favourites from the day:
Jacqueline Harvey, best-selling author of the Alice-Miranda, Clementine Ross, and Kensy and Max series (with me in left pic), on how to have a best-selling series – “Fall in love with your characters and have great plots. Don’t dumb plots down; they can be complicated.”
And Jacqueline doing a little cheeky name-dropping – “Marcus Zusak (author of the best-seller, The Book Thief) told me to think of the obvious and do the opposite.”
Belinda Murrell, author of the Lulu Bell, Timeslip, and Pippa’s Island series (with me in pic below), gave some cold hard facts – “In 60% of kid’s books, males are the central character. 20% had no girls who speak.” And if that’s not disturbing enough, Belinda (who was also Festival Director) added that, “Boys speak twice as often in books as girls do.” Gender bias rears its ugly head again…
But on a lighter note from Belinda: “You must back your protagonist. And include yummy food.” 🙂
Which led us to hilarious comedy writer, Oliver Phommavanh (in right pic). When asked what he wanted to be when he grew up – “A dinosaur.” 🙂
Yvette Poshoglian, author of the Ella and Olivia series, on growing that thick skin – “You never get the words to the page without critical feedback. Sometimes you just have to back yourself as a writer.”
Then there was writer, publisher and educational consultant, Louise Park – “Education publishing is a good way to get published. And it’s usually a flat fee so you know what (and how much) you’ll be paid.”
And YA writer, Megan Jacobson – “We do teen readers a disservice by not writing about the dark issues.”
As well as YA debut author, Eleni Hale – “Imagination is something we don’t talk about enough.”
And novelist and critic, James Bradley – “All writing is about vulnerability.”
Before we came to Aussie fantasy writing legend, Garth Nix (in left pic). Garth on writing voices – “I’m often asked how I write women’s perspectives but never asked how I write the voices of fantastical monsters.”
And Garth on writing fantasy – “When I start out trying to work contemporary realism, something creepy always happens…and once I draw the map, it’s all over.”
Then there was Kate Forsyth, Australia’s historical fiction queen (in right pic), on the business of writing – “An author needs to be the engine of their own success.”
And Jaclyn Moriarty (yes, one of those Moriarty sisters) on writing rules – “You often read rules about writing, like ‘write every day’, which makes me feel insecure, because I don’t.”
The very funny R.A.Spratt on earning a writing income – “Being a children’s author is like being a nun…you get no money and you’re basically doing it out of the goodness of your heart.” 😉
As multi-media creative, Graham Davidson, noted – “This is the age of digital disruption, after all.”
So what entices the reluctant reader? What drags kids away from their gadgets and devices?
Of the Top Ten children’s books sold in Australia last year , nine were humorous (all with male authors). The other was fantasy (with a female author). Go figure.
And the quote to end all quotes must come from Belinda Murrell: “I met my publisher in a pub”. Yes, people, it can be done…
On that note, until next time,
Happy writing, 🙂