Sunday, August 21, 2011

Aireys Inlet Festival of Words 2011

I've just returned from the Aireys Festival of Words. Magic happened!

For years my friend, storyteller Bettina Nissen has banged on about how people give you things, special things, 'magic objects' she calls them. 'They are things that only storytellers are given because we recognise their value', she says. Bah! and Tosh! I have never been given such a thing. And then on Friday at Aireys Inlet Primary School, after telling the students the story of Phar Lap, a teacher presented me with this little wooden horse. It had been left behind by a past pupil who had been involved in a class project that centred around the story of Phar Lap and my book. I recognised it in an instant. A magic object! A palpable sign that my book matters. It will live on the shelf in the family room where I will see it every day and be reminded, in moments of doubt, that stories are important.

Following my wonderful Friday in the primary school with some of the most courteous and welcoming people I have met all year, I was programmed on Saturday to present alongside Elizabeth Honey and Roland Harvey.

Elizabeth Honey revealed her writing and illustrating process with us and read her story That's Not a Daffodil. As a gardener, I have to say - this book is a must. I weep to think that children are growing up without experiencing even the joy of growing a carrot top. But a daffodil! Now that's another kind of magic to share.

Roland's comedic eye and spectacular bending of space and perspective had the audience enthralled. With so much to share, he made good use of the lap top and digital projector.

There were so many wonderful things about this festival. As always a great opportunity to meet people working in the same field, the Saturday night dinner and the wonderful workshops and discussion panels, but there was also the walks along the cliff and the beach, the birds, the wattle and the cafes and the bookshop ...

Saturday was International Lighthouse Day and the flags were flying. How beautiful is this picture? It was also National Bookshop Day and the Aireys' bookshop was celebrating. Judging by the the bustle of people in the shop there is still great support for independent bookshops.

And now its time to unpack and repack the story box for a big week of storytelling in schools and kindergartens around Melbourne.

Think of me in the the traffic!

Listen to Phar Lap the wonderhorse recorded by Museum Victoria.

Phar Lap: audio

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