Hey cHEwY gum gums!

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Last week, I attended my second Somerset Celebration of Literature. It really is a celebration, for three days, authors and illustrators from around Australia and New Zealand came to Somerset College. Now in its 24th year, this festival continues to inspire kids from all over the Gold Coast region and beyond. Kids who traveled 3-4 hours by bus to get there, were as pumped as those who were in neighbouring schools. But these kids treated us like rock-stars haha. Maybe it was the buzz of the crowds, the music and photo booths, or yes…those fabolous dippin dots ice-cream and snow-cones that hyped up the kids. Okay, maybe it was our own books and creations too 🙂

One of the perks of this festival is that we get a few free sessions to watch other authors. I usually sit in the back with my laptop, taking down notes and chipping away at writing my own work. I like to think of it as an interactive/live podcast hehe. But I still breathe in the performances and techniques used to engage kids in their talks.

I got to see Robert Newton talk about his days as a firefighter. He just shoots straight down the line, and it comes across in his stories. I’ve been following Mick Elliott on his instagram, so it was cool to meet him for the first time. He has a real sleek presence on stage, part game-show host and storyteller. He dives straight into the crowd and extracts all kinds of cool stories from the kids. His books, The Turners are about turning into animals, so there were plenty of scary animal stories hehe.

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I also got to hear Matt Stanton as he premieres his latest Funny Kid series (think Wimpy Kid/Big Nate). It’s going to take off for sure. I also heard a bit from Nova Weetman speak about her books, I picked up ‘The Secrets That We Keep’ (CBCA Notable Book and ABIA short-listed book too) and I’m hooked on yet another story with a compelling character named Clem (I also played the fab Telltale Walking Dead games too lol).

Festivals are wonderful places to see old friends (like the cool Benjamin Law) and make many new ones like Matt Smith and the dynamic duo of Kate and Jol Temple who have written some very quirky picture books like Carrot Parrot and Jimmy Cook (whose also a CBCA notable book 2017 hehe)

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It’s festivals like these that make me thankful that I’m still rolling around in my cHEwY journey. I know I can’t these things for granted, so I always try to perform like it’s the last time I’ll ever be here. So it’s a good sign when festivals invite you back haha. I’ll take plenty of memories with me and they’ll live forever more on Twitter and Instagram 🙂

O.W