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Hey cHEwY gum gums

The Sydney Writers Festival has come and gone, a sunny weekend greeted many booklovers at Carriageworks. On Sunday, the kids writers came out to play as Family Day took over the outdoor stage. Once confined to one of the indoor stages, the outdoor space meant that they attracted many bystanders, it was something you couldn’t miss.

But yeah, Sunday for me was a jam-packed day. I arrived at 9am and went non-stop until 4. I had 5 sessions as MC on stage, and it was pretty fun. Thankfully, each show was different and kept me on my toes, literally haha.

First up, we celebrated Ginger Meggs 100th birthday with great-great nephew Tristian Bancks writing four fresh stories with one of Australia’s beloved comic-strip funnies. Guest Cartoonist, Jules Faber stepped in to help kids draw Ginger Meggs hehe. Then we went on a journey to care for our country, as author Kirli Saunders and illustrator buddy Dub Leffer spoke about their work, Bindi. Afterwards, we got a taste of Paris, with Bonjour Claris (hey, that rhymes haha) with Megan Hess and Owen Lynch talking about the most fashionable mouse in kidslit.

I got to play a small part in the Ben Wood and Andrew McDonald Real Pigeons Live Mystery show. They are such nice guys and run a tight, funny show which had enough interactivity to get the kids engaged.

To wrap up my time at the stage, I co-hosted the Illustrator Battle Rounds with Tristian Bancks, where 6 illustrators were pitted against each other. We only had 30 minutes so the illustrator just drew once, but it was still a ton of fun. The crowds were cheering the teams on.

This was extra special because I got to meet Remy Lai for the first time (more in a future blog post), who is one of my favourite Asian-Australian authors kicking goals at the moment.

In between the stage fun, I got to venture to the illustrators spotlight corner, Russ the Story Bus and the storytime tent as well. That’s where I got to see the hardest working illustrator, Mick Elliott who was offering free cartoon self-portraits for 6 hours straight.

So yeah, what a day! But what an awesome day! By the time I went on my shuttle bus to Sydney airport to catch a flight to Brisbane, I was pooped! But I was buzzing from being a part of my favourite writers festival. I didn’t realised I miss the festival so much until it was cancelled last year, but I’m glad it was back 🙂


About the author

I'm an author, stand-up comedian and teacher. My books include Thai-riffic!, Con-nerd, Punchlines and The Other Christy. I'm a massive Nintendo fan and love eating burgers. Follow me on Twitter or Instagram @oliverwinfree

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