Hey cHEwY gum gums!

I’m writing this at Melbourne airport, ready to head back to Sydney after a whirlwind trip to Melbourne. It was my first time to my second favourite Aussie city in over a year and a half, so I made the most of my few days here.

I visited a few bookstores before I got ready for the Carey Literature Festival. It still blows my mind that they can squeeze in so many authors onto one day’s billing, but they did that on Wednesday. From old timers such as Nova Weetman and Michael Pryor, to fresh faces such as Gabriel Bergmoser and Alex Dyson, it was nice to catch up with everyone. It was kinda like a return leg of The Newington Lit Fest in Sydney, as I bumped into Scot Gardner and Mark Smith again hehe.

So yesterday flew by with workshops with Grade 7 and 9. Then last night, I caught up with some Melbourne authors, Adrian Beck and Andrew McDonald, as well as meeting cool comic illustrator, Scot Edgar. We chatted over beers about the kidslit scene and life of an author. Actually Nova Weetman and I had a good chat about author life which I’ll share in a future blog post hehe.

Today was the highlight though, my 10th school visit to Dandenong High School. Yes, I’m old haha. It was the return to the most supportive school of my cHEwY journey. All these cool kids from the suburbs, lapped up all the jokes and routines about Thai-riffic!, a book that they still study to this day. They have a great teacher-librarian who has become like an old friend as we catch up on life each year. Obviously, COVID killed my author visit streak, but it only made today even more special, as we returned a little closer to somewhat-normal. You gotta have to travel like it may the last time you can do it for awhile. Not that I took for Melbourne for granted, in a typical year, I would spend a month here visiting schools. It’s my second home. I love everything about it. The burger scene is epic. The live scene trumps over Sydney. And the bookstores are pound for pound, champions for kids books.

I can’t wait to go back again!


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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