Masterclass at the Sydney Writer’s Festival
I been a little blog absent of late. I’ve just been so busy – writing to an approaching deadline and doing a number of day trips into educational literacy. One of those excursions involved holding a Masterclass for primary school students at the State Library as part of the Sydney Writer’s Festival.
For a number of years I’ve poured over the Festival program wishing I could make it to an event or two… or three… or ten. But I never expected to see my own name on the program. Was it exciting? Yes. And that’s a huge understatement.
It’s enormously thrilling for an author to find themself in a room full of kids who just want to write. I was inspired. But what happened next was even better. MAGIC. And none of it was coming from my pen. How’s this for an example? We were doing a building block exercise about descriptive writing – back to basics with metaphors, similes, alliteration and adjectives – giving familiar phrases a bit of a twist. Like a rainbow of lorikeets, one student wrote. The sky was filled with a city of stars, wrote another. Descriptions to die for!
We imagined, we pretended, we giggled, we banged a gong (all in the name of onomatopoeias), helped Snoopy finish off that troubling first line (It was a dark and stormy night never had so many possibilities applied to it) and even played a little “Australia’s Got… First Lines” (It goes without saying Australia’s got Talent, young literary talent, by the roomful!)
I wish I had a photo but I was enjoying myself so much I forgot to take the camera out of my bag. Still, I have heaps of memories and even received a little writerly advice when it comes to first lines. One of my suggestions was given an overwhelming majority of thumbs down.
I had a wonderful day and at the end of it the kids gave me a card saying they thought it was wonderful too.