SCBWI Victoria has quarterly meetings and each year one of them is in the country. It's a bit tricky trying to site it somewhere that's not too far away for Melbourne members to attend, while being accessible to as many non-urban members as possible. These meetings are also open to non-member local writers, illustrators, teachers, librarians, bookshoppers, and any interested others!
This quarterly meeting was in Kilmore. We met in a circular room attached to the library and shire offices. Our first speaker was Lorraine Marwood, talking about the impact of winning the Prime Minister's Award for her verse novel, Star Jumps.
Second speaker, Kim Rackham, has recently qualified as an early childhood teacher and how her approach to story has been altered by both looking at books in an academic and educative way, and by working so directly with young children. She is new to speaking about her work, although not to writing. She spoke as if she'd been doing it for years!
Corinne King invited all to share in my recent Crystal Kite win. It was a lovely way to celebrate, with cake and sparklers in the midst of book people. The Crystal Kite Award is a peer-voted award, and 'There Was an Old Sailor' wouldn't have won without the votes of SCBWI members. Thank you to them all. Thank you to Corinne for making me cry with her lovely words!
After a luscious afternoon tea, we reassembled to listen to Carole Wilkinson. She talked about her almost accidental introduction to writing fiction and non fiction. We heard about her writing practice (disciplined) and how she moves from idea to story. She also divulged the challenge of research - knowing when to stop researching and to start writing. Her Dragonkeeper books are wonderful and her non fiction fascinating. The afternoon, as always, sped by.
A group of us stayed after the meeting to share dinner then a smaller group travelled to Monegeetta for a writer/illustrator sleepover, and to solve all the problems of the book-related world.