May 31, 2011

Reading Matters 2011

Last Friday and Saturday I went to my first-ever writing conference: Reading Matters, the SLV Centre for Youth Literature's biennial youth literature conference. Heading in on Friday felt a bit like the first day of school: would I know anyone?, would I have to eat lunch alone? I needn't have worried. Not only did I know a few faces in the crowd, but everyone I met over the two days was extraordinarily lovely and welcoming and generous.

My notes from the sessions are scant, and many are also unintelligible*, so if you want a proper wrap-up I suggest you head to My Girl Friday, where Steph has written an amazing four-part summary of day 1, and Literary Life, where Megan has summed up day 2.

My personal highlights:
  • meeting people I'd previously only known via their blogs and Twitter (like Steph and Megan and Adele), and authors I have admired from afar, and some really interesting librarians
  • catching up with the lovely folks from Walker Books
  • sneak-preview readings from upcoming books by Markus Zusak, Cassandra Clare and Karen Healey
  • hearing about other people's writing and research processes - Cassie Clare almost got Holly Black arrested while she was scoping out a disused smallpox hospital in NY; Ursula Dubosarsky studied Charles Blackman's paintings of schoolgirls; JC Burke gutted a pig...
  • Brenton McKenna describing his distress when he realised as a kid that comics were not diaries written by superheroes, and his tales of his superhero-in-her-own-right gran
  • Oliver Phommavanh, who warned us that his session with Richard Newsome would be LOUD, and delivered on his promise
  • the Love and Other Bruises panel - some of my fave Aussie contemporary YA authors discussing writing believable love stories (and moderated with aplomb by Kate)**
Most of all, Reading Matters was an incredible opportunity to immerse myself in (other people's) books and writing for a couple of days, from which I emerged invigorated and inspired. Roll on RM13!

* I'm sure whatever prompted me to jot down 'hot feet on a cool patch' made perfect sense at the time, but three days later, notsomuch.
** My only complaint was that this session was way too short - more swoon next time, please!


  1. thank you for saying such a nice thing about me. but the pig gutting made me feel worse than the moderating. which is saying A LOT.

    i had such a great time over the weekend, though was v exhausted afterwards!

  2. Must admit, I kept my eyes down for Jane's slideshow. My note from that session is: "Way easier to research romance"!