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Brisbane Writers Festival 2017: Cheese is Sensible, Life Matters, and You’ve Got to “finish” Stuff

​Turning in to Stanley Street, murmurs of excitement wrapped around the bus seats.  A confluence of students from grade nine to eleven were about to embark on a day of literary reflection, entertainment and sheer inspiration.  The annual Brisbane Writer’s Festival, held at Southbank, never disappoints. 
Our first session with the exuberant Jackie French challenged students to reconsider how they interpret Shakespeare, to deconstruct the pretty padding in his words until they find the beauty.  She elaborated on ways in which readers of Shakespeare can position themselves to consider his works from his era’s social and cultural context.  In the end, we were left wondering just who they buried in Shakespeare’s grave. 
Then Noosa High student Lauren Hall did a fantastic job welcoming James Maloney for our second session.  He encouraged young writers to force themselves into uncomfortable and unknown writing situations to achieve their best. Maloney
expressed a desire to rip away the protective barriers on Young Adult Fiction, to help readers build empathy and resilience for the realities of life.  Interestingly, 50% of his time is spent rewriting work and he could not emphasise more the significance of revision.  Furthermore, he pointed out that some parts of his own work that he considered “cutting” were actually some of his fans’ favourites – which goes to show, that peer editing is vitally important. 

We ended the day with Garth Nix, who demonstrated that story-telling is a craft as he reeled in his audience to believe a lucky ring contributed to his writing success, but alas, the true point was that in writing, objects of significance help build worlds.  Nix impressed upon the audience that there is no one way to brainstorm, to plan, to prepare for writing, and that every author he knows goes about their work differently.  Reading an excerpt from ‘Frogkisser’, Nix’s latest novel for ages 9+, had many of us giggling aloud in our seats. But nothing gets us as excited as an early heads up on a book to film alert - ‘Frogkisser’ is being produced into an animated kid’s movie and the script is currently being written by the same person who created ‘Boss Baby’ – watch that space, and read the book first!