SCBWI VIC Quarterley Gathering


The SCBWI Vic quarterly gathering was held on a gorgeous sunny day, 18 May at the Docklands Library Performance Space in Melbourne. We are so lucky to have a great venue for our gatherings. I’ll take a picture of the seating next time because it really is comfy and as you can see has lovely views from the breakout room.

ARA Caz Goodwin who does an amazing job welcomed around fifty attendees including many of our new members who also attended our last Meet and Greet. First up was our Show and Tell segment where members share publication or other good news about their creative endeavours. What a talented lot.

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Our first speaker was member and previous Vic ARA, Corinne Fenton who writes beautiful picture-book histories of animals whose lives have become legendary. Corinne took us on a journey where we discovered how she came up with her ideas from watching a puppy rolling in the shadows to reading the emotional story of a beloved elephant, and how heart matters in writing.

Corinne’s books are certainly full of heart and we got to see her latest book, A Cat Called Trim, the true story of Trim, the courageous, mischievous and fearless cat who sailed with Matthew Flinders on his voyages to map the coastline of Australia and beyond. 

Next, we were treated to an insight into the use of symbols as an illustrative language and how we all make symbolic choices when we work, whether it be colour choice or background details. Melbourne-based Illustrator/author and fine artist, Elise Hurst has illustrated 30 books and is currently illustrating one of Neil Gaiman’s novels, ‘The Ocean at the end of the Lane’. I think many of us will be eager to check that out.
Using examples from two of her picture books, Girl on Wire and Adelaide’s Secret World,

Elise showed how the gold backgrounds at the beginning and at the end are a contrast to the grey inner spreads or how the clouds look like a wolf when the girl is at her most fearful. I don’t have pictures of those but do check out Elise’s books for these details.

In Adelaide’s Secret World the main character wears red to show she is hopeful and brave. It was a fascinating talk and Elise’s illustrations are remarkable.

Then it was time for our hour of chatting, exchanging ideas, getting to know each other and generally soaking up the wonderful atmosphere created at SCBWI, while sampling the yummy afternoon tea.

Our final speaker was Alison Arnold, editor and writer who spent many years in-house (Black Dog Books and Text Publishing) before going freelance and who also runs writing and wellness retreats with Cath Crowley. Ali gave us fascinating insights into the author-editor relationship, helpful tips when editing and the editorial process, having an agent vs the slush pile, those important first two chapters of your submission, how voice and a unique story are what can woo an editor, and lots of other information. Ali also stopped for Q&A throughout with was great.

Following our event, we continued our chatting at the Watermark which is a short stroll on the waterfront. Thanks, as always to everyone who attended, our fabulous speakers and our committee, Caz Goodwin, Jess Rackyleft, Jo Burnell and Kaye Baillie. Our next event will be 27 July.

Posted by Kaye Baillie.