LIAN TANNER

Brisbane Writers Festival

April 21st, 2021

Last year I was supposed to go to the Brisbane Writers Festival. But of course, like so many other things, it was cancelled. So this year they’re having bits of last year’s festival online.

Especially Word Play, the children’s sessions.

Here’s how to watch it, as an individual, a family or a school. https://bwf.org.au/word-play/watching-word-play-2021

When they first asked me if I’d be happy to do a recorded session, I said a very nervous yes. This was halfway through last year, and I was still figuring out things like lighting, sound, and how to make an online presentation interesting.

But it’s ages away, I thought. And I decided not to worry about it until it happened.

Since then, of course, I’ve done a number of recording sessions, and learnt stuff with each one. One of the most useful things I’ve discovered is that front lighting isn’t enough, and that I need a backlight as well, to make me look three-dimensional.

I’ve also discovered that I actually like recording, because I can play around with pictures and transitions and chook noises in the background. It’s still not as good as a live session, from my point of view, because I can’t see the audience, and I’m not getting any of that lovely feedback where people laugh or smile or put their hand up.

But it’s a lot better than I thought it would be.

The session I did for BWF is half interview (with Verity Hunt-Ballard) and half talk. They titled it ‘The Power of Daydreaming’ which is a bit weird, because the daydreaming section is only very small. Mostly it’s about how I use my own life (and my own chooks) in my writing, and how you can do the same thing.

You can watch it here, from 9 AM on May 17. https://bwf.org.au/2021/word-play/the-power-of-daydreaming-with-lian-tanner

If you get to see it, I hope you enjoy it!

What am I reading?

The Lost Stone of Skycity by HM Waugh is an exciting Australian kids’ novel from Fremantle Press. It’s set in the mountains where Sunaya and her same age nephew have been sent to take the family goatals to their summer pastures. But it’s far too early in the year, which breaks an age-old agreement with the mythical Ice people. At least, the Ice people are meant to be mythical. But it turns out they are very real.

Cover of book The Lost Stone of Sky City, with a girl clinging to the hand of a boy who is hanging over an abyss.

I really enjoyed this. Sunaya is a great main character, and the magical world of the mountains is very convincing. Plus the goatals are gorgeous.

And speaking of gorgeous. How to Make a Bird by Meg McKinlay (author) and Matt Ottley (illustrator) is probably the most beautiful picture book I have ever read. The words and pictures come together seamlessly to create something magical and deeply moving.

Book cover, How to Make a Bird. Sky, clouds and birds flying into the great beyond.

What are you reading? Anything interesting? I’m always on the lookout for good books to add to Mount TBR!

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