Tag Archives: writing

Melbourne Writers Festival

Our student reviewer is back! This week, with an account of some of the fun she experienced at the 2013 Melbourne Writers Festival.

As soon as we entered the first part of the trip, the 20 girls from years seven and eight knew the trip would be a lot of fun. And we were not disappointed, as the first session was a head to head battle between zombies and unicorns. Of course, unicorns won, but the debate between Margo Lanagan and Justine Larbalestier was very funny, and we gained an interesting insight into the lives of both zombies and unicorns.

Next we heard from some  award winning authors, and we heard about their journeys as writers and novelists. Myke Bartlett,  Leanne Hall and Melissa Keil shared with us some of the trials and tribulations of trying to get a book published, and even just writing a finished book. It was very useful to hear from people who had gone through the experience before, for any aspiring writers.

The final session taught us about inserting feeling into a story, and that unhappy characters make the best stories. James Roy showed us that many words does not necessarily make a story good, and that he could show us how short a story could be. His example was “For sale. Newborn shoes. Never worn.” From this example he showed us that no matter how long your story is, if it does not have emotion and a problem, the reader will not connect with it. After these three amazing workshops we were lucky enough to hear the final of the ‘Out Loud’ poetry competition. Overall this was an excellent experience and the girls would like to thank Mrs Shortal and Ms Murray for making it possible.

Stay tuned! Our student reviewer has more book reviews coming your way!


It’s holiday time!

Well, holidays are upon us again and I’m sure you’ll be doing some reading over the break – I know I will. Don’t forget to pop into the library to grab some holiday reading, we’ve got a range of new novels in that you’re sure to love.

For those writers among us, I thought I’d draw your attention to this article from The Age. It just goes to show that it doesn’t matter how old you are, you can still be an author. In fact, with the popularity of online publishing and ebooks, the game has changed – if you get your work out there, you never know what could happen!

Happy holidays girls!! 🙂

Author Visit – Marianne de Pierres

On Thursday 5th May, the Year Nine girls had a visit from Marianne de Pierres, author of ‘Burn Bright’ (our current book of the week) and many other titles.  She spoke about writing, and her background as a writer, as well as giving the students an insight into the construction of her latest novel.  We even listened as Marianne read the first chapter of ‘Burn Bright’ aloud.  It’s always kind of cool to hear a writer read their own work because they know it so intimately.

Marianne is an engaging speaker, who also shed some light on the life of a writer; including a discussion of what a typical day is like for a writer, the way book covers are designed, and some of the weird and wonderful people she’s met over the years.  Marianne has had some interesting ‘add on’ experiences as a result of her writing, like having one of her books made into a role play, and having a song written and released that connects to ‘Burn Bright’.

I’ve read ‘Burn Bright’ – it’s a dark and intriguing novel, set in a world that is highly original.  I’m afraid I’m hooked, and I’m looking forward to the release of the next in the series, ‘Angel Arias’. The Nicholas Library has four copies of ‘Burn Bright’, so come on in and borrow one!

Below is a link to Marianne’s website and a book trailer for ‘Burn Bright’ which was made and released by Random House.


Book Review: ‘August’ by Bernard Beckett

If you’re looking for something to read that’s a little left of centre or something that will make you think, then ‘August’ by Bernard Beckett may be the book for you.

Set in a world undefined by time, where cloistered religious communities exist alongside the bustle of the ‘heathen’ settlements, we are introduced to Tristan and Grace.  As the novel opens, we realise that these two young people are trapped, upside down, in a car wreck.  Both are badly injured but conscious, and as the night stretches out before them, and with no hope of imminent rescue, the two begin to talk.  As each tells their story, it transpires that they have shared a connection for years, despite only meeting for the first time quite recently.  Tristan, raised in seclusion by a formidable Rector, is a young man of philosophy and ideas – but only a boy when it comes to worldly experience.  Grace, ejected from a convent, is a woman of the street.  As the night passes slowly, each discovers more and more about the other’s past, until all that is left is to discover what freedom and free will really is.

The characters are what make this story.  Beckett gives us absolutely not idea as to what era the story is set in, but that doesn’t really matter because it’s really easy to get caught up in the story of Tristan and Grace.  There is quite a strong religious theme running through the novel, and some of the philosophical discussions that take place between Tristan and the Rector can be very involved.  There is a lot of discussion about the notion of freedom, and about God, and about whether man truly has free will and the ability to choose.  If anything, it will leave you with some interesting ideas to ponder upon.  Beckett writes very smoothly, and the language is not difficult, even if the content can sometimes be tricky to follow.

‘August’ is a little bit challenging, but ultimately very compelling.  I would recommend it to students from Year Nine and up, and would definitely encourage any of our philosophy students to give it a try.  The library has three copies and two of them are signed by Bernard himself.

We want YOU to write for the blog!

Now that the Premier’s Reading Challenge has begun, and you’re all reading lots of fantastic new books, we thought that you might like to share your reading experiences!

We’re inviting all students to contribute to this blog by submitting a short review of a book you’ve read.  It could be a book you really liked and want to rave about, or it could be a book that was raved about that just didn’t deliver.  Reviews are all about sharing you thoughts on the plot, the characters and they way the book was written.

If you’d like to write a review, please ensure it’s no longer than 200 words and that you aren’t giving away any of the good bits!

Reviews can be emailed to Ms White at kwhite@stcatherines.net.au.

Everyone who writes a review will have their review published on the blog, and when your review goes live, we’ll give you a little prize as a way of saying thank you for your contribution.

So happy reading and now, happy writing! 🙂

New Author – Steph Bowe

There are up and coming authors writing new books all the time, but I thought I’d feature new writer Steph Bowe for a few reasons.  Firstly, her debut novel (‘Girl Saves Boy’) has just been released and it’s a bit of a corker, and secondly – Steph is only sixteen.

On Tuesday, I had the pleasure of hearing Steph and some other authors speak about their books.  Steph was very eloquent; she spoke about how she has always loved to write and how the story of ‘Girl Saves Boy’ just came to her and wouldn’t leave her alone – so she wrote it down.

Prior to the release of her novel, Steph has been writing a blog for over a year.  On it, you’ll find some examples of her writing, reviews of books she’s read, and discussion about what inspires her.  I found her to be not only talented, but a really down-to-earth individual who just wants to continue doing what she loves to do: write stories.

‘Girl Saves Boy’ is the story of a girl, Jewel, who saves a boy, Sascha, from drowning in a lake.  They strike up a friendship, but there are a few issues involved.  For one, Sascha has a terminal disease, and Jewel isn’t exactly without problems either.  It’s a tale that’s both sad and funny, and a little bit unexpected.

We have two copies in the library, one has been signed by Steph herself.

Steph’s blog can be found at: http://heyteenager.blogspot.com/