I've just returned from three amazing days in Auckland at the Storylines Hui - a conference for children's book writers and illustrators. Here are some notes from the sessions I attended...
Workshop: Great ideas and writing texts for picture books with Kyle Mewburn
Kyle took us a high-octane roller-coaster ride of his tips and tricks:
Workshop: Illustrating children's books with Gavin Bishop
Gavin took us through his journey into children's books, which began with a degree in fine arts. Listening to his story was an absolute delight. Here are some of the pointers I took away:
We all had the opportunity to pitch to publishers and agents if we wanted to. I pitched to three publishers. I need to work on my pitch, but I really appreciated the chance to meet the publishers and hear their feedback.
I'm including a line about our conference dinner because our table won third prize in the 'design a label for a bottle of wine' competition! We won for 'The Little Yellow Swigger' (other possible label ideas included 'The Wine in the Meadow' and 'Duck Drunk').
Workshop: Illustration for children's picture books with Vasanti Unka
I love Vasanti's work and her workshop was really useful. Some top takeaways include:
Workshop: Writing catchy poetry for children with Paula Green
I entered the workshop with some serious FOMO (David Elliot was giving a workshop at the same time, which I missed) but Paula's session was an absolute delight.
The conference finished with a wonderful speech from Joy Cowley, who spoke about the power of books to affirm and empower children. It was a fabulous hui and I'm already looking forward to the next one!
2023 Burns fellow Kathryn van Beek has an MA from Victoria University Wellington - Te Herenga Waka’s International Institute of Modern Letters. She is a winner of the Mindfood Short Story Competition and the Headland Prize. Her collection of short stories, Pet, is available as a podcast, and her work has also appeared in Overland, takahē, Newsroom, and the Sunday Star-Times. She lives in UNESCO City of Literature Ōtepoti Dunedin with her two rescue cats.