On Tuesday the 17th of May, the Junior Judges, group of students, went to Riverside Theatre in Parramatta for the Sydney Writers' Festival. At the Festival we heard four authors speak including John Boyne, Michael Grant, Vikki Wakefield and Clair Zorn.
The day began with the two international authors John Boyne and Michael Grant. John Boyne spoke about how he began his writing career with fan fiction and his progression into the Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. His story is an inspiration to us all. Then we heard from Michael Grant, author of the Gone series and his life before and after writing. He started writing very late in his life and has risen from his previous jobs on the streets. After listening to these two amazing authors, we got our very own copy of the Boy in the Striped Pyjamas signed. This copy may be borrowed from the library. We then had our lunch next to Parramatta River and we bought some more books for the library and ourselves. We returned to our seats for the next session with Vikki Wakefield and Clair Zorn.
Vikki Wakefield spoke about how she was felt she was different to other people and how that hindered her life. Afterwards we heard Clair Zorn talk about Making Stuff Up. She spoke about living in the Blue Mountains and having a huge backyard with no pony, which made her quite sad. She told us about how she struggled with English and especially with spelling. Funnily enough, she was one of our favourite authors that day.
After each author, we had the chance to ask questions. Unfortunately only one of our students was brave enough to ask a question which was, "What advice would you give to writers just starting out?" Vikki Wakefield replied, telling us to make small groups in school and share each other's ideas. We all agreed that it was great advice.
Sydney Writers' Festival was an amazing day and we were very lucky to have the opportunity to go. If given the chance again we would all eagerly take that chance again.
Mickaella Douglas on behalf of the Junior Judges