What a treat! After being a presenter at the International Book Fair in Bologna, a speaker at the AFCC Conference in Singapore, and a workshop presenter at the Creative Writing Camp in Singapore and at the schools on the Cocos Islands, all in one year, it was a real luxury for me to simply relax and soak up the atmosphere of the annual Celebrate Reading National Conference at The Literature Centre in Fremantle.
Celebrate Reading is always an inspiring event. The single stream format with a carefully thought-out mix of individual speakers, panel sessions, readings and illustrators demonstrating their art, provides something for everyone. The meticulous attention to detail of The Literature Centre staff ensures that every part of the programme runs smoothly. Of course acts of God can not be foreseen, but when they do occur you can be confident that these versatile, hard-working people will not only have a Plan B, but they will be able to switch to it with a minimum of disruption. Indeed the first two Celebrate Reading Conferences were challenged. The first by a heatwave and the second by a violent storm. So when the air-conditioning unit in the main marquee broke down at the beginning of day two of this, the fourth Conference, we all thought, ‘Oh oh. Here we go again.’ But the sides of the marquee were opened up and, after an hour or so, the Fremantle Doctor came in and saved the day. And what a great day it was. We laughed, we cried and we came away enriched by the quality of the speakers and the books they produce.
Many, many thanks to the Director, Lesley Reece, and the dedicated team of staff and volunteers she is able to gather around her to help promote top quality Australian children’s literature.