Another Triumph for TLC

TLC is often used as an acronym for ‘tender loving care’, which I have always thought appropriate for The Literature Centre, where the annual Celebrate Reading Conference was held over this last Friday and Saturday. Always stimulating and thought provoking, this year’s conference delivered some powerful and heartfelt emotions from presenters and delegates alike. Rarely seen on conference platforms elsewhere, the Celebrate Reading Conference seems to create such a supportive and nurturing atmosphere that even presenters who are nervous in front of an audience, become more and more relaxed as the two-day conference progresses. Over the eight years this Conference has been running people have frequently speculated about how this remarkable bonding effect is produced. My theory is that, apart from the hard work and dedication of the staff, there are physical aspects that predispose all the participants to developing strong friendships with each other.

Firstly there is the fact that the presenters, most of them coming from interstate, live, work, eat and socialise together in the Literature Centre’s own Residence. They already have children’s literature as a passion and a profession in common. And as they share sleeping, cooking and bathroom facilities, and the need to put the final touches to their imminent presentations, most of their inhibitions fall away – except for one or two that might be blamed on the resident ghost. By the end of their stay most of them have become firm friends.

Added to this is the fact that the delegates attending the Conference are also thrown together in an enclosed environment. The single stream format allows for all the delegates to be present for the many and varied sessions. They already share a passion for children’s literature and most of them work with children in some capacity. So many of them know each other, but once they enter the friendly and supportive atmosphere of TLC they too become relaxed. The stresses and rivalries of their outside lives seem to fall away as old acquaintances greet each other and new friendships are formed. Of course there is also wonderful food, which they don’t have to prepare, served during the breaks and wine and nibbles to relax with at each of the sundowners. These are absolute luxuries for busy people and certainly add to the ambiance while fuelling our minds and allowing us time for discussion, reflection and contemplation.

If you have never been to a Celebrate Reading Conference put it on your calendar immediately. It is held each year in late October/early November at The Literature Centre, http://www.thelitcentre.org.au

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