How do you explain….

I’m freshly returned from Sydney and the CBCA NSW State conference, mind-boggled, yet also head-cleared.

Make sense? Hmm. No, probably not.

The state conference was organised after the scheduled National CBCA conference was cancelled. It was held at Menzies Hotel in inner Sydney. I think there were around 400 delegates. It was a two day program that seems to have been both much shorter and much longer than that.

Speakers included many of Australia’s superstars from the children’s literature world, from Marcus Zuzak, Jackie French, James Roy (hilarious after-dinner speech), Libby Gleeson, Bruce Whatley, Armin Greder, Margaret Wild, Julie Vivas, Bob Graham, Shaun Tan and many more. There were also appearances from newer writers and illustrators who are rapidly rising in prominence.

Highlights for me included hearing three picture book ‘teams’ talking about their processes. What was fascinating was the different ways these partnerships work. Some collaborate before the work begins, some during its creation and others not really at all.

Another highlight was seeing friends make their conference ‘debuts’ as speakers. Sally Murphy and Sherryl Clark talked poetry. Dee White and Sandy Fussell were full of information on creating an online presence.

But as always, the best part of the conference is the mingling and chatting and eating and drinking with fellow writers and illustrators. There’s no way to measure the benefit of this part of the conference, but I always come home reenergised and raring to get going on my own projects.

And as at the last few national conferences, Sally Murphy, Sue Whiting and I had a sleepover. A fantabulous way to wind down and absorb the fun of the conference, before the return to ‘normal’ life. Thanks Sue!

I wish I had pictures but I forgot my camera! I’m sure I’ve missed stuff…will add as I recall…