I’m becoming familiar with the freeway to Geelong, travelling there at least weekly these days. So although it was early, my car knew the way on Saturday as we travelled to the CBCA Vic Conference, held at Deakin Uni on the bay. It’s a great venue, rebuilt to incorporate old woolstores. It’s modern and industrial all at once and a great place for a conference.

I was lucky enough to facilitate a session called ‘Reading Pictures’ with Ann James, Anna Walker and Nicki Greenberg. As a writer who doesn’t illustrate, I am fascinated by those who illustrate their own work and those who illustrate the work of others. So I had no problem gathering questions. I also asked my panel what questions they would like me to ask. I could have kept chatting to them for hours, trying to understand how they fill the spaces between the words and how they choose medium and style. But there were other sessions to be getting on with so it had to end.

I volunteered to help with art workshops in the afternoon too, so was able to hear a little more about some of the way these skilled and talented people work. The three illustrators above were joined by James Foley in running concurrent mini workskhops.

And because that’s not enough in one day, friend and colleague Sue Lawson and I also launched our new books, with the help of the wonderful Scot Gardner. (I bought his new novel Changing Gear on Sat and by Sunday night had finished it. LOVE his work). Sue co-wrote ‘Nganga‘ with Aunty Fay Muir (who unfortunately wasn’t well enough to join us). It’s a collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander words, their origins, pronunciations and meanings. It’s a fabulous book and hopefully will find it’s way into every classroom in the country. I shared ‘Bird to Bird’. Both these books are published by the wonderful Black Dog Books and Maryanne Ballantyne. Bird to Bird is illustrated by Wayne Harris. We were also assisted by Steve Spargo, Walker Books Education guru and all round good guy. Thanks to CBCA for letting us share our projects.

And then we all went to dinner in the function room of the new Geelong Library. Fabulous space, delicious dinner, good company, with a selection of authors and illustrators revealing a favourite children’s book from their childhood.