It’s already May and I’ve been posting about school visits and reading the books I bought at Somerset Celebration of Literature. Now here is the first part of my rundown on the day. More to come.
Summary of my day at Somerset 15th March 2018 – Part One By Jill Smith©May 2018
Combining what I’ve previously put on my blog about the day, each person’s bio in the Somerset Programme. Then I’m going to say what I saw and what I thought. I hope this will give you insight into the day I experienced. I’ll need to do this in daily segments as each session was about 45 minutes long and I wrote copious notes.
9.15 to 10 Jaclyn Moriarty
Jaclyn Moriarty is well-known as the prize-winning, bestselling author of novels for young adults (and sometimes for slightly older adults). A former media and entertainment lawyer, Jaclyn’s books include the Ashbury-Brookfield series and the Colours of Madeleine trilogy. The first two books in that trilogy were both awarded the NSW Premier’s Literary Award and the Queensland Literary Award.
The first thing on entering the venue was a book cover on the screen – The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone. She explained a bit about why Bronte grew up with her aunty.
I loved how she explained a little about her life but had the kids wondering how she learned to stand up to a bully, and how she learned to swear. This story had the students in the palm of her hand.
Jaclyn then explained that she was one of six kids and to receive their pocket money they each had to tell a story. Every night before she went to sleep she told a story.
As you get older people tell you YOU CAN’T rather than YOU CAN. She always wanted to prove them wrong and become a writer. She studied law and waited till she became a Lawyer, then she would write a book. She decided she wanted to be a writer in England, she moved to Australia. She was a Lawyer in Sydney when the 2000 Olympics were on. The Olympic Torch relay went past her building. She didn’t want to wait anymore, that was when she decided to try again.
Then she wrote a book. Her first book was Feeling Sorry of Celia.
Jaclyn then brought up images of the different covers of her book – The Australian cover, the English cover and the American cover. She asked the kids which they liked best.
She went on to explain her love of colours and their meanings –
Green – loves nature, good heart, fresh rainforest, people feel calm
Blue – heal or cure illness, very friendly, good to friends
Yellow – least likely peoples favourite colour, babies cry, studying and optimistic, her favourite colour
Red – Smart, danger, makes you feel warm
My notes became a bit disjointed at this point as I became as engrossed as Jaclyn’s audience.
Jaclyn said she always writes a plan. She said her sister (Laine) never plans, she just writes.
She has a blue bowl filled with chocolates and strawberries on her desk when she writes. She walks across the Sydney Harbour Bridge and back. She wrote a chapter on a cliff. Her favourite smell is cinnamon. Smells evoke memories. She draws on these memories to write.
Jaclyn asked the students what were their earliest memories were?
The answers were interesting and demonstrated where ideas for stories can come from.
A – One said they remember being in a high chair, she threw fruit on the floor and wondering why everyone was looking at her.
A – said she drew on his sisters’ picture even though she was told not to. Jaclyn said that was a moment of defiance.
A – one said adults asked him how he could draw sitting on a couch, he said it’s my spot.
A – Another said first memory was the shock of falling out of a boat.
A – uttered a first full sentence in the back of the car, only having said words to this point, and his mum nearly had an accident.
Jaclyn said these are all triggers. When she writes she asks – what is this characters earliest memory? Why? How could that make the character who they are?
Questions at the end of the session from the students –
Q – What’s the difference between Australian and American writing?
A – Places may sound strange to Americans – she wrote in one book about a cliff at The Gap – American clothing company called The Gap – confusing to them. In Australia, we use some bad language and Americans don’t like that. Different spelling in some cases and different meanings such as in Australia we say kitchen bench while in America that’s a chair to sit on.
This session went very quickly and I enjoyed it immensely. I’d already purchased A Corner of White, I asked her to sign it before leaving, knowing that at the bookshop there can be long ques for signatures and I did have the next session to go to. I’d already read the blurb and first chapter while waiting to get into the Seniors Common room at the start of the day. You can see my review on the Book Reviews Children’s/YA’s tab.