Wednesday, 7 October 2015

The next best 10 things about Tinderbox 2015

I said I might need another list...

1. The Wellington weather. We're used to it. (More or less.) People coming from further afield were worried and wanted advice about what clothes to pack to cope with all possible eventualities. We provided style advice (courtesy of Adele Jackson ) - but it was hardly needed. The forecast rain didn't arrive, the sun shone and people even ate lunch outside! (OK, there was a bit of wind.)

2. Our fantastic sponsors. The Children's Bookshop, Wellington Combined Taxis, Four Winds Foundation, Gordon Harris, Forest and Bird Association, Flight coffee, Whittaker's chocolate, Skinfood, Trilogy, Healthpak - so grateful to them all for filling our conference bags, helping out our budget, topping up our caffeine levels and providing extra treats that made everything even better and more delicious.

3. Connections. Did I say that before? But it was just so good to put faces to names and profile posts. I tried to get round everyone to say hello; I think I missed about 10 or 12 people (sorry!) but I had wonderful conversations with so many others.

4. Special guest visit from Andy Griffiths, described by Kim Hill as "the punk rock star of children's literature." How lucky were we!!!!! (I know you're not supposed to go overboard on exclamation marks, but Andy Griffiths is worth a few.)

And the sessions, of course. Because I couldn't clone myself and go to everything, these are just some of the sessions that I managed to get to. I know from overhearing other people's conversations (something writers are good  at doing) that other sessions were equally brilliant, and you can read more about our speakers here. But here are a few:

5. Spontaneous Combustion, or Lightning Talks - 7 talks, 8 people (because 2 shared a spot), 10 minutes each and a very strict time keeper; great way to find out what people are doing in a short time - too short - we could have happily listened to them all for much longer (if not for the timetable) (and the strict time-keeper).

6. Sharon Holt - human dynamo - flew in for the day from another conference and  bowled us over with the story of the development of her te reo singalong books.

Book 10: KĊrero Mai

7. Social media with Alexandra Lutyens, who demystified  the whole process, told us about social platforms we'd never heard of and helped us to identify which ones might be most helpful for us.

8.   Penny Fitt, Associate Director at Toi Whakaari, talking about Stories we tell ourselves and Failure as a normal part of the creative business for all of us. ("Am I being creative at all," she asked, "if there's no risk of anything at all?")

9. The non-Illustrators among us only have photographic evidence to prove it, but the Illustrators Day on Monday sounded like a roaring success. If you were in town on Monday afternoon, that was the happy band you noticed, wending their way from studio to studio down Cuba St.

The Art Room set up ready for Illustrators Day

10. Meanwhile, any of the writers who were still in town (and not too exhausted) had a more sedate visit to the National Library, hosted by several charming librarians (thanks to Joan McCracken, Mary Skarott and colleagues). We saw the trolleys that trundle along the overhead tracks, carrying books to and from the basement shelves (apparently there's a Youtube trolley's-eye-view version, but I can't find it) and went down into the vast basement itself to see the Dorothy Neal White and Children's Collection. Afterwards there was lunch at Home cafe and more connection-building.

And now it's all over...

The last of the AV system, moving out

Or is it? The connections are continuing and I think the reverberations of Tinderbox 2015 will also continue for some time yet.

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