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YA Collective at Scribblers Festival

Scribblers Festival is an annual celebration of books, imagination, and creativity, particularly in childrens’ lives. We were so excited to attend for the first time, and enjoyed an inspiring day at the YA Collective on Saturday.

The YA Collective was made up of four panels and six amazing authors of youth literature from across Australia, and held in the theatre at Subiaco Arts Centre. One of the most exciting parts of the YA Collective is that it was curated by teenagers, who were also in conversation with the authors. How cool is that?!

Strong Foundations with Amie Kaufman and Karen Ginnane

Strong Foundations had Amie and Karen reminiscing about their childhoods as they remembered what still influences their writing practice today. Both used to imagine magic in everything. It seems no surprise that both authors went on to build fantastical worlds in their stories. They shared some of their tips for worldbuilding as well as an insight into their creative processes. Karen doesn’t plan before she writes, but Amie does, outlining in advance because she hates editing and rewriting. It’s interesting and inspiring to hear how every author has different processes for crafting the stories they do.

What a Journey with Aska and HM Waugh

A little closer to home with two of our favourite WA-ians, Aska and HM Waugh. They discussed their journeys as writers. The main takeaway was the power of community, how being around people like you and who understand you is so important for your work. Aska said that everything you make has to be alive - as in, it needs to be out in the world for people to see. To do this, she suggested entering competitions, volunteering: the more you put into the community, the more people see your work. Heather agreed, as when she started out on her writing journey, she blogged about books. With involvement in the community comes a presence, and you have to wonder what people will see if they google you.

Between each session was a twenty minute break, which we took to explore the other things happening at the festival, like browsing the bookshop, getting our books signed, grabbing a coffee, bumping into friends, and being wowed by the festival magician (yes, that was a real thing and I’m still trying to figure out how he did his tricks.) The space at the Subiaco Arts Centre felt both spaced out and intimate, and we really enjoyed just having a wander and enjoying the atmosphere before going back into the theatre.

Can Books Change Lives? with Nadia King, Wai Chim, and Karen Ginnane

The authors dug a little deeper for this panel, talking about their diverse identities and how their own experiences influence the characters they create. All three authors agreed their characters are the most important parts of their stories, and that the themes that weave through those stories - such as mental health, domestic violence, and class - are important, and often at the forefront of their minds as they dive into a new manuscript. Fiction is a good way to explore the hard topics, a safe space to dig deep.

Show Me Your ID with Nadia King, Wai Chim, and Amie Kaufman

Staying on the topic of character, the last panel for the day was about how the authors create and build their characters. In a helpful discussion, the authors agreed that the relationships and interactions between their characters is where you really get to know those characters, and that banter and the more humorous moments are when they learn and process their feelings. There was also plenty of fun conversation, such as what goes into putting characters on book covers, and which character they would most like to write a spin-off about.

The day was over way too quickly, and we’re already looking forward to next year. Thank you to everyone involved in Scribblers Festival for putting on such an inspiring and exciting weekend!


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