Last Friday and the Monday just gone, I had the wonderful opportunity to be part of a 'speed-date-an-author' event. Five authors: Melinda Szymanik, Janice Marriott, Dylan Horrocks, Mark Somerset, myself and photographer Darryl Torckler presented a writing skill to a group of 12 students for 20 minutes. At the sound of the bell, the students moved to the next author and learnt a new skill. Students found out how to use pictures for inspiration, collaborate with other people on a book, structure their stories, liven up their language, create fascinating characters and take a spark of an idea and get started. The 27 schools from around the Auckland region paid $20 per student to take part in the programme. At the end they received a certificate and some lucky students won a book.
This is the second time I've participated in this type of workshop and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Students asked for autographs afterwards and judging by their faces and enthusiasm - I would say they found it a rewarding experience. I'll look forward to seeing the competition entries to see if they've used any of the tips I gave. Thanks to New Zealand Book Council and the National Library for sponsoring these events.