Whitefriars at the Melbourne Writers Festival

Elephant (3) - CopyA group of  ‘talented writers’, Mr Joel Treyvaud and l participated in the recent Melbourne Writers Festival. The wind blowing through the city streets was freezing as we made our way to Fed Square. However the morning was brightened by some of the glorious elephants celebrating ‘Mali in the city’.

We congregated in Fed Square and had a quick chat about the day. We were pretty excited and intrigued about the sessions we’d be attending.

It was an enlightening experience going to the Melbourne Writers Festival. In particular I enjoyed the final talk, which featured several writers discussing how they came to be writers, and what someone needs to do if they want to become a successful writer.

The first workshop was by Fiona Scott, the editor of the novel ‘Don’t Peak at High School’. She spoke about her childhood and the childhoods of many famous people, and how many of them were bullied at high school. She reflected on the fact that most of your life lies beyond high school, and therefore what happens there doesn’t really matter in the long term. The second workshop was also interesting, featuring a talk by Doug Macleod about his novel ‘Shiny Guys’ and its parallels to his own life.

Adam,  Year 9 M2

I got a lot out of the sessions, not just about how to write a good novel but also about how to deal with personal issues. Seeing all of the people who got bullied throughout school and are now very successful was fantastic. My favourite session would have been the interview with Doug McLeod, probably just because he was entertaining. ‘Don’t Peak at High School’ was also very interesting.

Lewis,  Year 9 E2

On Thursday the 30th of August, the talented writers of Whitefriars College set off to the Melbourne Writers Festival to seek inspiration from some of Australia’s most successful and talented authors.

After arriving into the city, we went to our first session with Fiona Scott-Norman, who had recently released a book named ‘Don’t Peak at High School’. The book is about well-known Australians such as Charlie Pickering, Kate Miller-Heidke, Megan Washington, as well as many others, who have been bullied in high school and how it shaped their lives. The book was a hit among the Whitefriars boys, and is now available on kindle. The book itself will hopefully be making its way to the library soon!

We then moved on to Doug MacLeod who explained his new book The Shiny Guys’ as well as many other of his books, of course in a very comedic style. He also revealed some of his opinions on other books such as the Twilight series. When a student asked “Have you read the Twilight books?”, he quickly responded with “I don’t read the Twilight books so much as burn them”, sending the audience into a laughing fit. Doug explained part of his personal life and how it affected and ultimately shaped his writing styles. He then also read us a small part of one of his previous books.

Our final session was with HJ Harper, Lili Wilkinson and Michael Pryor. Throughout this session they all explained how they made writing a career and made suggestions to people who are interested in pursuing a writing career. This session would have been a great asset to those who are interested in that pathway.

I thank Mr Treyvaud for planning such a great day, as well as Ms Morton being present and helping on the day. It was a very enjoyable day, and I hope the other Whitefriars students get to experience this great opportunity!

Wyatt,  Year 10 L1

It is safe to say that Melbourne Writers Festival proved to be a very informative and educational experience to all the Year 9 and 10 students who were fortunate enough to go to the enlightening festival. Over the course of the day we watched, listened and viewed three diverse presentations.

The presentation that proved to be both most entertaining and revealing to myself was the last one we attended. It was called ‘Getting Started – Write Across Victoria’, presented by HJ Harper, Michael Pryor and Lili Wilkinson who are three very successful authors. They explained how to get into writing and how to write good books, however the most enriching part of the whole presentation was when HJ, Lili and Michael all agreed that writing is a hard profession to master and be successful in. They explained that a book can’t be written overnight, it takes many ideas and lots of hard work in order to write a full length novel. At the end of the presentation Michael Pryor said something that I found most interesting. He said that ‘in order to be a good writer you must read a lot’. These words will always stick with me for a very long time whenever I am writing, whether it is a speech, creative or informative piece. Overall this excursion was a great learning experience for both myself and all the other students.

Benjamin,  Year 9 S1

I found the day very interesting and informative. I really enjoyed how the different authors gave their own perspective and told the stories of how the books came about.

Ryan,  Year 9 T1

The advice given by HJ Harper, Michael Pryor & Lili Wilkinson is some of the most treasured that I have received. It will stay with me for a long, long time and help me out when I am in need. It was the best day of school that I have ever had and I plan on going back there multiple times, next festival around.

Nathaniel,  Year 9 L3

The elephants farewelled us as we headed home after this ‘great learning experience’.

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