Eighteen Whitefriars boys arrived at Flinders Street Station last Thursday. Along with Mr Treyvaud and Mrs Kay-Taylor, we were to participate in the Melbourne Writers Festival. We began the day with a tour of the Immigration Museum, which focused on identity. Both positive and negative notions of Australian and world history were portrayed here. The exhibits evoked thoughts on how people find identity, especially when displaced from their homeland. Following this, Archie Fusillo, author of The Dons (a novel studied in Year Eight at Whitefriars), spoke to us of his childhood growing up in an Italian family. Archie is a brilliant speaker, and has an ability to toy with emotions. He made us delve into our own identities, asking us who we are, where we belong and how we are perceived.
The second presentation featured Simonne Howell and Cath Crowley. While it was gender-centric, it educated us on how you can create drama, fear and excitement within a suburban setting. An ingenious idea that Simonne presented was how she mapped out the plot of her novel Girl Defective on Google Maps. This presentation gave us an appreciation of the components of our city which are often overlooked, but can spur writing inspiration, such as graffiti. The final presentation of the day discussed tips on how to get published as a young writer. Again, it was run by a panel of authors. Again, it provided motivation to write.
The Melbourne Writers Festival evoked emotion, triggered creative thinking and sparked a fresh urge to put pen to paper. I appreciate Mr Treyvaud, Mrs Kay-Taylor and Mr Payne’s support of our writing journeys.
Thomas Year 9
The first place we went to was the Immigration Museum in the city. We wandered around and I found the racism awareness the most interesting. This was due to the sheer amount of racism that went on decades ago which now would be unacceptable. After we looked around the Museum we had a workshop with Archie Fusillo. He wrote The Dons which I read last year.
Even though he had visited our school last year, he was still very engaging and had a lot to say about his life. He spoke about the people who had a heavy influence in his life and this was his grandmother and father. One of great things he did during his talk was help define what defines us. Is it our appearance? Our stories? Our choices?
Archie spoke about the troubles he had as a child, one being not named properly. His actual name is Archimede, not Archimedes like it is actually written. So he spoke about what defined him. He told us that it could be many things, his name, his background or his writing.
After this workshop we made our way to Federation Square to listen to Cath Crowley and Simonne Howell. They mainly talked about their own books and to be honest, it was nothing compared to what Archie Fusillo gave us. Still, it had some funny parts.
One of the things that I learned from this experience is some things about writing. One key thing I learned is to not over explain things, and leave things to the readers imagination.
Overall I had a great day and I look forward to doing things like this in the future.
Fraser Year 9