For 10 days I've roamed the Festival, listening, participating in sessions, photographing authors, illustrators in action at the Ipswich Woodlands sites and presenting four workshops myself. It's been an absolute privilege and I've enjoyed every minute of the experience.
There have been many highlights - Jeannie Baker's recount of her journey through Morocco when she wrote Mirror; Freya Blackwood's art lesson; Lesley Reece taking on the persona of Wolf in Wolf's Sunday Dinner; Kerry Brown and her sister, Michelle Pike working tandem like a well-oiled bicycle; Sarah Davis's lovely interaction with littlies; Mark Wilson's passion for endangered creatures and his lovely paintings; John Heffernan's brilliant Battle Boy presentations.
If I had to pick one presenter who most captured my imagination and admiration, it would have to be Tanya Batt. As well as an author and arts educator, Tanya is a storyteller of the first degree.
She is regarded as one of New Zealand's top storytellers and is based on the enchanted island of Waiheke Island, Aotearoa, where she is the director of the 'Once Upon an Island' Festival and Story Centre.Tanya travels the world storytelling and spreading the world of the imagination to all ages and nationalities.
In Tanya's session, I became a 5 year old again, hanging on every word, wide-eyed and bushy-tailed (a tatty one at that), just like all the other adults at that session for 5-7 year olds.
Tanya told two folk tales this session, one from Siberia and one from the Northern Territory, Australia, including children throughout the stories. I think the images here will say more than my words.