by Tarin Thatcher for 5THE FM newsonline wattlerangenow
Last week a group of ten students from Millicent High School travelled to Melbourne to see what the Melbourne Writers Festival had to offer.
The first day of experiencing Writers week began on Wednesday where students and teachers attended their workshops of preference; most went to ‘Identity – Yours, Mine, Ours’. Students received a tour of the Immigration Museum and learnt more about immigration in Australia. After the tour the topic of belonging was addressed; Will Kostakis (author of The First Third) shared stories of his Greek grandmother immigrating to Australia and what it was like for her to fit in.
The next lecture was called ‘Getting Started and Write Across Victoria’ where two female authors, Claire Zorn and Penny Tangey were interviewed on stage. They spoke about creative writing and their own techniques, habits and connection with their books.
In their spare time the group got to experience Melbourne at its best. Students went and saw the ANZAC Shrine of Remembrance, the Melbourne Markets, and Federation Square among others interesting tourist attractions.
Thursday consisted of two lectures, the first, titled ‘The New Journalism’ where Debbie Cuthbertson – Art Editor of The Age and Clay Lucas – City Editor of The Age spoke about how journalism had changed over the years due to the internet and social media. They talked about the pros and cons of the internet, how it’s hard to find the truth nowadays and it’s important to publish as much of the truth as possible. Debbie discussed the opportunities for the young journalists of now. There’s more technology now making journalism easier than ever before.
The final lecture students attended was called ‘The Last Word’ where Bernard Caleo – Cartoonist, Lianne Hall – Teen Author and Skye Melki-Wegner – Fantasy Author told us about their favourite books of all time; referring to them as their ‘Must Have’ books. Caleo’s favourite three consisted of The Secret History by Donna Hart, Fun Home by Alison Bechdel and he spoke merely speechless about how good he found Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake. Lianne’s best comprised of Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, Hideous Kinky by Ester Freud and Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang by Mordecai Richler which was a childhood favourite of hers. Finally Skye, who spoke extremely passionately about every book she categorized as ‘Must Haves’, chose The Fifth Elephant by Terry Pratchett of the Discworld Series, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling and finally The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle.
This school excursion was a good experience for those looking into writing; both creative and journalism. The Melbourne Writers Festival gave students the opportunity to be in a different learning environment and experience new things.
“The week was a beneficial experience and I believe I gained knowledge of the world of writing & journalism.” – Aram Hutchings (Student)
“The Millicent High School student excursion to Melbourne for its writer’s festival was a fantastic opportunity for students to experience what being a writer is all about. The group enjoyed engaging talks from established writers and journalists who gave the students an insight in to writing and how they can use their language skills to carve a career path.” – Brad Haskett (Teacher)
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