Arden’s annual Readers’ Festival was held on Thursday 13th – Friday 14th August, 2015.
When asked why Arden organises the Festival, Arden’s Head of Information Services, Mrs Gabrielle Ritchie, shared: “I can’t imagine a world without reading. Reading is the foundation of learning. It unlocks other worlds, times and places. Reading provides entertainment and information. No child is ever alone when they have a book in their hands. Listening to authors and illustrators is inspiring. Students need to learn at the feet of published authors who motivate and energise students with their own writing.”
This year’s Festival involved author and illustrator workshops for the students and a Literary Breakfast. To add extra fun, the Secondary School staff dressed up as their favourite book characters on the Thursday.
In the Secondary School acclaimed author James Roy conducted workshops over the two days, addressing small groups and year groups. Mrs Ritchie explained: “James Roy gave Year 12 some great tips about writing under pressure in the HSC exam. He suggested they devise about six characters beforehand and develop them as characters with wants and needs. Then in the English exam, when they are presented with the creative writing stimulus, they could then decide which character would fit the presented situation. All Year 12 and their teachers thought this was a really good idea.” Cameron Williams (Year 12) agreed: “James Roy gave us some good tips on character development for our creative writing in the HSC.” Jack Lavercombe (Year 12) supported this “James Roy’s presentation was refreshing and engaging.”
Year 8 student feedback on James Roy’s workshops included:
• “James helped us realise that good ideas come from our own experience.” (Sophie Liney)
• “James was fun as we were able to participate. He is a great storyteller.” (Daniel McNeall)
• “James was inspiring. He told us to look into our past for great stories.” (Will Bartlett)
• “Very good and entertaining.” (Juston Jian)
James Roy also spoke at the Literary Breakfast on Friday morning, where he proved to be a popular and enjoyable speaker.
Award winning illustrator Sarah Davis came for the two days to work with all the Secondary Visual Arts classes. Her illustrating workshops proved to be very inspirational, with Arden’s Head of Visual Arts, Mrs Libby Owen, commenting: “Thank you for including the Visual Arts students in the inspiring illustration workshops run by Sarah Davis. Her imagination and creative flair was contagious on the day and is still alive and well in our art students. Sarah is incredibly prolific and her secret to success, I believe, is in the variety of styles and media she uses for each new book. Never boring. The Year 7 classes can’t stop talking about her talent and the talent she has brought out in their work!” Mrs Beverley Paskin Visual Arts Teacher concurred, saying: “Sarah has a very inspiring art practice. She had good stories and great rapport with the students.”
In the Junior School author/illustrator Tobhy Riddle also worked with class and grade groups and was a great hit with students and staff too.