Arden’s annual Readers’ Festival was held on Thursday 18th – Friday 19th August, 2016.
When asked why Arden organises the Festival, Arden’s Head of Information Services, Mrs Gabrielle Ritchie, shared: “The Festival is the highlight of our year where we can talk books and writing and have all the fun of dressing up. It is wonderful for students to meet people who write for a living and each author we have had over the last four years has brought their own distinctive voice and manner of writing with them so students have been able to see the rich diversity of books and writing that we have in Australia. Through books we can experience life without limitations. We can travel through time and cross gender, race and identity. We can learn to empathise with others in their fortune and misfortune and increase our knowledge and understanding of life. All this from books and stories. Reading unlocks life in all its fullness. I cannot imagine being without books.”
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 Thursday 18th August.
In the Senior School writer, presenter and broadcaster Andrew Daddo came on both days to address Years 7 – 12 and also to hold a writing workshop with Year 7 Ad Altissima students. Andrew has written picture books, chapter books, short story collections, novels and a biography. At the Festival Andrew promoted his new book for teens, One Step, about Dylan who is almost 16 and beset by teen problems. His book is described as follows: “At 15, Dylan is struggling. He’s struggling with his explosive acne that has declared war on his face; struggling with his pushy younger sister; struggling with his nagging mum and her lame and misguided attempts to ‘connect’ with him, struggling with his dad who never seems to have time for him anymore; struggling with his old ‘phone-me-down’; and with his complete inability to attract any girl. Struggling, but surviving.”
The Junior School was addressed by author James Roy on the Thursday. Additionally, Frances Watts, illustrator, talked to Kindergarten – Year 2.
On Friday morning, Arden’s Literary Breakfast was held at 7am, with author Deborah Abela as the guest speaker. Deborah has written the very popular Max Remy series, the Ghost Club series as well as the mesmerising Remarkable Secrets of Aurelie Bonhoffen, Grimsdon, Teresa: a new Australian and The Ghost of Gribblesea Pier books. She is an engaging speaker who has won awards for her books but mostly hopes, one day, to be as brave as some of her characters. Deborah is also a Room to Read ambassador.