MAY GIBBS CHILDREN’S LITERATURE TRUST – CREATIVE TIME FELLOWSHIP
I was privileged to spend the month of June on a May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust Creative Time Fellowship in Brisbane.
The May Gibbs Brisbane Apartment is on the 5th floor of a beautiful Art Deco hotel in the middle of Brisbane – 5 mins walk to the Queens Street Mall, the city’s hub and heart, six minutes stroll from the river, with the majestic Story Bridge as its backdrop and 20 mins amble across the river to the Arts Precinct and the State Library of Queensland, where I spent much of my time.
For countless hours I paused and pondered in the Roma Street Parkland, the beautiful Botanical Gardens and wandered along the edge of the river where sometimes I fell upon new words, fresh story ideas or solved old word challenges.
In the apartment, where I had everything at my fingertips, I wrote, researched, rewrote, drafted, read and contemplated my writing life, at my own pace, in my own time. I also managed to keep up with the regular commitment stuff – this Wednesday Writing Blog, Facebook and Twitter offerings and ‘Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators’ commitments.
An unexpected surprise for me was the discovery that the hotel was built in 1931 by the Shell Company of Australia, for whom I worked, in the Melbourne Office, for almost a decade, long before I ever thought of becoming a writer. There were echoes of footsteps of people I once knew, up and down the staircase.
My special place became The Red Box at the SLQ, a glasshouse which sits like a sentinel over the Brisbane River draped by velvet-leafed jacarandas and an ancient Poinciana, from which the Red Box gets its name.
For the last week of my stay I ran presentations and writing and poetry workshops at the SLQ and I hope students and adults had as much fun being part of them as I did being their guide. There are many talented kids out there with wonderful words to share.
I would like to thank everyone involved with MGCLT and special thanks to Judy Russell who took care of me with perfect sprinklings of support and freedom to create, without life’s little interruptions.