Spinning Gold, September 2009: nobody who was there will ever forget it!
- the quirky accommodation in Capital House, Melrose (now sadly earthquake-stickered and closed)
- the fabulous goodie bags, provided by Learning Media and filled with treats from our sponsors
- the generosity of John and Ruth McIntyre who put on the cocktail party at The Children's Bookshop on Friday night
- the very convivial but slightly squashed lunches and dinners
- many wonderful, thought-provoking and challenging sessions, panels and workshops
- talks by Martin Baynton, Kate de Goldi, Lawrence Green and Fiona Inglis
- a mystery trip to a secret location
- and the lines of people quietly panicking on the stairs before their 5 min Pitch slam slot….
The next conference was Spinning Tales, held at King's School, Remuera in April 2011, and organised by Kiwiwrite4kids and Storylines. The Storylines AGM and annual Margaret Mahy lecture took place on Saturday morning, with the lecture ("Legends from the swamp") being given by Kate de Goldi.
Margaret Mahy herself was present at the dinner, also held at King's, which featured (often hilarious) presentations by Kyle Mewburn, William Taylor and Fifi Colston, and a competition (which the illustrators won hands down) on making artwork from our meals.
There was another Pitch slam, a Publishers Panel and a Kaumatua Panel with Gavin Bishop, Fleur Beale, Bill Taylor, Katerina Mataira and Tessa Duder, who were asked "What do you know now that you didn't know before?" and "What do you find most difficult in your work?"
Golden Yarns, hosted by Te Tai Tamariki (June 2013), treated us to the hospitality and delicious cuisine of Medbury School in Christchurch. For many attendees, this was their first glimpse of Christchurch post-earthquakes. Key note addresses were given by Greg O'Brien ("The life of an illustrator - Graham Percy") and Kate de Goldi ("Seeking Susan - the Susan Price collection").
Workshops included the editor's role with Anna Rogers, picture book writing with Kyle Mewburn and social realism with Fleur Beale. A session was put aside to discuss Burning issues in the publishing industry, and we also learnt about the work of Te Tai Tamariki, the NZSA, the NZ Book Council and Storylines. Ant Sang and Dylan Horrocks talked about graphic novels and there was a brief look at e-publishing.
Saturday night's conference dinner was held at the Chateau on the Park, and the main conference was followed by an Illustrators' Day on Monday, open to all children's book illustrators, professional or aspiring. You can read Melinda Szymanik's take on it here.
And now it's Tinderbox 2015 - we are looking forward to seeing you there!