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Having been invited as a guest speaker in a writer’s festival run by Banksia Park International High School to inspire students to write, this was my first school talk and I must admit, I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Mine was the first session in the program after its official opening on Wednesday, with other sessions by a journalist and author taking place next week.  The school is in a part of Adelaide I’d never visited before and Marika, the English Coordinator who’d contacted me, led me to the Resource Centre where a wonderful space has been created for the festival.

About 15 students attended in their lunch break, ranging from 12 to 18 years old, who listened while I shared how I’d started writing, a little about the process I follow, some of my poems, finishing with a few hints and tips for those interested in pursuing poetry.

I asked those who write poetry what they like about it, to which one young boy replied “because I’m creating something”, supporting the idea that the poem is a living, breathing thing.  One girl asked what sort of poetry I write, haiku, sonnet, etc. I replied “free form” – I prefer to write without constraint, to let the poem take the shape it wants, which prompted Marika to make a note to talk to the other teachers about letting the students write more poetry without having to adhere to a set of rules.

The school purchased a few copies of my chapbooks for their library and a couple of students took my contact details, so I’m hoping they’ll be in touch. Events like these are a brilliant way to engage the next generation in writing and provide some insight into taking the next step in their chosen craft.  Fingers crossed they do  😊

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