The gorgeous drive out to Miriam Vale was a fabulous way to end our RAG 2016 tour. The Grade 3 to 6 students wised up to our visit when the teachers allowed them to turn on the aircon, and on such a hot, sticky day, I was super grateful for the cool air to launch into my very last session, which was, once again, a tonne of fun. Many of the students admitted to not being fond of reading, and even less of writing, so it was a great privilege to share my tales of cassowaries and koalas and wombats and how I fell into writing. Hopefully Lance and I put the 'cool' back into literacy today, although one of the grade 6 boys did admit to having already written 5 books, which is pretty cool in itself.
So now, as we head home after four amazing days, what will I remember most? The dedication of teachers in schools of all shapes and sizes, doing everything in their power to motivate students at various stages on the literacy trail? Possibly, yes. Or the resilience of regional students – so engaged and keen to learn? Most definitely. Or perhaps it will be the time spent with Lance Balchin, and the wonderfully supportive Meg Vann, and seeing inside the hearts of country towns that most people would just drive past. Whatever memory stays with me, I firmly believe that this worthwhile initiative not only helped our young readers engage with ‘real life authors’, but helped us authors understand our audience a thousand times better.