The Vox Bendigo 2018 Young Writers Anthology

To celebrate the launch of the Bendigo Writers Festival for 2018, 30 students were selected from a wide range of schools to attend a special night at the Capital Theatre. The third edition of The Vox Bendigo Book Young Writers Anthology saw ESC’s Cecile Shanahan (and the book’s editor) kick the night off with a welcoming presentation, followed by Georgia Mills reading her But What if? and Aidan Searle reading his New Neighbours from home (4 hours from Bendigo) and recording it, as he was unable to attend. Students from ages 8-16 were presented with copies of the book. Publicity photos were taken and autographs signed (or was that just my imagination?) as 30 more young writers from Bendigo and thereabouts became published authors! Students from ESC attending the night were Madeline Lynch with The Curious Compass, Flynn Power with Curious Beast and the author of this article with Scout.

Eaglehawk’s Whipstick forest has been celebrated in another book published by Bendigo Writers Festival and supported by Regional Centre for Culture which was launched at this year’s Festival too. Whipstick features writing from 7 local authors (some being published for the first time). Eaglehawk’s own Lauren Mitchell wrote the Foreword.


The Bendigo Writers Festival was back once again and this year things got curious!

What started as a small experiment to see if Bendigo residents would actually be interested has grown to a yearly event.

This year, BWF was held from 10-12 August and students from Eaglehawk (ESC, St Liborius, Lightning Reef and California Gully) joined around 1500 students to attend the schools day Text Marks the Spot. The day’s program kicked off with the announcement of the Inky Awards Shortlist at the Ulumbarra Theatre. This was followed by many different authors, writers, illustrators and editors discussing their novels, novellas (short stories), poems and picture storybooks in various locations around the Arts precinct in View St.

Schools could pick from various locations to hear from different authors. The main locations for the day were The Capital Theatre, Bendigo Bank Theatre (down stairs from the latter), La Trobe Arts Institute, Trades Hall and the amazing Ulumbarra Theatre.

The authors/illustrators attending the event this year were (in alphabetical order):

Jay Carmichael, John Flanagan, Kate Forsyth, Zana Fraillon, Kelly Gardiner, Kristin Gill, Susan Green, Dr Samantha Grover, Andrew Hansen, (north Korean defector) Hyeonseo Lee, Belinda Murrell,

Katrina Nannestad and Lemn Sissay, who travelled all the way from England and wowed kids and adults alike with his poetry performances.

It was an exciting and eventful day and students who attended this year would recommend it for anyone thinking of going next year (see below and over page for their highlights).

Student snippets:

The ESC Extension English was allowed to attend this wondrous event.

The first activity experienced was title ‘Fiction from Fact’, involving an interview of young author Jay Carmichael. Jay was born in Castlemaine and grew up in country Victoria. This session was dedicated to explanations of how to draw from your surroundings to create a work of fiction, such as modifying landscapes or incorporating small mannerisms from those around you. Jay’s first highly successful novel, ‘Ironbark’, was used as an example of how these strategies and others can help in developing a hobby piece into a published text.

By Flynn Power – pictured with Vox and Whipstick books 

Our second session was Myuran Sukumaran’s art exhibition: ‘Another Day in Paradise’. This took place at the Bendigo Art Gallery. As many may know, Myuran Sukumaran was the ‘ring leader’ of the Bali 9. The Bali 9 was a group of people that attempted to smuggle drugs from Indonesia and into Australia many years ago, all of which were caught and given lengthy sentences to serve in different prisons around Indonesia. Myuran Sukumaran and his fellow ringleader, Andrew Chan, were given the death sentence for their involvement in the crimes.

Sukumaran spent the many years before his execution painting. Along with his attempts to demonstrate his remorse, he painted many self-portraits and portraits of other important figures involved his incarceration. His mentor, (famous Australian artist) Ben Quilty told him that that is what people back home wanted to see.

The exhibition was an exploration of Sukumaran’s time spent in prison. Despite being a convicted criminal, the many positive things he achieved while locked up was extraordinary. Sukumaran taught English classes, art classes and he made sure that many of his fellow inmates had positive opportunities to participate in life once they were released. Sukumaran pleaded for several years to have the death sentence lifted, constantly painting things directed at President Joko Widodo, the only person who can life the death penalty. The session was led by an educational expert in art appreciation and finding meaning to visual pieces. We participated in many thought provoking activities following the activities to enhance our understanding of the exhibition.

By Grace Murley

Sharni, Olivia and I all took the opportunity to be interviewed by the media about the concept of ‘Fake News’. We were led by a media team from the ABC. Before the interview even began, we were shown the different angles the cameraman would use to record us, and each interview roughly took ten minutes to complete. We were asked questions surrounding the topic of fake news, what we considered to be trustworthy and reliable news sources and how we personally accessed news and information in the digital world.

The interview itself was a casual experience and journalist and radio announcer Fiona Parker from the ABC was a wonderful interviewer. She made sure we were calm and comfortable with being recorded and with what we were being asked. The interviews will be used by the ABC during Media Literacy Week in September. It was a wonderful opportunity and I’m glad I took it up. If the option is available to others, I strongly suggest they take advantage of it as it was a great experience to be involved in.

By Caitlin Kane


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