Inaugural “Litfest” attracts all-star line-up

St Finbarr's School
St Finbarr's inaugural Litfest speakers Michael Gerard Bauer, Josie Montano, Sheryl Gwyther, Librarian Dominique Gardiner, Children's Laureate Morris Gleitzman and Christine Bongers

​ST Finbarr's School, Ashgrove's inaugural Literary festival (Litfest) was an overwhelming success attracting an all-star line-up of Australian authors.

Five authors, including Australian Children's Laureate Morris Glietzman and former St Finbarr's student Michael Gerard Bauer, made an appearance over the course of the morning, encouraging students and the school community to read more.

Mr Glietzman, the current Australian Children's Laureate, inspired students with his engaging style and funny anecdotes.

Earlier that morning during an appearance on ABC Breakfast radio with host Craig Zonka, Mr Glietzman gave the school's Litfest 2018 a shout out.

Among the topics he spoke to students about was his latest novel, Help Around the House, a story that was set in Parliament House in Canberra.

Year Six students, with their Canberra trip coming up in the next month, were keen to read it.

Mr Glietzman said he was impressed with the school's sense of community.

He said he was often invited to speak at quite large schools to help build their community.

“Yet here, in a relatively small school, community was so obvious," he said.

Following morning tea, the Australian Children's Laureate was joined by former St Finbarr's student and parent Michael Gerard Bauer, who's latest book Rodney Loses it!, about a rabbit who loses his favourite pen, won the Children's Book Council of Australia's Early Childhood Book of the Year.

Michael ran a workshop with Prep and Year 1 students where they were up and out of their seats acting out parts of his latest book.

Children's authors Christine Bongers, Sheryl Gwyther and Josie Montano also ran workshops for the Year 2 to 6 students about the writing and editing process.

Ms Bongers said she was inspired by the enthusiasm of the students.

“Call me biased, but little schools are a constant source of inspiration in my book," she said.

“My old alma mater, tiny Jambin State School, located in the parched heart of 1970s Queensland, was the setting for my first novel Dust.

“St Ambrose's, the little neighbourhood school at the end of the street I moved into 20 years ago, inspired Perpetual Suckers, the school setting for my second novel Henry Hoey Hobson.

“And today, it was St Finbarr's at Ashgrove, a small community with a big heart, inspiring me all over again with its inaugural Literature Festival.

“Hats off to uber-librarian Dominique Gardiner, Principal Anne Hall and St Finbarr's Parents and Friends Association (P&F) for pulling off a literature festival that punches above its weight."

Litfest 2018 organiser and St Finbarr's Teacher-Librarian Dominique Gardiner said the students were enthralled to hear about where authors got their story ideas from and how these came together in multiple drafts through to the final publication.

“The students were truly inspired by these workshops and were keen to get writing straight away," she said.​​

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