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Sunday, August 19, 2012

John Marsden - author talk and Twitter re-cap

Hello Darling Readers!

I've just come back from a fantastic author talk and signing with John Marsden, organized by the wonderful Narre Warren library as part of celebrations for the ‘National Year of Reading’!

John Marsden has been a favourite author of mine, ever since I first read ‘Checkers’ and had my reading landscape irrevocably altered by his tough and damaged characters. The second book I read of his was ‘Letters from the Inside’ which was a complete punch to the gut but I knew he was something very special for young adult readers – because he didn’t talk down to us or shy away from the tough stuff and he revelled in writing messy, imperfect characters. And then I read his epic ‘Tomorrow’ series and he cemented his status as an all-time favourite author for me.

His author talk at Narre Warren was completely and utterly fabulous. He only spoke for a little over an hour, but in that time he covered the mechanics of writing and language, entertained the audience with personal anecdotes and gave us a small glimpse into what he surely must have been like as a marvellous English teacher, and now as Principal of the alternative school, Candelbark.

Mr Marsden made some brilliantly insightful comments, particularly about letting children speak for themselves – he recited several instances where he came across parents who acted as spokespeople for their children, not letting them get a word in edgeways or, worse yet, berating them when they did try to speak but added an unintentional ‘um’ or ‘like’ into the sentence. It was in this discussion that I saw why it is that John Marsden doesn’t ‘write down’ to his audience – because he hates that in real life, he very much carries that belief over to his books when he lets his child characters be their own heroes, and it’s no wonder so many of his books feature an absence of (reliable) adults. He seems to have a great deal of respect and admiration for young people and ‘letting kids be kids’.

It was a packed house at the Narre Warren Civic Centre, and looking around I was immensely pleased to see fans of all ages and genders turning out to hear Mr Marsden speak. There were many teachers/librarians in the audience, an even mix of girls and boys, plenty of younger children who were only just discovering his books, and ‘big kids’ (like me!) who have been reading him for yonks and clearly still hold his books close to our hearts.

A really big thank you to Casey-Cardinia Library Corporation for putting on this fabulous author event, and to the ‘National Year of Reading’ for general awesomeness.

Below is my Twitter-recap of the event.


  1. What a wonderful post - makes me want to go out and read Marsden's entire backlist right now!

    1. Yay! I totally understand the urge - I feel like going out and reviewing all of John Marsden's books now, & spreading the word...

  2. Pity about movie sequel and the production company. We all know who to blame now. But TV series would definitely be worth watching!

    Also love this recap/post.

    1. I know! Was really happy someone asked about the sequel's status though, because I've heard no more online goss about it. A TV show would rock!

      Thanks :)


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