I had a great time last week chairing the "Other Worlds Other Values" panel at the Children's Book Council of Australia conference. I was pretty nervous beforehand, being decidedly out of practice with the whole public speaking thing, but once I sat down at the table my butterflies fluttered off and I was good to go. And it was a great time all round. To be honest, I had difficulty coming up with questions that would tease out the topic, and I was banking on the panellists being able to find enough to talk about to keep the discussion rolling. They did, although it took a little bit of time before they found the groove. At one point, maybe close to the half-way mark, I was watching Sean Williams speak and thinking to myself "when he finishes, I have absolutely no more questions to ask. Keep talking Sean, keep talking." And thankfully he did, and then someone else spoke, and that sparked another question in my mind, and so on, and before I knew it we had run out of time and I had to end what had turned into a lively and fascinating discussion. Wonderful stuff.
Deep in discussion
And what great panellists. There's enough awards between them to fill a barn but they were all completely approachable and down to earth, not to mention supportive of their newbie panel chair. My only regret was I didn't really get a chance to speak to them in the post-panel hustle and bustle, although I did get Eoin and Sean to sign copies of their books for me. Hopefully our paths will cross again some time soon.
All in all the conference was wonderful, and I'm sorry I didn't get to see more of it. With luck, I'll manage to get to some other writing conferences in the next little while.
Eoin Colfer. Why are Irish people always so hilarious?