Every year, in the hinterland of the Gold Coast, a most remarkable celebration of children’s literature takes place – the Somerset Celebration of Literature – at the Somerset College. Angelica Banks was lucky enough to be one of the thirty authors for 2016. It’s hard to express the scale of this festival. There are literally thousands of children streaming in from across Queensland to listen to authors and engage in sessions about books and words and writing.
One group of primary school students travelled 12 hours from Rockhampton by train for one day at the festival. Another had travelled 6 hours by bus.
From the extraordinary students who provide individual valets for each writer to ensure we can navigate the large campus and find our marquees, to the book shop team, the catering team, the green room team, the people who set up and put away everything it takes to create this festival, right through to the brilliant drivers who chauffeur us to various destinations, the school staff, and the teachers who make everything possible – bringing their students to experience and explore the love of literature – this is a festival that is full of heart.
Here we are about to start a workshop session wearing our Angelica Banks summer garb – having traded our long blue velvet coats etc for hats – given the 30 degree heat and 90% humidity.