Last week I got to see the Melbourne Writers Festival from the inside. I was invited to speak on a panel with Dragonkeeper Carole Wilkinson as part of the MWF15 Schools program. Our brief was to discuss how Asia inspired our writing. That’s us in the photo on the right, being inspired by the chocolates in the green room before the event.
Preparing for the Melbourne Writers Festival event was a good opportunity to reflect on what did inspire me to write Tiger Stone. Coincidentally, the festival occurred at the same time as the ACICIS 20th birthday celebrations in Yogyakarta. Speaking at MWF was one reason I wasn’t able to attend the ACICIS celebration, which was a pity because I collected a lot of material for Tiger Stone during the 7 months I spent in Yogyakarta with ACICIS, even though I didn’t realise at the time that I was going to write a book.
So when Heather Zubek, the chair of our MWF panel, asked Carole and me for our top writing tip for the audience I knew straight away what my answer would be: travel. Whether it’s overseas or to a neighbourhood you’re not familiar with, travel feeds the imagination; it gives you an outsider’s perspective on a place and that lets you wonder how it looks from the perspective of those who belong there.