Read write and keep on writing

Posted on: Monday, 27 March 2017 at 10:39:56 AM

John Willcock hosts award winning author

Read, write and keep writing-that is the message that Young Adult author Barry Jonsberg gave to budding local writers from years six to twelve at a series workshops last week.

John Willcock College hosted Mr Jonsberg for year six to nine workshops as part of the Talented Young Writers Programme.

Mr Jonsberg said he was much older than the students participating in the workshops when he began writing.

“The tipping point was actually coming to Australia, I came from the UK and I’d been a teacher for what seemed like fifty years, it wasn’t but it seemed that way.”

“When I arrived in Australia I don’t know whether it is the quality of the air, I don’t know what it is, but I suddenly felt moved I guess to actually start to write this book that I’d been promising myself for years.”

Barry’s first book The whole business with Kiffo and the Pitbull was published in 2004 and since then he has penned 20 more books for young adults and younger readers.

Titles include My Life as an Alphabet which has won multiple awards and honours in the 2014 Children’s Book Council of Australia awards.

“So I had a slow start and now they can’t stop me, even though they are trying,” he said.

His key piece of advice to the students at John Willcock College and all aspiring authors is to practice.

“You have to do both things- read as much as you can and try and write everyday.”

“The more you write, the easier it becomes, it is like a muscle that you use and the more you use it the easier it appears to be,” he said.

One thing Mr Jonsberg doesn’t feel is necessary is to plan out his stories.

“I always start out with a little idea and I have no idea how the book is going to finish, so I actually write them to find out what happens.

“I get to the end and I think ‘Ooh I wasn’t expecting that’ so I am hoping that if I didn’t know what was going to happen, that my readers are not going to know what is going to happen either,” he said.

The Talented Young Writers Programme is run but the Literature Centre. Each term a different author visits regional centers and presents to students at John Willcock College and Geraldton Secondary College.

Other authors scheduled for 2017 include Lucy Christopher and Julia Lawrinson.

For more information contact John Willcock College on 9965 8300.

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John Willcock College  |  Phone 9965 8300  |  Fax 9921 8590  |  Postal Address PMB 102 Geraldton WA 6530  |  Email: