Elaine Forrestal

How Wet Can We Get?

One of Karen Blair’s Illustration from The Puddle Hunters by Kirsty Murray, published by Allen and Unwin

For the second year in a row the Rottnest ferries are cancelled, the weather is lousy and the wind has blown down all our signs. But the intrepid SCBWI Rottnest Retreaters are undaunted. At the new venue, Paper Bird Bookshop in Fremantle, the chairs are moved, power cables are found and connected, power-points and thumb-drives spring to life. And in spite of everything the good humour and camaraderie of participants and hard-working organisers remains in tact.

The International Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators plays a vital role in the lives and careers of the whole writing and illustrating community. Where else can you get to meet publishers one on one, show them your work face to face, and have it individually critiqued by them? Publishers are such busy people and most publishing houses are so swamped with manuscripts that they have to close their books to anything unsolicited. And yet each year the amazing SCBWI West committee manages to entice not one, but two of them across the Nulabor to sunny (ha ha) Western Australia to join us and our very own Cate Sutherland from Fremantle Press for four days or more of professional interaction, socialisation and relaxation.

I hate to think where we would be without you guys. Bravo and heartfelt thanks.