Running from 9-13 May 2018, Scribblers is a brand new literature and arts festival for young people presented by FORM and the Town of Claremont. Starting with a three day schools program for ages 6-17 from Wednesday to Friday, the festival kicks into overdrive this Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 May with a weekend of fun for children aged 0-13 and their families as well as an evening session for young adults and even a grown-ups’ event too.
Festival Director for the inaugural Scribblers is Katherine Dorrington, whose name you may recall from her many years as Program Manager of the Perth Writers Festival. An experienced programmer with a passion for inspiring and engaging young people, Katherine has compiled this program in a similar way to her many PWF events. “Essentially it’s about putting the most interesting combinations of writers and illustrators together and a broad range of themes and ideas that will stimulate audiences,” she states. “We want young people, and their families, to walk away from the Festival feeling inspired to pick up a book, listen to a podcast or tell a story. We want to nurture the passion children have for stories and being creative.”
Katherine has been immersed in the world of literature from an early age, growing up surrounded by books as her parents owned bookshops when she was a child. “Literature had such a huge impact on my childhood years and was instrumental in helping me understand the world around me and where I fit. I love that through books and stories we are able to be whoever we want to be, we can explore different parts of our personality and let our imaginations travel the world or further!” She believes that books are a valuable tool for young people as they grapple with big questions about the world and themselves.
Katherine also values the connection that storytelling offers. The delight on her daughters’ faces when they listen spellbound to a story being told to them is a priceless joy. And now that the girls are reading, the family takes turns to read to one another. “Storytelling is essentially about connecting with one another and I think we can’t have too much of that in this day and age!”
“I’m also really passionate about creativity for young people and one of the things that I have in the back of my mind is what the future will look like for our kids,” urges Katherine. “We know that many of the traditional jobs or pathways to employment will no longer exist or will be automated, and the jobs the current generation of children will do are not yet known. There’s a lot of research being done at the moment that points to the role that creativity can play in equipping our children for the future, particularly developing skills such as problem solving and resilience, and I think that literature and stories have a big part to play in helping with that.”
Katherine’s children are definitely an influence on her programming. Not only does she have a test audience at home, who she can rely on for an honest opinion about what they would and would not like to see, but as a parent and member of a busy family she knows how many demands there are on the time of families. “We’ve really tried to develop a program that parents and young people can dip into throughout the weekend. If they only have an hour or two spare between weekend sporting events, birthday parties and food shopping, there is something they can easily come down and participate in without feeling the need to commit to a huge amount of time.” For Katherine, Scribblers is “an extension of the amazing work that teachers do in the classroom, but without the pressure of having 25 kids that need to pass a test or learn a new concept.” She hopes that the Festival will ignite a passion for reading, writing and creativity.
So, as experts in their own right, what are Katherine’s girls most looking forward to this weekend?
They are really excited to see some very special visitors we have coming to the Festival, two rainbow unicorns on stilts! They’re both obsessed with unicorns at the moment, who isn’t! They also love Tai Snaith’s book Slow Down, World which is a wonderfully illustrated story about slowing down to appreciate what’s around you. I also know they will love AF Harrold, he is a master storyteller and poet and his delivery is brilliant. They are also really excited about the Mother’s Day market, it’s been a crazy busy few weeks leading up to the Festival and I know they are keen to spoil me with a few yummy things we have at the market, I’ve already told them they should head to the Rochelle Adonis stand and pick something delicious!
It all sounds delectable! So pick up a hard copy of the brochure or browse the events online. Enrol your kids in a workshop, or choose a few sessions that are sure to be enjoyed by all. Is there anything more fulfilling than inspiring the younger generation?