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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Melina Marchetta Event Recap!

Last night I was lucky enough to be part of a group of YA fans who got to hear Melina Marchetta speak at an event at Subiaco Library. The event was organised by Perth YA Fans Unite (of which I am a founding member of) and our aim is to bring more YA authors to Perth and in turn, have more book events. So we were super excited when Melina said 'yes' to doing an event!

Melina with a copy of Quintana of Charyn which she gave away

Melina spoke about all her books which I thought was really nice as authors will often just talk about the main book they are hoping to promote (their newest). While the majority of the audience was made up of teenagers, there was still a good collection of people across all ages which I think just goes to show just how much Melina's books have influenced people over the years. It's almost 20 years to the day since Looking for Alibrandi was published and Quintana of Charyn, her 7th YA book, will be released next week.

First we heard about Melina's inspiration for Looking for Alibrandi and how close the book is to her heart. She also told us how she never thought that anyone other than her extended family would read it and her doubts about whether she would write another book after her debut (there was 11 years between her 1st and 2nd). We heard how she came up with the idea for Saving Francesca and about the difficulties she had writing On the Jellicoe Road (something she started writing after Alibrandi but was put away for a number of years before it was ready to be looked at again).

Melina also mentioned how she was pigeon-holed as a particular sort of writer after the release of Alibrandi and Francesca and this really annoyed her. She sure showed those critics with the release of Jellicoe, The Piper's Son and the Lumatere Chronicles!

Discussing the trials and tribulations that occurred in the process of turning Alibrandi into a film flowed nicely into Melina confirming that On the Jellicoe Road is in the process of being turned into a film (she has written the screenplay and they are searching for the perfect actors). This received a lot of enthusiasm from the 75-strong crowd and had people discussing and trying to guess who they thought would make the perfect Taylor Markham and Jonah Griggs.

Melina also gave us insight into some of the locations she created in the Lumatere Chronicles. Photos taken from her trips to Italy, Turkey, Greece and France showed us how she was inspired by real-life landscapes, buildings and artwork that she found and re-imagined for the scenes in the books.

Melina discussing location

Melina also showed us a bunch of the international covers of her books, particularly The Piper's Son and Finnikin of the Rock, and talked about how the images are chosen and why they are not the same as the Australian ones. Unfortunately all she can do is make suggestions (for example that they should use the Aussie ones!) but ultimately it is up to the international publishing house.

After speaking, Melina generously signed every book that was put in front of her and I'd say at least 90% of the crowd wanted at least two books signed. Not only was she happy to sign but she let us get photos with her and have a chat. There was no urgency to get through the line as fast as possible which I have experienced at other book events. The line was long and took more than half an hour to get through but it was well worth it!

Part of the signing line

Melina and I

It was so lovely to meet so many other Perth bloggers and afterwards a small group of us headed in search of somewhere where we could continue our discussions of what we were reading and which YA boys would make the best boyfriends. It got rather heated at one point where the group was split down the middle as Team Adrian or Team Dimitri was screamed out. Whoever said book nerds are quiet loners have obviously never met any Perth YA bloggers!

From left to right: Hannah @ The Girl in a Cafe, Claire @ Claire Reads, Nicole who guest posts for Claire, Rebecca @ Reading Wishes, Amy @ Following the Reader, Me, and Taneika @ Flipping Through the Pages

A big thankyou to Melina Marchetta, the staff at Subiaco Library, Dymocks Subiaco and all the Perth YA Fans who helped spread the event details and make it such a successful evening. Lets do it again soon!

1 comment:

  1. Great post Jess! I would say that the night was a wonderful success! I am so grateful that I got to be a part of it and meet Melina and many other lovely bloggers :)Looking forwrad to more from Perth YA Fans Unite!!!


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