Kimberley Writers Festival


This is the view from my desk. But the reality is much better than the washed-out photo. The water is deep blue, the sky moves from shades of morning gold and azure through to mauve and orange at sunset.

We’re camped on the banks of Kona Inlet, a peaceful stretch of water that links up to Lake Kununurra. I think this particular campsite has to rate as one of my favourites. The only drawback is the water is full of freshwater crocodiles, which puts a little bit of a pall on the idea of swimming in it.

In a little while, we’ll be heading off to the official opening of the Kimberley Writers Festival, though it feels as though the festival has already been going for a couple of days. We met up with some of the other authors and the lovely library staff who are engineering the festival on Wednesday night for dinner. Last night there were pre-festival drinks and tonight it will be a little more formal with all the authors finally in town, a big crowd of readers and the festival fully underway.

Today I did three sessions with students at Kununurra High School. They were a great mob – funny, intelligent and attentive. Over the course of the weekend I’ll be doing readings and sessions with adult audiences, whom hopefully will be as much fun as the kids, though perhaps not. The reason I write for younger readers is partly because I like their company. I also love the way they behave as characters within the context of a story. I’m always a little bewildered when I meet authors who write for and about kids but don’t actually like them.

When the festival is over, the Professor and I will head back into the Northern Territory. I have a lot of writing to catch up on. The Kimberleys is a landscape that inspires all sorts of story. It’s ancient, exquisitely beautiful and yet very complicated. I’m currently reading a Mary Durack novel set in the region, Keeping My Country, which I’m enjoying but I’d love to be reading some children’s and YA fiction set in these landscapes too. A few years back I read Leonie Norrington’s YA novel The Last Muster which was a great read and very under appreciated. It captured so many layers of the complex stories that belong to this landscape. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to write something set in the Kimberleys – I’d need to spend more time soaking up the place – or maybe I’m just looking for an excuse to come back.

Kirsty is an Australian author of books for children and young adults.

“Books are windows into other ways of being.”

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