Perth Writers Festival Blog

Behind the Scenes: A Review by Kid Curator Ella Popham

Monday 27 March 2017

Ella Popham reviews the Curated by Kids Session Behind the Scenes.

The awesome author of the Flying Furballs series is back! This is his second session hosted by the 2017 Perth Writers Festival, and he’s on a roll, with a interview about his inside life. It wasn’t a typical, everyday session, it was one which blew me away.

The books in the Flying Furball series are based upon World War I, but instead of the Allies vs the Germans, Donovan creates the characters of CAT’s (Cat Allied Troops) and DOGZ (Dog Obedience Governed Zone) which are fighting for control of Europe. It is a gentle introduction to the ideas of war, but with a child-friendly twist.

He spoke about how his passion to be an action-comedy comedian played a huge role in how he became the humorous author we know and love today. He said his funny childhood nickname ‘Boodle’ originated with the character ‘Boo Radley’ from Harper Lee’s book To Kill A Mockingbird. But only his close friends use that today.

Donovan has been a massive book lover from when he was 7 or 8 years old and has been a book worm ever since. This is why he writes for young children. If he loved those kind of books when he was that age he knows that they will love his books. His favourite two books when he was young were Matilda and Danny The Champion of the World both of these clever books written by his idol Roald Dahl.

Bixley has a very individual way of writing his stories. Instead of writing the text first and then using the illustrations to add to the story, he starts with the artwork then fits the wording around it. His compelling style of writing makes sense because his inventive style displays his thinking, ready for the reader to tap into. It’s genius really.

He started writing his brilliantly funny stories in his late 20’s and boy is he good at it. In the words of Donovan Bixley himself 'If you try your hardest at everything you do, anything is possible. All you have to do is put your mind to it and practice.'

This session was truly interesting and fun. It showed a bit of the author that you don’t get to see everyday. It was a perfect reminder that authors of the future are today’s young readers.

The Perth Writers Festival Family Day was a wonderful day. Genevieve took on the important role of host and handled herself superbly. Jarvis prepared brilliant questions for the interview and presented them well. Overall rating: A complete and utter success, well done to everyone who was involved, well done!

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