One of the things I have realised in the past couple of days is the difference younger kids make to the "vibe" of a festival. I was thinking about the Melbourne Writers' Festival school days and how quiet they seemed - there were lots of high school students but they queued nicely and jostled around and didn't seem to make a lot of ruckus. The BWF school days have opened up to Grades 4-6, and the kids have been amazing. So enthusiastic and keen to ask questions (no worries about whether it's cool or nerdy - everyone wants to ask a question!). The signing queues are immense, and kids are everywhere, clutching books and bookmarks and chattering and having a great time.
I have done two online sessions using a webcam and talking to schools all over Queensland, in places I've never heard of. They had plenty of questions too, and the technology worked well. My session yesterday outside in the big marquee was amazing - over 300 kids, and I think about 80% of them wanted to ask a question! It's a different kind of experience - in a school visit you are close enough to show them things. On a stage, the ones at the back are never going to see your photos and laminated posters and pages.
Today is my free day and I am off to the Impressionists exhibition. After all the talking and socialising, it's going to be lovely to wander and look and - I hope - write some poems. I'll post photos when I get home. Thanks to the Queensland State Library, I can use the internet for free, but uploading is not so easy.