Yesterday I started a new project as part of the National Year of Reading. I’m working with twelve gifted and talented Year 10 students at St Laurence’s College in South Brisbane. Affectionately known as the Men on the Hill or the Knights of the Round Table (because of the set up of our writing space, see below), the students managed to come up with a number of potential plots for our proposed 12,000 word short novel.
So far it looks like we’ve got a murder mystery slash thriller slash historical slash contemporary novel that includes cane toads, the old Boggo Road jail, underground tunnels, the history and presence of Indigenous people in Brisbane, Greek culture, the Brisbane line, the floods and possibly some snipers from one of the numerous bridges that links the north side of the river to the south. We’ve only just met each other and started researching, but I wanted to document the process, and after just a few hours, this is what the students told me they considered as insights, highlights and what they were grateful for. I promise you there was no prompting from me, honestly! But it’s always humbling to hear the impact a writer can have on students.
What the ‘Men on the Hill’ appreciated on day one:
· Working with Dr Anita Heiss is an extraordinary experience, she is very creative (and not a bad rapper wither!) - Harrison
· This is a great opportunity to improve my creative thinking and writing skills. It is also a good opportunity to express myself creatively. – Jake
· Working with Anita has sparked my creativity more than ever before. – Lachlan
· I am grateful for the opportunity to write a short novel with a well-known author in Anita Heiss. – Sullivan
· That writing takes a lot of research, thoughts and thinking to try and create a novel that has meaning and appeal to a large audience. – Callum
· Writing a book / short story requires a lot of hard work and it is an honour to be able to have the guidance of Anita Heiss in this project. – Aaron
· A major highlight of the writing workshop with Anita was sharing ideas relating to the history of the South Brisbane area and combining these ideas to form story ideas. – Anton
· It’s been great working with Anita. It’s been an insightful day working with an author, and I can’t wait to start working on the novel. – Martin
· A very enlightening and enjoyable writing workshop with Dr. Heiss. The creative juices are certainly flowing. – Adam
· Having the chance to meet and work with Anita, watching all her creative ideas, gives you inspiration and ideas. – Hayden
· Working with Anita is going to be good because she has uniqueness about her style and genre of writings. Also, she will teach us and show us how she works when she is planning and writing a novel. – Mufaro
I love my writing team! We’re going to create something spectacular together, so stay tuned!