Book Events

Reading Matters – That’s A Wrap

If you’re unfamiliar with #ReadingMatters, it’s a conference held over 4 days that involves workshops, signings and AUTHOR PANELS. ❀ It’s organised by The Centre for Youth Literature and I attended on the Sunday (June 4)! 

Authors Attending – Sunday
Jay Kristoff, A S King, Jennifer Niven, Shivaun Plozza, Rachael Craw, Mariko Tamaki, and Lili Wilkinson.

The 3 panels for the day were Speculative Fiction, Contemporary YA, and Publishing 101. I live tweeted the entire thing but I’ll show you some gems below! There was such brilliant advice and stupid jokes thrown around. Overall it was just such a super inspiring day!


Jennifer Niven was an absolute gem and delight. She also said that she wrote a first draft of All The Bright Places in ONE WEEKEND. “Don’t ever write your book in a weekend.” Noted, Jen! πŸ˜€

Jay Kristoff (author of Stormdancer and Nevernight) had a few gems regarding his writing, too. (From the Speculative Fiction panel.)



He said he’s a “join-the-dotser” when it comes to his writing. He will know pieces of the world, then go from there, like stepping stones. He builds his world that way from a starting point (like in Nevernight with its 3 suns) and even if we don’t see all that background, he knows about it.

He also lamented how mad Twilight made him, as he read Stephen King’s novels growing up, and is of the belief that vampires do not sparkle. I believe this rage spurned him on to write so maybe I should say thank you Twilight…?


It was also noted how hard it is to READ while you’re spending so long writing. Jay is currently working on 4 novels. (I AM SO EXCITED!)


Initially I was in two minds about attending the Contemporary Fiction panel because it’s not a genre I usually pick up. BUT, boy, was I wrong. This panel was amazing.

A.S. King encouraged writers to write. YA takes risks that adult fiction doesn’t. It took 500 rejection letters for Amy to realise this (that YA was a separate space entirely). And 8 books later, she is successful and hasn’t stopped writing.


This Contemporary panel was so inspirational. Jennifer Niven brought tears to my eyes, she’s such a gorgeous, inspiring soul. (She also has a section on her blog/page that tells you how to start writing. How to find an agent. All that handy stuff. Go thus to Google.) ❀

Also, an intriguing world-building question was asked. We don’t really think about world-building in a novel outside of fantasy or sci-fi? But Jen said that she builds her characters and story through playlists to get the tone and mood of them!

And finally, the most valuable thing I learned from the Publishing 101 panel was: get a manuscript assessment. (Writers Vic does this, Aussies!) It’s where you pay a fee to get your finished manuscript assessed.

I always wondered what I’d do once I finished one. Now I know the next step. I feel the step after that will be find an agent.


I got to meet Jennifer Niven and have a photo with her! ❀ I was also lucky enough to say hello to a few of the other (awesome) authors attending!

Overall, I’d do it again in a heartbeat. This year was my first year attending the Australian #ReadingMatters conference and I had a BLAST! Even though I could only go for one day, I feel like I learned a fair bit and it was amazing to see bookish friends and say hello to authors! It’s always lovely to be recognised, too. ❀ ❀

Is there an author you’d love to meet? Have you read any Aussie YA? Do you write? Let me know in the comments!


14 thoughts on “Reading Matters – That’s A Wrap

  1. I wish I had gone!! That would have been perfect because I live in Melbourne! I can’t believe Jennifer Niven wrote a first draft in one weekend, that’s insane!!

  2. It was such a good day! I am all the saddness I didn’t attend the Contemporary panel it sounds awesome πŸ™‚ I really want to save the money and do the 4 days, Sunday was amazing I couldn’t imagine how fantastic the other days were. Jennifer was super sweet and hearing about Jay reading King as a kid I was just like “Me To!”.
    Awesome wrap up of the day Bec ❀

    1. The four days would be amazing, but I’m exhausted after one. I don’t know if I could do it!! It’d be awesome though. ❀ Thank you!

  3. Sounds like you had a fantastic time. I have been so jealous of everyone seeing them enjoy Syd Writer’s Fest and Reading Matters. One day I hope I live somewhere where I can regularly go to book events! πŸ™‚

  4. OMG! That sounds like an amazing time! Wish I wasn’t all the way on the other side! But I am glad you had a great time. This post is super awesome and inspiring for anyone looking into writing. Good luck with yours, I would totally get that manuscript assessment πŸ™‚

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