Maria Alessandrino is the new program coordinator for the Perth Writers Festival who is working hard on the 2015 Schools Day. We asked Maria to give us a little peek at next year's festival.
Tell us a little about your background and what attracted you to this job.
I have worked in the publishing industry for ten years both in the UK and Australia and as I have always had a love for children’s books, I focussed my career in this area. I was attracted to this job because the Perth Writers Festival has always been a highlight in my calendar. This role offered me the chance to keep doing what I love – working with books – and also to be directly involved with the festival. It’s a rare opportunity and I feel very lucky.
What do you think kids get out of a school’s day at PWF – what’s special about it?
The Perth Writers Festival Schools Day is a great way for students to meet some of their heroes. It’s also a wonderful way to promote literacy and inspire students to read and write. I think it’s important for kids to realise that authors and illustrators are real people and meeting with them can help show students that they have opportunities available to them and they can also aspire to do great things.
The day is unique because it offers a number of authors and illustrators within the same space, throughout the course of a day. Schools Day gets students out of their usual learning environment and exposes them to a variety of topics and discussions. The day is challenging and thought-provoking, but it’s also a lot of fun.
What’s new for 2015? What can teachers expect?
2015 is offering our biggest line-up of international children’s authors ever – which is very exciting! Also, as well as the traditional sessions in seated venues we are offering two brand new activation sessions for students. This means that while the students are on their breaks they will be entertained through performance, poetry, live art and other activities happening around the Perth Writers Festival precinct. We are really trying to lift the atmosphere of the day and keep it interactive and engaging for the students (and teachers of course!).
Each student will also receive their very own Perth Writers Festival passport, which is new to 2015. The passport is used as a key to unlock and discover all of the day’s exciting activities – the more things they see, hear, think and do, the more stamps they collect on their passport and the greater the opportunity to feedback on their experiences and reflect on the day as a whole.
When and where can teachers stay in touch and book tickets?
The full Perth International Arts Festival Program will be launched on Wednesday 5 November 2014. This will reveal the exciting line-up for the 2015 Schools Day.
Teachers can log on to http://corporate.perthfestival.com.au/learning for a full program, ticket information and also to sign up for our e-news.