Children's book author Andy Griffiths is in Gladstone from Monday to Wednesday.
Children's book author Andy Griffiths is in Gladstone from Monday to Wednesday. Marc Stapelberg

Popular children's author in Gladstone this week

POPULAR children's author Andy Griffiths is in Gladstone this week to celebrate books, reading, drawing and rocket-powered carrot launchers.

Hundreds of school students will enjoy workshops with the man who wrote The Day My Bum Went Psycho, the Just Kidding series and The Treehouse, thanks to The Curtis Coast Literary Carnivale, Gladstone Regional Libraries and the Brisbane Writers Festival.

Over the past 20 years Andy's books have won more than 50 Australian children's choice awards, frequented the New York Times bestseller lists, and been adapted for the stage and television.

He's at Tannum Sands State School today, and will be at Gladstone Entertainment Centre on Tuesday and Wednesday.

There will be a book signing for the general public from 4-6pm on Tuesday at Gladstone Library.

Reporter Mara Pattison-Sowden recently chatted with Andy ahead of his visit:

YOU'VE been writing books for years now, how do you keep things fresh?

It is definitely listening to the Audience but also keeping enough time to ourselves to be re-inspired by movies, and in my case comics. I get excited creatively.

You have to allow enough time to explore and challenge ideas.

As the challenge goes up so does your creativity, setting the bar just a bit higher than you're expected.

We're always pushing the books and pushing ourselves to see where we can take them. 

Where do you write?

I like to be able to see what's going on in the world. That nice view, with a cup of coffee… you write one line and then it starts to flow.

How do you take your favourite drink?

Black, strong coffee…unadulterated. A couple of cups of that and I'm away writing.

What do you love about Melbourne?

There's nothing I love better than a rainy day. It makes sitting inside writing a cosy thing to do. It's easier because writing takes such a mentally intense effort.

Everything's easier when it's colder. I love travelling though and seeing different capital and regional cities.

To keep fit and healthy I…live on Port Phillip Bay (in Melbourne) opposite the ocean and I run every second morning and cycle the other mornings, and swim and do circuit training.

It's a big part of any practice to be physically fit, and writing is an endurance sport. There's many hours you spend sitting due to the sheer slowness of it.

The best piece of wisdom I've been told is…put your pants on before you leave the house.

My daughter loves to tell the story that I went running in my underpants because I forgot to put my (running) shorts on.

In terms of writing, it's to be yourself. That's always been the challenge that any writer faces.

Don't put on a performance - just be utterly, completely yourself on the page. That takes a lot of practice and courage to be yourself, and admit to your mistakes…

In writing though, those things are what readers love.

That's your best defence to go: "this is how I see the world". Early on I thought it was strange and unique, and not quite like other people saw it. People really responded to that.

What is your aim in attending the Curtis Coast Literary Carnivale?

I guess there's a few different things that happen. I hope that by hearing me speak the kids make another connection with books outside of the printed page.

The books can dimensionalise once you meet an author, and you can hear that person talking.

Author Andy Griffith.
Author Andy Griffith. Contributed

Another reason purely for me is to meet them and find out if they're enjoying the books.

It's like I'm having a conversation with the kids and they're telling me what to add and how to write my books.

It works both ways, but I'm looking forward to coming and meeting all the kids of Gladstone and pick their brains for new Treehouse books!

Event details:

  • Andy Griffiths book signing: Tuesday, July 14, 4pm to 6pm at Gladstone City Library.
  • The Many Story Treehouse Exhibition from July 14 to August 22 at Gladstone Regional Art Gallery and Museum.
  • 52-Storey Treehouse play space at Gladstone Library from June 1 to August 31.
  • 26-Storey Treehouse by Richard Tulloch, at the Gladstone Entertainment Convention Centre on Friday, June 26.