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Saturday, 22 September 2012

Melina Marchetta event recap.

On Wednesday September 12th Perth YA Fans Unite were lucky enough to hold our very first event at Subiaco Library. Our guest of honour was none other than the lovely Melina Marchetta. We were very excited to have 75 people rsvp to attend. The crowd consisted of mainly teenagers, but it was fantastic to see quite a few others of varying ages. This wonderful turnout has boosted our drive to get another guest to WA as soon as possible.
One of our founding members Anna, started it off with a small speech about how Melina’s books have impacted her and then introduced Melina.
Anna reading her speech.

Melina started out telling us how she would speak for a while, and then we could have question time and finally moving on to sign our books. We were given an insight into all her books; how Looking for Alibrandi is close to her heart and she explained how she knew 200 people in the world and was sure they would be the only ones to pick up Alibrandi. After Saving Francesca she was categorized as a certain type of writer and how much this label annoyed her. She told us how she got the idea for Saving Francesca while she was working at an all-boys school. On the Jellicoe Road was over ten years in the making, and it was the book that catapulted her onto the international stage. Then along came The Piper’s Son and now the Lumatere Chronicles.
Melina with a copy Quintana which she gave away.

Melina then spoke about the process of turning Looking for Alibrandi into a movie, which consisted of a screenwriter that had no idea about the characters and had no interest in speaking with Melina about them. She then wrote the screenplay herself. Everyone was extremely pleased when she confirmed that On the Jellicoe Road is also going to be on the big screen; which she is also penning the screenplay for. Unfortunately we weren’t given many details, but hopefully casting would begin next year.
We were shown several slides of locations from Italy, Turkey, Greece and France which Melina used as inspiration in parts of the Lumatere Chronicles. The slides consisted of landscapes, paintings and buildings that she reimagined into Finnikin of the Rock, Froi of the Exiles and Quintana of Charyn. It was wonderful to see which pieces she used and how.
This is Melina showing us a slide from Italy, and which buildings and landscapes she used.
It was interesting for all when she showed the slides of her international covers, and how she does have some small say in what goes on the covers in the US. She wasn’t too impressed with the covers for the Lumatere Chronicles, and that the cover for The Piper’s Son went through quite a few cover models because he wasn’t attractive enough, with the right look. (She said “I didn’t want to have sex with him”, which, if you’ve read the book you’ll know he’s a very sensual character.) This got quite a few laughs.
Question time was brief, but many got their questions answered. Finally we all stood and rushed to get in line to get our books signed. She was wonderful and signed every book, and even had a small chat with people whilst signing their books and having photographs taken so we could all have a hard copy of the night.
The beginning of the signing line. Courtesy of Jess @The Tales Compendium.
It was a great night all round and we have to give a giant thanks to Melina herself for coming out and being there, Alex from Subiaco Library who helped organise the event, Dymocks Subiaco for supplying some books for us to buy, and Anna who got the ball rolling. We’d also like to say a massive thank you to everyone who showed up! This was a fantastic turn out for our first event and we’re hoping to prove to publishers that we can get people to attend these types of events! So we need you and make sure you invite your friends to sign our petition so we can show them we mean business!


  1. Awesome job organizing this event guys! Sounds like it was a very informative evening.
    I would have loved to come but I had grown up responsibilities to attend to(kids to feed/bathe/put to bed). :/
    Any chance that future events could be at a more family friendly time? Lots of adults enjoy YA too. (Or maybe it's just me... it's not just me... is it?)

    Also, just wanted to enquire if the copy of Winter's Shadow that I won got sent? I never received it.

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