Creativity is key

Smithton Primary School students Desteny Stokes, 10, Zander Philpott, 9, Blake Perry, 9, and Amber Ainslie, 9, with author Isobelle Carmody. Picture: Ashleigh Force.

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Inspiration. Australian author Isobelle Carmody believes creativity is exercise for the imagination.

“Feel the joy in writing and in drawing,” she says.

“Obey the topic but let your mind wander, let it flow its natural course.”

The award winning author was in Circular Head last week as part of the Middle Years Project, visiting Smithton, Stanley, Forest, Edith Creek and Redpa primary schools as well as Smithton High School.

A writer all her life, Carmody began her first series – the Obernewtyn Chronicles – in high school.

She went on to study a Bachelor of Arts and a cadetship in journalism.

While she has written many award winning short stories, she also takes pleasure in adding to her creations through illustrations.

Throughout her visit to Smithton Primary School, Carmody shared her outlining and shading exercises with students in grades three and four, to demonstrate how powerful an illustration can be.

With the older grades, the author shared her writing tips. She also met with families at an evening session at the high school.

Carmody is the third writer, alongside James Maloney and Sue Whiting, to have visited the region this year as part of the project.

“Each author has brought a different lean to it,” says Middle Years Project coordinator Toni Popowski. 

“But the underlying message has been that all good writers read.”

Ms Popowski says teachers have seen an increase in literacy participation and improvement over this time.

“The author studies have had a huge impact on all students, it’s been really well received,” she says. “Part of the project is about introducing students to as many authors and styles of writing as possible so that students are engaged in their own writing.”

Professor Bev Derewianka of the University of Wollongong has also been involved in the project and will visit the region twice more this year.

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