“Over the course of three Fridays, in some of the most intense heat Katoomba has ever seen, the students of Katoomba High School worked with the fabulous Catherine Jinks, who took them through a series of writing workshops. They learned how to find and develop an idea, the importance of research, and how to engage and orientate readers. Catherine taught the students about pace and rhythm, structure and voice and encouraged the students to be vulnerable with their writing.The pieces the students have created are beautiful and varied. The topic set for them to write about was ‘place’, and they were encouraged to think metaphorically about what this could mean. They wrote about places of natural beauty, of psychological places and physical places. They wrote about places of the heart; of sadness, love, hope and joy. Their pieces are full of beauty and humour, evoking emotion and memories.

In between hikes and School Spectacular rehearsals, exams, national testing, catastrophic fire danger and forced school closures, these students rose to the occasion and produced fabulous pieces of writing. They have learned to meet deadlines, to write under pressure and balance priorities. I saw them move from a place of confusion and grow their confidence. I saw their courage and their commitment shine through. I am immensely proud of them and I hope you are, too.”
Belinda Bower: Head Teacher, English, Katoomba High School

Catherine Jinks was born in Brisbane, grew up in Papua New Guinea and later studied medieval history at the University of Sydney. She is now a full-time writer, residing in the Blue Mountains. Catherine has written close to fifty books for adults, young adults and children, she is a four-time winner of the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year award, and has also won a Victorian Premier’s Literature Award, the Adelaide Festival Award for Literature, the Ena Noel Award for Children’s Literature and an Aurealis Award for Science Fiction. In 2001 Catherine was presented with a Centenary Medal for her contribution to Australian Children’s Literature.

WestWords would also like to particularly thank the Cultural Fund of the Copyright Agency through the Writers in Western Schools project and the Australian Catholic University who support WestWords’ publishing program. Without their combined support we could not deliver beneficial programs such as this to the young people of Western Sydney.