Panda-ring to au­di­ence

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Weekly Life - TANYA MACNAUGHTON

CHRIS Owen never imag­ined while grow­ing up in Eng­land that he would be­come a chil­dren’s au­thor, let alone write a song for one of his books, but that is ex­actly how life has turned out.

The fa­ther of two and Perth pri­mary school teacher has been in­vited by the Perth Writ­ers Fes­ti­val to be a part of its Fam­ily Day at UWA on Sun­day, Fe­bru­ary 26, fol­low­ing last year’s re­lease of his sec­ond book Pan­da­mo­nia.

Faced with the daunt­ing prospect of de­liv­er­ing a 40-minute pre­sen­ta­tion by him­self, Owen en­listed jazz and swing mu­si­cian Adam Hall and the Vel­vet Play­boys and Perth Swing Dance So­ci­ety Hop­pers to add to the may­hem.

“I came up with a tune that was bump­ing around in my head and the words are taken from the book, but I don’t play in­stru­ments or write mu­sic, so I got Adam Hall in to help me pen the tune,” Owen said.

“Adam vis­its schools as part of a mu­sic pro­gram. He came to my school once and I loved the mu­sic he played; I didn’t know then he was part of one of Perth’s top jazz swing bands.

“So I was sur­prised he said yes to help­ing me out and then we got the dancers on board, who co­in­ci­den­tally call them­selves the Hul­la­baloo Hop­pers and in the book it talks about the hip­pos mak­ing a hul­la­baloo.

“The whole thing will be me try­ing to keep the au­di­ence, ie the an­i­mals, un­der con­trol and Adam Hall and a few oth­ers will be do­ing their best to whip the crowd into a frenzy and cause ‘pan­da­mo­nia’.”

Pub­lished by Fre­man­tle Press with il­lus­tra­tions by Chris Nixon, Pan­da­mo­nia is Owen’s fol­low up book to My Su­per Hero and is about an­i­mals hav­ing a party at the zoo.

He said the book came out of the de­sire to write a re­ally good readaloud story with all the right in­gre­di­ents such as rhythm, rhyme, al­lit­er­a­tion and noisy words.

“I’m look­ing for­ward to cre­at­ing ‘pan­da­mo­nia’ with a lively au­di­ence and hope­fully we can bring the house down and get peo­ple up and danc­ing,” he said.

“Perth Writ­ers Fes­ti­val’s Fam­ily day pro­motes read­ing to a wider au­di­ence and it al­lows au­thors and il­lus­tra­tors to meet our au­di­ence.

“I think on a wider level it makes au­di­ences see that writ­ing and il­lus­trat­ing for lo­cal peo­ple is pos­si­ble.”

The Pan­da­mo­nia free event will be on the Writ­ers Cen­tral main stage, next to Winthrop Hall, at 11.10am and 1.10pm on Sun­day, Fe­bru­ary 26.

Perth Writer Fes­ti­val Fam­ily Day fea­tures a pro­gram of sto­ry­telling, art, per­for­mance, work­shops and con­ver­sa­tions from 9am-3.30pm. Visit www.perth­fes­ti­val.com.au.

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d465452

Mu­si­cian Adam Hall and au­thor Chris Owen will be part of PIAF Perth Writ­ers Fes­ti­val Fam­ily Day.

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