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LitChat Event

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Thursday 18 July, 4pm – 6pm
Pansy Wood Centre, Whitsunday Anglican School

Presented by Michael Gerard Bauer

This event is a must for teachers, librarians and parents who want practical advice that can be used either in the classroom or at home, to help students develop their reading skills.

Earn Professional Development points and be entertained! (Certificates will be issued at the event.)
Previously a teacher, Michael Gerard Bauer understands the challenges teachers face on a day to day basis to engage students in reading and writing activities. With books that target beginner readers all the way through to young adults, he understands what it takes to reach these students and his entertaining presentation style will have you engrossed in his content.
Bookings are essential. Tickets $40, includes refreshments.
 With thanks to the Australian Literacy Educators’ Association for supporting this event. 

WorkPac Literary Dinner

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Friday 19 July, 6:30 pm until late
Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre


The Festival culminates in the WorkPac Literature Dinner, held on the final night of the Festival. This celebratory event provides an opportunity for guests to meet the authors in a relaxed environment, and to be entertained by guest speaker Li Cunxin.

Li Cunxin's journey is simply remarkable. He was born into utter poverty in Mao's Communist China and selected, at the age of ten, to train at Madame Mao's Beijing Dance Academy. Seven years of stringent training at the Beijing Academy taught him discipline, resilience and perseverance. Li's astounding drive and work-ethic made him one of the best dancers in the world.

In 1995 Li moved with his wife Mary McKendry to Melbourne, where he made a successful career transition from ballet into finance. He was a senior manager at Bell Potter, one of the largest stockbroking firms in Australia, Councilor of the Australian Council for the Arts, and has served on the boards of the Bionics Institute and The Australian Ballet.

He is currently the Artistic Director at Queensland Ballet.

Li was awarded an honorary doctorate in 2008 by the Australian Catholic University for his contribution to dance and literature. In 2009 he was named the Australian Father of the Year and in 2014 was the Queensland finalist for the Australian of the Year award.

Li's extraordinary and inspirational autobiography, Mao's Last Dancer, was published in 2003, and quickly rose to number one on Australia's bestseller list. A tale of talent, faith and determination, the book is a moving account of the moral complexities, personal costs and rich rewards of following one's dreams. It has been awarded the Book of the Year by the Australian Booksellers Association and the Christoper Award for Literature in the USA. Currently in its 52nd reprint, Mao's Last Dancer is an international bestseller, available in over 20 countries.
In September 2009, a movie adaptation of Mao's Last Dancer, directed by Australia's Bruce Beresford (Breaker Morant, Driving Miss Daisy), was released to great critical and box office success. The highest grossing Australian film of that year, it holds the record for the 12th highest grossing Australian film of all time.
An inspirational and motivational speaker, Li Cunxin's story is a beautiful account of his extraordinary journey, told with honesty, dignity and pride.

PLUS Enjoy a delicious three-course meal and dance along to the music of popular local band, Stage Five!

Tickets are $150pp.
Bookings are essential.
Call the MECC ON 07 4961 9777 or visit




"Each July local educators receive a charge of creative energy from the authors of the Voices Festival. The annual LitChat event, formerly known as the Educators' Forum, is undoubtedly a professional development highlight for teachers of language, literacy and literature. Every LitChat over the years has been memorable. Jackie French told stories of pesky wombats. Isabelle Carmody described her writing space in Prague. Mem Fox mastered the 'read aloud'. John Marsden spoke of a school without staff rooms. Carol Wilkinson explained the importance of finding the story in history. Narelle Oliver and Emma Quay showed the importance of the visuals. Morris Gleitzman advocated that even the young be given the opportunity to explore big issues. Andy Griffiths linked laughter to literacy. Each visiting author shared their tips on how to encourage readers and to guide emerging writers and illustrators, but they also gave an insight into the creative process. They reminded educators to provide an environment of words and wonder, as 2016 visiting poet, Harry Laing said, 'to open up a space where students can walk their imagination.'"

Sue Hamilton-Smith, ALEA QLD State Director and Master Teacher, Fitzgerald State School.