With over 180 speakers from 30 countries, this year’s UWRF lineup is a literary treasure trove of discoveries. Each week in the lead up to the Festival, we’ll speak to a writer whose work you may not have encountered yet, but who could well turn out to be your Festival favorite. This week we hear from award-winning children’s book writer and illustrator Kim Toft.
What issues and ideas are you hoping to explore during your UWRF18 sessions?
All my books focus on the importance of the conservation and preservation of oceans and reef habitats around the world. I will be discussing the content of the books and how picture books are an invaluable tool in helping switch children on to the importance of the ocean’s preservation and how they can do simple things to help. I will be demonstrating my unique illustration style, hand painted silk. I am also running a silk painting workshop with adults
Who do you hope will be in the audience?.
Children are obviously my main target audience and I use song and dance, puppets and poetry to interact with the kids to look at half a dozen of my books. Adults will also be fascinated with the process of creating a picture book as I am also the publisher.
What’s the most extraordinary place your career has taken you?
I have been to some amazing places with exhibitions, festivals and book launches including Maui, Hong Kong and Vancouver. I have also presented at some very remote parts of Australia such as Borroloola on the gulf in the Northern Territory with a primarily Indigenous community.
What’s the best piece of creative advice you’ve received, and what’s the best you can give?
The best piece of creative advice I could give is to always finish a project whether it is a drawing/illustration or writing a story and to keep doing it over and over again.
The best piece of advice I have received…do what makes you happy and focus on that and don’t worry about the end result. It takes two-to-three years for me to complete a book due to the size and detail of my hand painted silk illustrations, so I become very involved in the books and they are almost like babies. I always love the book I am working on.
Which of your works do you recommend readers begin with?
My latest book is Coral Sea Dreaming and I will be showcasing it at the festival, however my first book One Less Fish is a sentimental favorite and there are nine books in between. I personally love A Sea of Words and my crocodile book Tick Tock Tick Tock What’s Up Croc?. I am happy to report that ten out of my eleven books are still in print!
What are you most looking forward to at UWRF18?
I love traveling to new places and meeting people from around the world. I have heard many wonderful reports about the UWRF over the years and I am thrilled I will presenting in such a beautiful part of the world. I am also looking forward to the food!