This Monday just gone, I was at the amphitheatre at the Footscray Community Arts Centre for the launch of a remarkable new book.
'Pigeons: Stories in the Post Vol.2' is a collection of 21 stories by grade five students from Footscray City Primary School. In the making of these stories, each student has been matched with an author and in each case the two have collaborated on the work VIA AN EXCHANGE OF LETTERS.
Yes, paper. Envelopes. Stamps. You know the drill. Or ask your grandma. She'll know.
Lachlan Carter and Jenna Williams are the two enchanted genii behind Pigeons, and they have channelled the greatness of Dave Eggars' 826 Valencia and created their own version of a literacy/reading/writing/fun project, and a damn fine one it is that they have sculpted.
Last year's Pigeons book was all words, which was great, but for this year's, comics flew onto the page too, increasing the all-round brilliance of the publication by 123%, rounded up. Local comic book makers Mirranda Burton, Jen Breach and I each worked with a student, so that 3 of the 21 stories, or 14.3% of the book, is... comics. Shareholders, we will be working to increase that percentage in the years to come but I am sure you will agree, it is a 14% increase on last year. That's all growth!
My Pigeons partner was Jonathan Wu, who I met for the first time on Monday night at the launch, and who is set to make many more great and piercingly funny comics, should he choose that over a career in astrophysics. I hope he does. Below: two panels from page 4 of 'Odie & the Exploding Toilet', which we both worked on. That's Mr Rock ad Mr Blowtish in panel 1.
I enjoin you to purchase a copy of 'Pigeons: Stories in the Post Vol.2' and support the brilliant work by the Pigeons.