What Is Early Harvest?
The Early Harvest program brings together a group of ten- to twelve-year-old children from diverse backgrounds and mentors them to edit and publish a literary magazine for young readers.
This year, we held a series of creative writing workshops with eleven schools in Melbourne’s west resulting in the selection of CRIME and MURDER MYSTERY as the theme for the issue.
Then over ten weeks at 100 Story Building, thirteen young editors invited submissions, assessed ninety submissions from nine schools (and provided feedback to all of them!), commissioned three bestselling literary superstars, briefed illustrators, a designer and a window artist, and selected the fifteen stories featured in this issue.
The Early Harvest program is about giving creative agency to children to decide what they would like to read. For Grace, age 11, the best thing about being an Early Harvest editor was ‘reading all the stories in the magazine and the decision-making’. She felt that choosing the stories was the most important thing she did as an editor.
This year, the magazine features contributions by Andy Griffiths (author of the Treehouse series), Davina Bell (author of The Underwater Fancy Dress Parade and Oh, Albert!), Andrew McDonald (author of Son of Death and The Greatest Blogger in the World) and George Ivanoff (author of You Choose series) as well as illustrations by professional artists.
Throughout the process, the young editors were mentored by professionals from the publishing industry, including authors, editors, game experts, illustrators, designers and grade seven student Caitlin, who was an editor for issue four. The program was a learning experience for them as well. ‘Adults learn children’s sensibilities, what appeals to them, what is fun for them,’ said Davina, who mentored the young editors and contributed a story to the magazine.