It’s a huge comfort to know that lots of people get stage fright or suffer from glossophobia (fear of public speaking). Folks like Rebecca Gibney, Kirsty MacColl, Laurence Olivier, Elvis Presley, Dusty Springfield, Barbra Streisand. I am not alone.

Not even slightly alone. It’s so common to feel vastly nervous at the prospect of standing up and speaking in front of peoples that I’m amazed by the people who don’t get freaked out. What is their secret? A complete absence of nervous system?

Tomorrow night I have to get up in front of the peoples and attempt wit, charm, and persuasiveness. Um, gulp. I’ll be debating whether girls’ books are better than boys’ books:

    Girls’ Books vs Boys’ Books

    Thursday 24 May, 6.30pm

    State Library of Victoria, Village Roadshow Theatrette

    A debate featuring the cream of Australian and international writers for young people [JL: does that mean we are creamy? Is that a good thing?]:

    Girls’ team: Jacqueline Wilson (UK), Justine Larbalestier (Aust), Simmone Howell1 (Aust)

    Boys’ team: David Levithan (USA), Jack Heath (Aust), Scot Gardner (Aust).

    Cost $10/$5 concession

Wish me luck! If I don’t fall off the stage, or break the microphone, or vomit, I’ll count the evening as a success.

PS Am still stuck using stupid crazy expensive hotel internet. So still behind with email etc. Especially as this current hotel is against having an smtp server that works. Grrr.

  1. Simmone replaces Meg Rosoff who was unable to do the debate. []


  1. adam on #

    you’ve got simmone on your team – you’ll win for sure. good luck! the roadshow theatrette is a great venue.

  2. cecil on #

    best of luck to the ladies! I know you will kick the gentlemen’s asses!


  3. tole on #

    Good luck – you’ll be excellent!

    I’ll hopefully be able to be there to cheer for you and send you encouraging thoughts. 🙂

  4. Elmo on #

    The secret is getting up there and turning the fight or flight adrenaline into public speaking adrenaline. And wearing clothes that help to conceal the shaking of the leg!
    You’ll be fine.
    What actually constitutes as a boy’s book/girl’s book anyway..?

  5. lili on #

    I’ll just politely add that the event is COMPLETELY BOOKED OUT. if you want to come along in case of a no-show, feel free, though. but no guarantees.

    (my secret to public speaking is: be an only child. people paying attention to me! hurrah! look at me!)

  6. lili on #

    oh, and you will be fantastic.

  7. Justine on #

    Thanks everyone!

    Lili: Sold out!? That means there’ll be an actual audience! Nooooooo!!!

  8. Steve Buchheit on #

    Wow, I didn’t know books had gender? I mean, in the other romance languages they have gender, mostly male, but then a glass of water has a gender inthose languages. So, how can you tell if it’s a boy book or a girl book? 🙂

  9. Patrick Shepherd on #

    I still remember the first speech I had to give, way back in high school, some forty years ago, which is an indication of just how traumatic that experience was…

    But I found that as I got older and had to do more and more of such things, it really did get easier. I still get butterflies, but they normally disappear once I start speaking, even if my audience is a bunch of CEOs and my speech is critical to persuading them towards a million dollar decision.

    Besides experience, the other thing I’ve found that really helps is knowing that you really know, in depth, whatever it is you are talking about. This gives you confidence that no matter how obscure an audience question is, you can answer it. And from what I’ve seen on your blog and in your books, the subject material for this little event is something you know quite a bit about.

    P.S. I’m now about halfway through Magic and Madness, and liking it quite a bit!

  10. John Klima on #

    I’m very weird concerning the public speaking thing. I’d rather speak in front of huge crowd of people I don’t know than to speak in front of a group of people I do know. When I do speaking event things, I tell people I know to not let me know they’re going to be there.

    I know that most people draw support and comfort at knowing that friends and family are there for them, I’d rather not know. That terrifies me. People I’ve never met? Not scary at all.

  11. Chris S. on #

    Best of luck! Forget the audience: just show those boys why girls books are better!

    If, you know, you feel they are.

  12. simmone on #

    but of course the important question is – what to wear?

  13. mckayla on #

    best of luck to you i know you’ll be great
    and what to wear? something really hawt or for you maybe cute but comfortable

  14. Dawn on #

    Good Luck, JUSTINE!! I know you can do it!

  15. hwalk on #

    i’m weird. i’m a girl, but I think guy books are better. especially fiction.

  16. The Bibliophile on #

    I’m curious: what will your Pro Girls’ Books arguments be? And I always worry that I’ll randomly barf in front of lots of people, though I doubt that’s very reassuring!

  17. alternatefish on #

    Elmo, I too wonder…what is the difference between a girl’s and boy’s book? Is it simply a matter of the main character’s gender? and will boys read “girl books?” I feel like girls are more likely to read boy books than the other way round.

    speaking tip: don’t imagine the audience in their underwear. I tried that once for a class presentation and had to spend a few minutes pretending to cough while attempting to not bust out laughing. there are some funny-looking people in the world, and I have a vivid imagination.

  18. mckayla on #

    i just ahb~so~lute~lee love your last name

  19. Dess on #

    i don’t get stage fright to the point of throwing up, but i don’t do that well with crowds. Apparently, (so i’m told by my friends) the blood rushes to my face and i turn very red and i shake. im also not very coordinated to begin with so, if i have to walk, i’ll most probably trip. it’s not that fun. but what i do is have the mentality of “im going to look stupid anyway so might as well get it over with” and it works out ok. ive never once fallen (until i was off stage of course. thats another story) my friends thoroughly enjoy your Australian glossaries and have begun calling me “rather unco”

  20. Penni on #

    Hey good luck Justine! You’ll be fiiiine. Maybe all the tickets sold to very quiet invisible people.

    See you at the cocktail party afterwards?

  21. Ally on #

    good luck with that justine! scott really really needs to update*

  22. TypesetJez on #

    Hello, I’m one of those freaks of nature that doesn’t get nervous in front of people at all. I just have really thick skin, that’s all, but my advice to you is this: que sera, sera which means what will be, will be. And don’t worry about what people are going to think, if they are there already they must like you for something!

    Just remember how many fans you have who completely adore you and your books

  23. Rebecca on #

    good luck! you’re braver than i am, but you’ll be awesome. kick some arse!! 😀

    girl book = pretty much anything
    boy book = something a boy can carry around school and not get made fun of for. which seems to be rare. although certain people will make fun of someone who has any book at all.

  24. Dawn on #

    Ok, Justine, I just HAD to come give you your props. As a rule, I jump from book to book, author to author. That’s just how I am. Most of the time I’m reading multiple books at once, and when I finish one book, I usually don’t hesitate to dive into the next. I’d been reading Magic or Madness and The Last Days pretty much simultaneously for the last couple of weeks. Until last night. I totally couldn’t put Magic or Madness down, then when I finished I dove straight into Magic Lessons and finished that as well last night. I’m well into Magic’s Child, but I’m at work now, so I just have to sit here and be patient until my lunch hour rolls around. Not to take away from Scott’s books (which have always had a history of keeping me glued, i.e. Midnighters and Uglies triologies…) but this series is literally AMAZING. I’m sad that it’s taken me this long to pick them up (I’ve had all three on my bookshelf, waiting to be read) and read them! You’re wonderful, Justine!!!

  25. Andrew on #

    …and it all went swimmingly and the girls…drew with the boys…

    not because they/you didn’t kick ass, but because it was a silly (read ‘great’) subject.

    ps and you were a terrific team captain…

  26. Dawn on #

    Totally just finished Magic’s Child. Did I mention that you’re amazing, Justine? 🙂

  27. alternatefish on #

    rebecca, I like your definition. I once read somewhere that girls will read books with boys in them but boys won’t read books about girls. I think boys need to get over themselves.

  28. Rebecca James on #

    best of luck – you must be getting used to it, no???
    I HATE any kind of public speaking – go as red as a beet and end up in a state of gibbering, incoherent, embarrassing for All concerned (even the audience) panic.

  29. Rebecca on #

    “I once read somewhere that girls will read books with boys in them but boys won’t read books about girls. I think boys need to get over themselves.”

    yeah, it’s sad. it’s not always the guys’ fault though. it’s societal values or whatever you want to call it. you know, it’s not MANLY to read chick lit or romance or books with pink on the covers. a lot of boys/men will get pretty twitchy at even the barest suggestion of a threat to their masculinity.

    “I HATE any kind of public speaking – go as red as a beet and end up in a state of gibbering, incoherent, embarrassing for All concerned (even the audience) panic.”

    you and i have that in common. that quite adequately describes what i go through every time i have to do a presentation in class. 😛

  30. Addie on #

    Good luck Justine!!! You’ll be grrrrrrrrr-ate!

  31. Dawn on #

    You are definitely not alone. It took me 9 years of booktalking to finally shake that feeling like I wanted to vomit the night before!

  32. jonathan on #

    Don’t know if you read these comments Justine, but for the record, your speaking over the course of the whole conference was fantastic. I really enjoyed hearing what you had to say in each of the sessions you were a part of. I have to admit to having never read your books. But I will now 🙂

  33. lili on #

    what jonathan said. you kick arse.

    debate podcast available as soon as i can bring myself to get out of my pyjamas and go back into the office…

  34. jonathan on #

    c’mon lili, stop reading blogs & have a day off – you’ve earned it

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