I'm a freelance writer, blogger and animal wrangler living in Brisbane's western suburbs. Many of my stories offer great giveaways to readers - subscribe to hear about them first.
Don't forget the fly swat and a massive can of Mortein
I never imagined I'd find myself swinging helplessly from one of the broken cables of Brisbane's Kurilpa Bridge as a plague of mutant bugs swarms the city. But thanks to Street Reads 2014, an interactive walking and reading experience run by Brisbane City Council, this is exactly the predicament I find myself in on a Sunday afternoon
Can you see the antennae starting to emerge from one of the city's landmark sculptures? Author image.
The adventure began at the much-photographed Gestation Sculpture in Queen Street Mall, which served as the hatching point for one of the giant cockroaches that takes over the city. And in this 'choose your own adventure' style scenario, there were multiple other possible outcomes, depending on whether you played your cards right. (Hint: I didn't.)
Leaping off the back of the success of Street Reads 2013, this year's event features three themed storylines. Being drawn into an epic battle against an insect invasion is just one possibility. Becoming a pirate captain, or remaking Brisbane in a pixellated virtual reality are two more. All three stories begin at one of two jumping off points - Reddacliff Place or the State Library of Queensland. From there, the story you choose, and the choices you make at each fork in the road, determine your progression through the city and to your own personal 'the end'.
The State of Justice is one of the landmarks on the Street Reads 2014 map. Author image.
This is not so much a page-turning as a QR-reading experience, for Street Reads moves the story along by the use of QR (Quick Response) codes on pavement posters strategically dotted around Brisbane City and South Bank. Just scan the QR code with your smart phone to access the next part of the story, along with the accompanying artwork and music, and then ponder the different actions open to you. Your choices will take you to different locations, and leave you facing different challenges.
You'll think twice about setting foot on the Kurilpa Bridge if you choose the bug adventure. Author image.
I was fortunate again this year to secure a sneak peek at Street Reads 2014 ahead of its official launch timed to coincide with the Brisbane Writers Festival 2014. Just as it did last year, it thrilled me to look at both well-known and obscure pockets of the city and pieces of public art with fresh eyes.
If you're keen to see what it's all about before wearing out any shoe leather, it's worth checking out the Street Reads 2013 map which lists that year's adventures - featuring Death, Zombie and Hero themes. And if you don't have a smart phone, or would just prefer to be with a group, Brisbane Brisbane Writers' Festival volunteers will conduct 'tours' of the adventures on 6 and 7 September 2014. (After all, there's safety in numbers when bugs take over the city, right?)
Participants can win prizes by uploading photos of their adventures to Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, with prizes including a private gondola ride for up to 6 people on the Wheel of Brisbane, high tea for two from the Shingle Inn and a book and T-shirt pack from the Brisbane Writers Festival 2014.