Category: Writers Festival


Busy Weekend

Okay so I know I’m terrible, I was planning to finish my writer’s festival blogs and haven’t. Thursday night I ended up going to the theatre and last night I actually put in time with hubby. Today we bought and assembled a loft bed for Miss ‘about to be’ 8 – it took us 4 hrs. On the upside it has a bed, bookshelves, drawers, a desk and a wooden ladder. It is very cool.

So the long and short of it is I haven’t finished piecing together the last of the festival stuff. However I will briefly talk about the Feast of Words, which is where I was this time last week.

When I got there I wasn’t in the best frame of mind. I was feeling out of place and shaky in my conviction of being a writer. When I got to my seat it was to discover I had no little gift like everyone else had, no-one sitting opposite me, no menu and no butter knife. I asked for some of these things to be fixed only to be told, ‘sorry we have run out’. What? How can you run out of things for a function where people are paying over $100 a ticket (I was glad it was work’s money not mine).

The night was salvaged by the lovely, fun young woman sitting diagonally opposite from me. She was a real joy to share a meal with. (Not to mention she found some empty settings and stole me a one of the setting gifts). There also turned out to be an advantage to having no-one sitting opposite me – entre and dessert came out on platters which meant with only 3 of us to share it we got a little extra each.

I didn’t know what I was eating, it looked fancy and tasted pretty good. The authors (Armistead Maupin, Joanne Harris, Adam Ross and Simon Armitage) were all eloquent and it was a pleasant experience being read to between courses. I’d have to say it wasn’t a bad evening all in all, and it’s not very often I get to eat food like that.

And to kept the fractured nature of this entry going I will let you know I have been working madly on reviews for books in the hope that I would get the new site up and happening this weekend. I guess we’ll have to see how that goes. I’ll keep you informed.

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Opening Event – Truth and Fiction

This is the one that hammered home that I really didn’t know what I was expecting. I went because it seemed like something that would be interesting and  something I should do to make the most of the fact I finally had the money, the time and the opportunity to attend the Festival. I hadn’t heard of all the authors because I just don’t read their styles but I still thought  it would be interesting. They all had very different interpretations of the topic at hand ‘Truth and Fiction’ but I did get a few little snippets (I have come to the conclusion this will be a weekend of snippets) and the desire to pick up the novel of one of these authors. (It also swayed me into attending another of his appearances in one of my empty spots).

Here are some of the snippets:

Most important truths are found in fiction – T Flannery

Your attitudes shape what you perceive – A Joseph

Each age has it’s own view – L Gordon

Complete truth about a life isn’t possible – L Gordon

We seem more certain of our fiction – M Syjuco

We believe what we want to believe – M Syjuco

Fiction is the lie we tell to get to the truth – M Syjuco

Fiction is a powerful tool in illuminating, disseminating and contributing to conversation to build and create a better world – M Syjuco

Good fiction…is a seeker after truth – R Gaita

Fiction can make us believe in miracles – R Gaita

I wonder if the point of an opening even like this is to allow people to be in the same room as these authors, allow them to say they have heard them speak, and give it a fancy appeal by tying it up with an opening gala name. If this is the case what kind of credential does it give you to say you have been to it?

Fantasy Affairs

This was my first saturday session and billed as a discussion on ‘what is it about fantasy and science fiction that is so attractive for teens and adults alike?’

I was a little disappointed, as a children’s/YA specialist I was really interested to hear what was said on this topic, however it turned out to be more of a discussion of spec fic rather than it’s appeal across the generations. I don’t know that anyone minded too much (except me) and I was the only one who asked a question related to age.

There were though more snippets to come from this session so here they are  (please note that these aren’t direct quotes) :

Alternative reality works really well for teenagers because it allows them to not feel like teenagers – Beckett

Puzzlement about a thing can lead you forward – Beckett

Readers perceive something sometimes quite different from what the author had in mind when they wrote it – Beckett

Books can (should) be compelling, immersive, like the reading experience you had when you were young – Grossman

The further you go into a fantasy word the more you encounter problems … magic doesn’t make it easier – Grossman

When fiction resonates within you, you hear an echo of you soul – Elliott

Spec Fic allows us to poke at perceived truths and allows us to explore themes that are not the sole property of teenagers – (Beckett I think it was a mash up of a couple of half notes)

This session was accompanied by a slightly more lively discussion between Bernard Beckett and Will Elliot about what is reality…which I have to admit to not totally understanding.

My first day at the festival was spent at the Publishing Seminar. I’m not really sure quite what I expected from this but I don’t think it was what I got. Then again I’m not sure what I got.

It was broken into three sessions : 1st – From the publishers viewpoint; 2nd – Manuscript assessment and Agent; 3rd – A publisher, author/editor and a publicist.

I suppose if you were thinking about writing something it would have been incredibly informative. For someone like me though (who has been long-listed and living and breathing books for as long as I have) there wasn’t a lot of new information. I suppose it’s not really a bad thing to have what you know reinforced.

The day was admirably chaired by Angela Meyer, who did a fine job handling (not that that sounds like a flattering word) both the speakers and the audience.

The speakers in each session did work well together.

I suppose even with knowing better, I subconsciously expected some piece of information to jump out and make me go ‘ahha! that’s what I’ve been missing’. Foolish I know.

I feel the day was a well rounded introduction to the world of publishing that would have given some aspiring/emerging (seems to be the word) author an idea and even a bit of a wake up in regards to what is involved in getting published.