You learn a lot of things at writers’ festivals. In the first weekend of the 2011 Emerging Writers’ Festival, I’ve learned that:
- Ben Law’s work uniform is a pair of ‘housing commission-y track pants and a Bonds singlet’.
- If you are a freelance writer, ‘you will never stop freaking out’ (thanks, Penny Modra).
- Even if your friends are in London, they can still be guests at a festival held in Melbourne (see Hamilton, Caroline).
- It’s possible that the novel you wrote and recorded from your house in Melbourne will be downloaded over half a million times.
- I can’t hold my drink anymore.
No matter how tired I think I might get of attending literary events and writers’ festivals, the Emerging Writers’ Festival always surprises me with its ability to direct and hold my attention, and uncover enthusiasm in my breast where I thought it had lain dormant during the cold winter of my inactivity. We’re very lucky in Melbourne to have a festival that gives emerging writers support, opportunity and venues (physical or virtual) in which to meet, discuss, debate and laugh together.
There’s still another week of the festival left, with plenty of interesting ideas yet to be hashed out. There’s a strong focus on genre in this year’s festival, and there are also plenty of free and digital events too. See the program here.
My picks are The Pitch, where editors, including KYD editor Rebecca Starford, will be talking about what they look for in pitches, and Dirty Words, where a bucketful (brassiere-ful?) of writers, including gold-shoe-wearing Scot Alan Bissett and enthusiastic planker Linda Jaivin, will form a line to disclose naughty secrets and things of that ilk. Vachel Spirason of Slow Clap will also be there, and if he’s anywhere near as entertaining as he was at the festival’s First Word event, where he danced so hard he gave himself a front-wedgie, I think we’ll be in business.