This year, for the first time, I made sure that I went to the writers festival. I have been before, maybe a year or two ago, with a friend of mine and her mother (who is also a writer). On that occassion, we saw a panel on creating new worlds in science fiction and fantasy stories.
But on this occassion, I was determined to go. Luckily for me, so was a good friend of mine, and we met up at the event. For some reason, these things are always more fun with someone you know sitting beside you. Perhaps it is because you can talk about it long afterwards and prolong the experience.
Anyway. I went to three sessions. The first one was called Reimagining the Literary Tradition which, roughly speaking, was about intertextual references and the use of other forms to shape new work. The speakers on that panel were Helen Oyeyemi, Goldie Goldbloom and Craig Silvey. I have to admit, I was only there to see Craig Silvey talk about Jasper Jones. I read that book at the end of last year and I really loved it. It was the first time in a long time that I had felt compelled to stay up until the wee hours of the morning reading a book. I can remember one occassion on which I had some friends over and I just wanted them to leave already so that I could go back and read Jasper Jones. But Helen Oyeyemi's talk also caught my imagination and I am now itching to read White is for Witching.
The second session that we took in was Escaping the Pigeonhole which was about women's writing and the stereotypes attached to it. The speakers were Sara Foster, Anita Heiss and Liz Byrski. This was the most I have laughed in years. All three women were smart, sassy, funny and confident, and the way they each viewed the world was so inspiring that I actually felt really good about myself coming out of the session.
Finally, we went and saw a panel about Writers as Readers in which three authors talked about their favourite books and their not so favourite books. Craig Silvey was on this panel again. I am not familiar with the other two authors who attended, but I have to say, all in all the session wasn't that great. I could talk about books until the cows come home, but watching authors talk about books in a hot room full of random people at the end of a long day was a bit much. After that session, I went and got Craig Silvey to sign my copies of Jasper Jones and Rhubarb (and much to my mortification, I just blabbed at him for the longest time, he was probably thinking 'Go Away').
All in all it was a pretty good day.