Last year I had the pleasure of being included in The Emerging Writer, produced by the Emerging Writers’ Festival as a compendium of advice and thoughts about the business of being a writer. I wrote a chapter on community; what that means, how you can find or build your own, why you should bother. It was nice to see my chapter crop up again, in this case being quoted by Justin Heazlewood in his book Funemployed. The book is a rumination on what life is like for artists and writers in Australia. It’s rather strange to see your words in someone else’s book, especially when re-reading them confirms for you that you’re on the right track. Somehow seeing those words again made me remember how glad I am to have my writing community around me.
It’s been an incredibly busy and incredibly good time for me over the past few months. I’ve submitted a book chapter for an amazing project, done an in-conversation event with John Marsden at The Wheeler Centre, hosted a panel on women in writing at the Emerging Writers’ Festival, been asked to join in on the National Young Writers’ Festival fun later this year and been accepted to the European Festivals Association Atelier.
I’m particularly stoked to be going to NYWF this year. My years directing the National Student and Emerging Media Conference (before VSU put an end to it) were some of the most formative for me. They were a baptism of fire in how to program literary/media events and put me in touch with a network of peers that I still work with to this day. I’ve gone back to This is Not Art a few times as an audience member, and a few times to host or facilitate panels for either Cracked or NYWF, but this year it will be even more wonderful to return and help out any way I can as two women I admire greatly — Alex Neill and Jess Alice — are at the helm. I’ve worked with Alex over many years, including one year where she took on the role of Editor at The Pun (the first and only time I’ve ever had a publicist ring me to rave over how wonderful one of our editors was… she’s that awesome) and with Jess over the last few at Express Media. Both are shining examples of artists who also have excellent artistic direction skills. They can admin the shit out of an arts project just as well as they can creatively craft it, and I can’t wait to cheerlead from the sidelines as they create an absolutely spectacular NYWF 2014.
NYWF takes place in early October, meaning it will be a very short time after that I will head off to Poland to participate in the Atelier. In the lead up I will need to write a paper to present, and start to whittle down my wish-list of places nearby I want to visit. One non-negotiable is, of course, dropping in to visit Melbourne’s sister City of Literature, Krakow. They have some particularly wonderful initiatives which I would love to hear more about.
I’m also looking forward to seeing some results flow from the Women in Writing roundtable at EWF. You can check out my blog post about the event, but it is nice to be able to update you and let you know that we are already working towards our first event. The idea came directly from the session we held, and I can’t wait to share more about it with you.
I had a wonderful time doing our in-conversation event with John Marsden at The Wheeler Centre to launch the John Marsden Hachette Prize for Young Australian Writers. John is generous with his advice and enjoyable to talk to about all things writing. Having started reading his books as a teenager it was wonderful to talk to someone I have admired for so many years. The photo above is courtesy of Courteney Hocking, who came along and snapped from the front row.
National Young Writers’ Month has wrapped up, and this year the blog was a resource jam-packed with information and inspiration thanks to our Projects and Awards Intern Aleczander Gamboa. He really went above and beyond the call of duty. During NYWM I had a chat with 2013 Scribe Prize winner Oliver Mol, which you can check out here.
I really did think the second half of this year was going to slow down somewhat, but there are in fact more exciting possibilities on the horizon than ever before. Heading to Poland is obviously high on the list of awesomeness, and I hope I can fill you in on some of the rest soon.
Here she is, in all her glory, the 2013 edition of The Emerging Writer. Isn’t she pretty? I’m excited to have a chapter published in the book this year, talking about how vital community is to emerging writers and why it should be the focus of our energy rather than networking.
It’s a pleasure to be featured in the book, especially alongside such talent as Penni Russon, Alice Pung, Shaun Tan and Zoe Dattner.
You can learn more about The Emerging Writer, including where to find a copy to make your very own , at the Emerging Writers’ Festival website. Even better, come along to the launch on Thursday 30 May at the Fitzroy Town Hall. Bookings here.
I’m pleased as punch to be hosting a panel at the 10th Emerging Writers’ Festival. It’s a festival unique in being for writers as much as it is about writers, and a highlight on the Melbourne literary calendar. In one of the earliest years I volunteered to assist the festival by manning a welcome table, which at the time was an excuse to help out Richard Watts, then the Artistic Director of Express Media and someone I admired a lot. I didn’t know much about the festival at that stage, but from the moment I attended it was clear EWF was something special.
It’s a joy to have the opportunity to host this panel, Where in the World Do You Write, which is part of the Writers’ Conference on Saturday. I’ll be joined by Andrew Bifield, Balli Kaur Jaswal, Melanie Joosten and Ryan Paine, who will be talking about their experience on writer’s residencies, retreats and writing all over the world.
During EWF I’ll also be attending the launch of The Emerging Writer, which I have been published in for the first time this year, and various events I can manage to find the time for. If you aren’t already planning to head to something at EWF take a look at the program as there really is something for everyone.