Tag Archives: writers

BWF 2010: Part 2

17 Sep

Valentino gowns. An enthusiastic Norwegian. Organic coffee beneath a sprinkling of rain.

This was my second glimpse of the Brisbane Writer’s Festival. And it was much better than my first, I can tell you.

Ali and I started our day at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA). We had an hour until our panel; we had plenty of time. Seeing the Valentino exhibition was high on my list of things to do while I was in Brisbane for the festival, and I’m so glad I got the chance to see it, because it was so beautiful! Honestly, if you haven’t seen it yet, you need to get your ass there and SEE IT! I think I wanted to take just about every gown I saw with me (and there was a lot – you get your value for money and then some!)

After the disaster that was our first panel (the day before), we didn’t hold high hopes for Random Acts. I started devising an exit strategy before we went up stairs to the Qld Terrace, just in case (since it would have been handy on the Saturday). As it turns out, we didn’t need an exit strategy. We didn’t even need plans for the rest of the day, because I could have quite happily listened to Jostein Gaarder, Louise Doughty and lovely chair, Katherine Lyall-Watson, for hours.

The panel was all about philosophical thinking and personal beliefs: whether certain events in our lives really are random, or whether they’re being controlled by a higher power, kind of like a puppeteer maneuvering his puppets on a string as he/she sees fit. It’s hard to condense the panel into a few words because there was SO MUCH in it – Jostein talks so quickly and with such excitement that you find yourself being swept along with his voice, and you’re so engrossed you forget to take notes!

Leaving the panel, my head was full of all different kinds of scenarios and whether some things are random or not. Also, I wanted to buy both Jostein and Louise’s novels (which I haven’t yet, but I swear I will; I kinda depleted the bank account just a tad the day before at QWC and Avid Reader…)

The rest of my time in the Qld capital was spent feeding my face (pretty much) – eating the most amazing Chinese of my life with Ali and her lovely family, and stuffing myself full of to-die-for grilled chicken at The Norman with my grandfather.

And then came Belinda Jeffrey’s book launch. We all packed in tight to the little Avid Reader bookstore on the Monday night (because of my last, not-so-nice experience of West End earlier in the week I dragged my hubby along as body guard/walk-us-to-our-car man).

The launch was short and sweet and wonderfully done. It was so lovely to finally meet Belinda, say a quick hello and snag an autograph inside the cover of her shiny new book (which has the best cover in the world, I might add – I love it!) And then it was back to the apartment to pack up all the stuff I’d bought during my trip and head home with weary feet and a head full of writing-talk.

The question now is: would I do it all again next year? In a heartbeat.

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I Come Bearing Good News!

15 Sep

I got the news in the BP service station outside Caboolture. I was on my way to Brisbane for the writer’s festival, and it was the first time I’d had phone service since I’d left home.

I didn’t expect to get a place – in fact, I was so sure that I had no chance of winning that when the email came through – “delighted to let you know you have been accepted” – I was struck mute for at least a few minutes.

I had just won myself a place in a mentoring writer’s retreat.

I’ve wanted to tell you all this for a while now (I found out a couple of weeks ago), but I didn’t quite know how to put it into words before. I’m still not sure I’ve done the news justice. Sure, to some out there this may seem a bit like overkill: to get so excited over something that, when compared to a publishing contract or something of similar magnitude, is quite small. But to someone like me, someone who has previously been too afraid to even put my work out there for critique, someone who has been knocked back with short stories and poems, someone who has felt the lowest of writing lows (and more than once), someone who has doubted her skills almost at every turn, well, this is huge and exciting and I still can’t believe this happened to me. Is happening to me.

My completed novel, “Times of Bright” is already with the author who will be conducting the retreat in a month’s time. During the three days she will provide me with feedback on my strengths and weaknesses as a writer, in order to help me polish the manuscript into something I can then send away to agents and publishers for consideration.

I envisage many rewrites in my not-too-distant future, but that’s okay, because I’m on the track to publication now. And I can only go forward from here.