Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Indigenous history launch: photos

The lovely Jackie Kerin emailed me the following photos from the Indigenous history launch, which included a smoking ceremony to celebrate the launch of The Yalukit-willam: First People of the City of Hobsons Bay, which I unfortunaly couldn't make as I was at another session.

You should also check out Jackie's blog, where she has posted her highlights from the festival - but a picture of yours truely!!


Sunday, 1 May 2011

WLF: Day Two Wrap

Hello hello!

Ahhhh, another busy day!

I was lucky and was able to sleep in an hour and eagerly headed back to Williamstown for two workshops: Editing and turning Fact into Fiction.

Editing was first with an editor from Macmillan.

It was so interesting.

She talked us through making the new edition of Cookery The Australian Way (due out in about August).

It was so interesting. She had proof pages, photos, mock-ups, everything.

Did you know that it costs over $120,000 in production costs alone to make it?! Insane!

No wonder publishing is so fickle and hard to get into!

She talked about some common editorial mistakes and we read an article and discussed it.

Although it wasn't very focused on the technical aspects of editing (marking a document, the symbols etc) it was really interesting and informative.

I had a hour break between them, and during that time I sat outside with some other people in the editing workshop.

We chatted about books, writing and festivals, and one of them bought up the fact that this is one of her favourite parts of festivals - sitting down, sharing a coffee and talking to other festival go-ers.

She was quick to say that's why she liked WLF - other, larger festivals don't have the same feel.

I was quick to concur, bringing up my musings on The World Science Fiction Convention versus Melbourne Writers Festival - they can be found here.

After the break, I had Fact to Fiction with Lisa Lang.

We read excerpts from Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates, which was fascinating and brilliantly written and now I must go out and buy it.

Lisa was extremely knowledgeable and spoke with clarity and ease while describing what it's like to turn true events into fiction.

We did two writing exercises based on the Lindy Chamberlain as well, which were interesting and challenging.

Over all: another great day.

Why oh why can't this go on longer!!

Saturday, 30 April 2011

WLF: Day One Wrap

Evening evening!

Today was day one of the main program!

First up for me was Margaret Clark.

I was pretty excited to see her.

Okay, very excited. I grew up on her! The horror, the non-fiction, the modelling series - everything.

I attempted to arrive early but didn't, thanks to one cancelled train then the following one being late (love ya, Metro) but I still managed to secure a front-row seat :D

You could tell she'd done this once or twice before: she was prepared like no-one's business.

She had these large boards with all her book covers which was just like going down memory lane for me!

She spoke about writing and how she got started, and where her ideas come from.

She ended on reading part of her regular newspaper column which was about her granddaughter's third birthday party, and was so funny!

After, I bought myself a sausage and headed out into the sun to sit and read.

So lovely! I swear, half the fun of literary festivals is sitting around, enjoying the atmosphere of them.

I have to tell you, seeing Corrinne Grant, Cal Wilson and Tracy Bartram was the highlight of the day.

The three of them were hilarious.

I always used to listen to Tracy (and Matt!) on Fox and remember clearly when she announced she was quitting - I was quite upset!

They spoke about writing - both comedy and Corrinne's memoir, and Tracy's soon-to-be-released book.

Corrinne said she generally writes between 8am-2/3pm whereas Cal works around her children and writes in quick bursts during naps.

All spoke about performing, improv and told hilarious anecdotes.

Corrinne, Tracy, Cal

At the end, one of the founders of the festival came up to thank them and joked that she was sure we could have sit there all day and listed to them talk - I know I could have!

Next up, I went to a writing workshop with Sofie Laguna.

I was easily the oldest person there (despite the program saying it was suitable for people up to 25) and Sofie commented that it was a bit odd running a writing workshops for teens considering she doesn't write for that age group (she writes picture books, MG and has one adult novel).

We worked on a character together as a group, each calling out different things like gender, age, features etc.

Our character - Laura, 17 - turned out to be pretty dark with a sexually abusive father, among other things.

Sofie was laughing and asking how the group knew about such dark stuff (majority of the group were around fourteen or so) and they immediately replied with 'television' 'movies' 'video games'.

She then lead us through writing our own characters and then some people read them out.

The last session I went to was a workshop on blogging with Literary Minded's Angela Meyer.

Helenka (festival manager) commented on the post-modernism of the official blogger attending a blogging workshop to only go home and blog about it :p

So here I am, blogging about it!!

Angela, much like Margaret, is obviously a seasoned pro: she had notes covering every little bit of blogging from why to blog, how to set it up, platforms to use, social networking, how to attract readers etc.

The woman opposite me took pages of notes as did many people.

It was interesting listening to her talk about the genesis of Literary Minded and how she got started out - she also set up a fake blog and talked about the real roots of them.

Over all: jam-packed excellent day!!

Who's going tomorrow?

Friday, 29 April 2011

People's Choice Night @ WLF

Ahoy there, me hearties!

Tis me, your fearless blogger Megan, blogging live from The People’s Choice Awards at The Williamstown Literary Festival.

Well, not technically live. More that I’m writing this on my computer live, now, and I shall upload when I get home – ie where the internet is!

After almost getting lost and walking down a creepy alley-way to find the tavern, I was greeted with the familiar face of Helenka, the festival manager.

I’ve worked with Helenka (at the Melbourne Writers Festival) before and she is just of the nicest, hardworking, knowledgeable people around. Just lovely.

For those that know me from Literary Life, this won’t come as a shock: I immediately grabbed one of the closest seats to the front.

The tavern has such atmosphere: pirate and sea items lined the walls, along with the corrugated iron walls.

The venue is actually pretty fantastic for open mic nights. There was a little stage set up in the corner, with tables all around. It worked really well.

After a few hiccups with people arriving late and a dodgy microphone, and after a lovely introduction from the Prose MC, Jackie (who spoke about writing fragments), Michael from Passionate Tongues got up and introduced the Poetry section.

Ten poets read fourteen poems and although I took pictures of one of my friends (the gorgeous Sam from Little Girl With A Big Pen) I thought it would be slight over-kill to put up twenty-odd photos on this post :p However, the festival took photos of everyone so I can only assume they’ll turn up on the website at some point.

The poems ranged from refugees, cafes, birds, public transport, relationships and cities.

There were some comedic ones and some serious, some performers and some readers but overall they all were fantastic.

The final winner for Poetry was Lily Chan, who spoke about the ultimate poem.

Next up were the Prose writers, who spoke about things such as emails, distance, cheese, rats and self-harm.

The final winner for the Prose was Matthew Lang who spoke about cheese and raisins.

Over all, what a brilliant night!

You definitely missed out if you didn’t come!!

Now, for some pics!


At the end, Jackie (the prose host) told us a story using a Japanese story-box (above) (and for the life of me I can't remember what it's called!!). We heard The Princess and the Pea and what a great story-teller!

(And I must apologise - the internet is over the limit and I left my computer on all nigtht to load all the photos! Eekk!)

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Public Speaking at The People's Choice Awards Night

Hey, guess what guys...

The People's Choice is coming this Thursday!

And y'all know what that means, don't you?

It means it's your chance to read your work in front of a supportive and awesome crowd.

And for any writer, emerging or otherwise, that is pretty fantastic opportunity!

And also, if you need any more encouragement, there is monetary prizes. Money! Money!!

I remember my first time reading my work out (in a non-schooling way).

I wrote about it on my blog here and for a photo here, but essentially I entered a competition with Voiceworks/Express Media to read work out loud - either your own or someone else's (ie, perhaps a passage from your favourite book).

I read two of my own pieces and came third (hazzar!).

Basically, kids, we have three spots left:
Two for Poetry
One for Prose

I know it's short notice but as a writer, you really have to take risks - so go for it!

I shall be there, and really, what's better than that!! :p

For the nervous types, here are some excellent public speaking tips for writers:
  • Well, this first tip isn't really for public speaking but one of my favourite bloggers (and a New York Times book list author!!) Kiersten White has posted part one of her first keynote speech, about becoming a better write
  • Tips for those writers/authors being forced into public speaking (okay, we're not quite at the point of forcing people yet but there's some really good tips here!)
  • Here's a YouTube video on the subject: now I must confess that I haven't actually watched the video as we're over the download limit at home (sigh share house with housemates using the Internet up!) but according to the description it looks helpful! Someone tell me if it is?

To apply, see the instructions on the WLF website.

Hope to see - and hear! - you there!

Sunday, 24 April 2011

WLF Guest Author Interview - Jon Bauer

It is my greater pleasure to introduce everyone to my friend, the fantastic writer Jon Bauer.

His debut novel, Rocks in the Belly, was published last year by Scribe and has received great acclaim - including being longlisted for the Miles Franklin Award 2011 and winning the Indie Award for Debut Fiction 2011.

Rocks in the Belly

How far can you push a child?

Rocks in the Belly is about a precocious eight-year-old boy and the volatile adult he becomes. During childhood his mother fosters boys, despite the jealous turmoil it arouses in her son. Jealousy that reaches unmanageable proportions when she fosters Robert, an amiable child she can’t help bonding with. Until the bond triggers an event that profoundly changes everyone. Especially Robert.

At twenty-eight the son returns to face his mother. He hasn’t forgiven her for what happened to Robert. But now she’s the dependent one and he the dominant force — a power he can’t help but abuse.

Written in two startlingly original voices, Rocks in the Belly is about the destruction we wreak on one another in the pursuit of our own happiness; how we never escape our upbringing; and a stark reminder that the most dangerous place for a child is within the family.

A compelling, powerful, and yet beautiful and funny novel.

Jon recently answered the following questions for the WLF Blog:

1. 25 words or less: why should people come and see you at WLF?
Writers festivals are a wonderful moment where the division between writer and reader blurs. I always find that inspiring. There's a wonderful transaction in gathering for a shared passion.
2. What do you want people to take away from your debut novel?
 I want Rocks in the Belly to pick a reader up, gather them fully into the story, and to set them down at the end in a different place to where they started. It's a funny, moving, full-on book, I didn't want it to be the type of book that leaves you untouched.
3. What are you working on now?
Two books at once. One about a man going blind. The other is turning into quite the most distorted love story. I'm having so much fun with them.
4. Who are you most looking forward to seeing at WLF?
Chris Womersley. He's a funny and engaging public speaker, and his book Bereft is flying at the moment.

You can catch Jon at WLF:
Getting your first novel across the line
Steven Amsterdam, Jon Bauer and Jonathan Griffiths

For more information,

Friday, 22 April 2011

The Sun Bookshop, Cricket and Chocolate!


What's everyone up to on this slightly chilly public holiday? Eating lots of chocolate I hope!

I've slept in, read, and generally not done much, which has been fantastic.

But now am catching up on work!

Something I'd like to draw your attention to is:

Did you know they're the offical bookseller for WFL?

You can find their website here, and blog here, or you could, you know, come along to the festival and meet them in person!

Speaking of the festival, have you checked the news page on our website?

Exciting lead-up to the festival, and today's news includes cricket!

Not being a cricket fan myself, I can't get that excited about the news, but hey: lots of people do like cricket!

You can check out the cricket news here, or read it below:

On Sunday 1 May Williamstown hosts a visit by another cricket legend when Gideon Haigh comes to town to talk cricket with The Age's Greg Baum. Gideon wields his pen like W.G. swung a cricket bat - with panache and brilliance. The latest book in his prolific output is ‘Sphere of Influence’ a thrilling expose of cricket’s racy new format Twenty20 and the murky world of Indian cricket.  His talk with the multi-award winning Age journalist is bound to knock us for six.  Talking Cricket starts 1.30 pm in the Supper Room, Williamstown Town Hall.

I think now would be a good time: what session/person are you most looking forward to seeing at the festival?