Sunday 24 February 2013

“Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you’ve got to say, and say it hot.” – D.H Lawrence.

I have been honoured to be in the presence of some hot speak during the Perth International Writer’s Festival 2013.

“Being Bold” with  Julia Lawrinsonand Vikki Wakefield, chaired by Bonnie Davies.  What was interesting was that each of us took to the topic as if it were anathema.  Each of us having been labeled “bold” in the past (with varying consequences) we argued that the “bold” tag can almost be a hobble in our market.  Where we write for our audience (or in my case with no audience in mind) we find ourselves nose to nose with the gatekeepers of young adult literature time and time again.  With adults deciding what is appropriate and what is not, what opportunities for authentic, contentious discussion are being lost?  Is this fair?  We didn’t answer that question as well we shouldn’t.  Our job is not to anticipate the response to our writing lest that inhibit the honesty from which we draw our motivation.  To be on a panel with Julia Lawrinson whom I have read and respected for so many years was wonderful, even though now I have a permanent mental picture of her with her legs out the sunroof of a Yaris.  And Vikki Wakefield and I discovered quite early on that we are actually twins separated at birth. ‘Nuff said.  (Check in with Vikki if you need validation of this).

“At The Edge of Darkness” with Caroline Overington and Emma Chapman, chaired by Jane Cornes.  Having read the latest from these extraordinary women (Sisters of Mercy and How To Be A Good Wife, respectively) I was very excited to meet them.  Both of these women have credentials and prizes the listing of which throw me into an alcohol/codeine induced depression.  Just as well I was wearing my “Artist” lanyard, otherwise someone would have shoe-horned me out of my seat on the panel gently explaining “The audience doesn’t sit there, dear.”

What a ride!  With the faultless, and gentle, direction of our chair (Jane Cornes) we covered realism in literature, the process by which our experience with the real morphs into fiction, our favourite characters in our own books, where we draw from to create our worlds, the editorial process, and the future of publishing (p-book, e-book, online). 

It was so good to be given the opportunity to have these public conversations with such extraordinarily talented writers, to interact with other readers, and to sit in the signing chair earlier occupied by Andy Griffiths (I kept it warm for you Andy...).

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