I had a lovely three days at the Brisbane Writers Festival! I had hoped there would be more days, but was miserably unwell during the week, and only just managed to claw myself back to being able to go in on Friday.
Unfortunately, this meant I missed hearing the readings and seeing the announcements of the winner of the Wordplay Microfiction prize on the Thursday, but I was permitted to read all the finalists’ stories after the event, and was enchanted with all the elegant, eloquent, unexpected ways they riffed on the inspiration image.
I can’t find a list of the winners online yet, but congratulations!
On Friday I chaired the “Debuting in a Pandemic Panel”, with Jacqueline Maley, Sophie Overett and Lyndall Clipstone.
The three books were very different: Jacqueline Maley’s The Truth About Her is a novel of guilt, journalism, love and motherhood. Sophie Overett’s The Rabbits depicts of stifling Brisbane summers, and the damage and enchantment that can exist between generations. Lyndall Clipestone’s Lakesedge is a gothic, romantic fantasy, with more than a touch of the fairytale.
And it was lovely to bring together all the experiences which went into bringing these books into being, editing and launching them during the second year of a pandemic, and finding space and peace to write — and books to vanish into!
On Saturday I gave a one hour map illustration workshop.
It was actually really fun to see if this workshop could work in 1 hour (it did! although of course you can dive much deeper and do a larger map with more time) and to put together this little zine-fold instruction book which I hope to build on for future projects. This, although brief, was a very large and lively workshop between LoveYA events at the Brisbane Square Library.
After that I was on a panel with Lynette Noni and C. S. Pacat, chaired by Samantha Baldry, called “Sweet, Sweet, Fantasy”.
We got very intense about research and making things up, getting things written, planning, exclaiming over each others’ writing processes, etc.
And on Sunday, I gave a three hour workshop on observation journals, honing skills and pursuing creative fascinations.
It was a smaller group and a long delightful workshop, wide-ranging and intense, and everyone dug thoroughly into the exercises, which was fascinating for all of us, because a lot of the point of this approach is that it will vary as people chase down their own processes. It was lovely to see how many pages of exercise, thoughts, ideas, plans and even drawings everyone left with.
It was lovely to update and expand this from the version I gave for the Queensland Art Teachers Association Conference last year, and bring in more focus on writing.
And around all the presenting and planning there were wonderful conversation with friends new and old, writers and publicists, publishers and agents, readers and fans, librarians, waiters, volunteers and BWF staff and board members, poets and musicians.
I might update this post with some photos if I come across them.