Melbourne Writers Festival 2015 Review.
I’ve never felt so alive.
As an emerging writer who spends a lot of time interacting with other writers online, walking into a room full of people who share my passion for the written word is always a special treat. I’ve spent several days over the past two weeks at Melbourne Writers Festival 2015 surrounded by thousands of readers and writers, and I can safely say that #MWF15 was a triumph of programming and performance.
I attended a mixture of industry specific and author events, and found great value in most of them. I especially enjoyed hearing from Graeme Simsion on the realities of promotion for mid-list authors, and Jenny Darling, one of Australia’s many great literary agents. I’ve picked Graeme and Jenny as my industry favourites because they were down to earth, honest, and insightful. Hearing about the publishing industry from their perspectives was outstanding.
There were many other outstanding sessions that I attended as well. Inside New York Publishing, and Editors at Work were both fascinating in their insights, which were provided by a range of local and international guests – I’d recommend checking out Jonathan Galassi’s new book, Muse, for more insight on the New York front. (Special mention to Aviva Tuffield – you’re the kind of editor I’d love to work with!)
I also enjoyed hearing from well-known authors, and getting a glimpse into their methods and thinking. Rob Thomas (Veronica Mars) and Daniel Handler (Lemony Snickett’s A Series of Unfortunate Events) were entertaining, giving anecdotes and insights in equal measure, but it was Eleanor Catton who stood out to me. Maybe I’m being biased as a fellow Kiwi, but her thoughts on the importance of reading were on point. “When you read, you see what has not been written, and see how you can join that conversation.” and “Perhaps in the end, the purpose of reading is to simply love reading, and want to read on.” were among her better quotes of the morning.
One thing has stuck with me as a result of attending the festival: I’m extremely proud to be a part of Melbourne’s literary community – I think I hadn’t fully realised that until I met so many passionate Melbourne writers at the festival. Every session wasn’t necessarily a home run, but with such a packed schedule, that’s to be expected.
I’ve walked away from this year’s festival full of ideas and with a much longer to-read list than I had a week ago. I’m inspired to write more, and to write well. I know that my focus is to continue refining my work to be the best it can be – and that’s a wonderful goal to have.
Thanks to everyone who was part of pulling together this year’s festival – you’ve done Melbourne’s literary scene proud.
Take a bow.