It’s official! The date I’ve been hanging out for since last year is finally here. The Emerging Writers Festival program was launched last night, and you can now view the program on the EWF website.

I’ve already started ranking what I simply must go to, what I might go to if I come into some money, and what’s not helpful for me at all.

Things that have caught my eye:
“The First Word” ($20/$10) on the 21st of May… I went to this event last year and it got me so excited. It’s a panel event, this year’s line up includes some names I know well and others I’ve never heard… just a great way to kick of the festival.

“Express Media Skill Share” ($10ea./$30 for all four) on the 22nd of May… Express Media do some amazing work with young people, and Melbourne’s absolutely blessed to have a constant resource for our young and emerging writers. Express Media are running a bunch of workshops on the 22nd May, and have an awesome deal that you can go to all four workshops (so you’ll be there all day soaking up fantastic knowledge and skills) for $30. I’m only interested in two of these workshops, but they both look pretty great – one is run by Jo Case and it’s about writing good reviews, and the other is run by Davina Bell and Julia Carlomango and it’s about editing your work for publication… looks like some really worthwhile stuff happening with Express Media.

“Page Parlour” (FREE!) on the 23rd May is a big zine fair at the Fed Square atrium. It’s a really great place to meet people, as a lot of the stalls are manned by important people from those publications (editors etc), and also a good way to stock up on some publications that are a little harder to find.

From the 24th-28th of May, there’s something called TwitterFEST (FREE), where EWF are running interviews, discussions debates etc on Twitter, making it really democratic and interactive, everything’s just organised using #hashtags. …you don’t even have to leave the couch for this one! I’m most interested in the 28th of May at 2pm, when a slew of fantastic writers and important people will be discussing “how is Twitter helping writers?”

From the 24th to the 27th of May, Estelle Tang is hosting “15 Minutes of Fame” (FREE), at The Wheeler Centre, 7pm daily. These events will be mini book launches of books from a variety of fields. Well worth a look-in.

There’s a heap of (FREE) “guided writing exercises” from 6-7pm daily at the City Library, as part of “Creative Writing Bootcamp”… a good excuse to be forced to do something?

The 27th of May sees a regular Wheeler Centre event, “Lunchbox/Soapbox” (FREE) as part of the EWF, with Chris Flynn talking about “the role of heroic dogs in literature and movies”….sure. I’ll be there.

 “Wordstock” is always a huge event for the EWF, and it happens on the 27th May. It’s a night of performances from writers who have written in response to a certain band or artist. Last year was Nick Cave; this year is AC/DC. I met Emilie Zoe Baker not so long ago, and she’s a really amazing woman and poet. She’s performing here, as well as Sean M Whelan and some other great poets/writers, so get on down there. ($20/$10).

There’s some amazing stuff going on at the Town Hall on the 29th and 30th of May. Discussions about the writing process, what makes a good interview and all the hard parts of being a writer – the Town Hall program is a little pricier, but it’s where the bigger events happen and from the look of the lineup this year there will be some worthwhile discussions taking place in that building.

On the 29th May is an event the EWF have been talking about a lot in the lead-up to the program launch. “The Zine Bus” (FREE) is a bus which takes zines around Melbourne, and “culminates in a guerilla zine market” at Fed Square.

…The entirely too-long list of events above are only those I’m interested in. And I’ve just skimmed over the program, especially the Town Hall side of things. Get onto the EWF website, check out the program, get yourself down to some of the awesome events that will be on in just a few weeks’ time.