…Eight to go!

The Emerging Writers’ Festival has launched, it’s here, it’s on! And what a launch it was…

There was dancing, theatre, poetry, stories, debates, and even a short very very Australian rendition of “All You Need Is Love”. Oh yes, it had everything a wonderful night should have!

Lisa Dempster, in her debut year as festival director, achieved no small feat in orchestrating the evening. All the performers were really strong, and the debate (as always) very entertaining. Even Lisa’s voice-overs provided a strange Big Brother-y ambience that no other festival has had before.

At times the evening felt like it might have used an overall host or something to more tightly pull the performances together, to give them all a connection point, but just as that thought formed, there was Lisa’s voice, (EVERYWHERE!) bringing you back to the action and propelling you straight into whatever was next.

Highlight of the evening was easily Slow Clap Productions’  dancing man, Vachel Spirason. His piece was about a man whose body becomes possessed by various inanimate objects, giving a meek poor man a voice and a dance entirely unlike his own. I was incredibly glad to hear that Slow Clap will be back for Wordstock next Thursday – if you know what’s good for you, go book your tickets now!

The debaters argued with themselves over the issue of Love VS Angst – What Makes A Better Writer? The debate host, Michael Williams, declared no winner… But from where I was sitting, it sounded like angst won.

Today was spent at the Wheeler Centre. From 10am-12pm, I was in a workshop with Jo Case, on writing great book reviews. Everyone in the workshop was reasonably unafraid to speak up, and Jo had some amazing tips about review-writing. One thing I generally have trouble with is structuring book reviews in a coherent way, and Jo gave us help in this area – complete with examples and step-by-step type “tips”. Thanks, Jo! Let’s hope LGWABP benefits from this… I feel like it will.

In the afternoon (4-6pm) I was in a workshop with Harvest editors Davina Bell and Julia Carlomagno. The workshop was around editing work for publication. I was a little disappointed with this one – it covered a lot of stuff I’ve covered before (being considerate of editors before sending in unpolished work with sloppy formatting, just generally being professional). While that kind of thing wasn’t new for me, Davina and Julia still had a lot to contribute to my never-ending search for Someone Who Will Publish Me, so still a well-spent few hours.

This has only been the first two days of the festival – still eight days to go!