Thursday, September 25, 2008

Brisbane Writers Festival:

What a busy festival! My workshop "So you want to be an author" went very well and the feedback suggests that those attending are better prepared for a writing career now. That's always a pleasing result for me.
On Thursday, I chaired a very interesting conversation between Rod Morrison, publisher of Picador, and Judith Lanigan, who received an ASA Mentorship in 2007. Judith's book will be published by Picador next year. This was a really useful session for those who attended. They were able to gain an insight into the evolution of a book and the processes that go into its writing.
On the Saturday, Dr Anita Heiss, chair of the ASA and author of Avoiding Mr Right (Random House -- it's a funny, entertaining read) presented a compelling case for what is Australian literature in a debate chaired by Kerry Kilner of AustLit and featuring Madonna Duffy of UQP, author Matt Condon, and Rosemary Sorenson of the Australian. A great debate which you can follow on Anita's blog.
I was also pleased to catch up with Libby Gleeson (her new book is Mahtab's Story from Allen & Unwin and in its fourth reprint), the wonderful Kate Grenville who was launching her new book The Lieutenant (Text), Terri-ann White, publisher at University of Western Australia Press, as well as many aother ASA members, including the winner of the Prime Minister's Prize for Fiction, Stephen Conte. I was able to congratulate him again in person. His book The Zookeeper's War (HarperCollins) is in the pile on my bedside table and I'm looking forward to getting to it. I'm a little overwhelmed by non-fiction at present though as I'm a judge for the Walkley non-fiction book award.
One book I have got to is Narrelle M. Harris's The Opposite of Life (Pulp Fiction Press), which is a fabulous (literally!) vampire mystery set in Melbourne. Yes, it all works together to make a terrific read if you like contemporary vampire books set in Melbourne -- and who doesn't? Pulp Fiction Press is a new Brisbane publisher and its first two books set very high standards. Good luck to Ron Serdiuk and Diane Waters and their team!
The relocation of the BWF to the State Library of Queensland was a good one. And hats off to the State Library of Queensland Bookshop, which did a great job offering the books of the writers at the festival to the attending crowds. I hope for their sake that sales were robust.

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