I so much enjoyed the Alice Springs Writers Festival. I remember it keenly. For me, it was a better experience than the recent Sydney Writers Festival, which has become such a big occasion in which writers tend to feel a bit lost.
In Alice, while the crowds and the events were small, us writers were able to talk together easily and communicate about common concerns. It helped that we were all isolated in the Centre. The country definitely was influential. I doubt anyone who was there will forget the Sunday evening reading by Arnold Zable at Simpsons Gap. We sat or lay on the sand of the dry river, listening to Arnold's words. Roos came up behind us in the dusk to listen too. Overhead the stars sparked in a clear sky. Words were the only sound echoing from the rocks.
Then the readings around the candle circles in the dark. Powerful stuff. I can still hear Yvette Holt's poems. I know I returned inspired.
While I enjoyed the Sydney Writers Festival , it didn't leave me with the same feeling. It didn't charge my muse. Maybe that's because it's really the Sydney Readers Festival. It's not for writers, it's about writers.
Alice was for writers. May there be more festivals like it.