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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Off To The Festival!

I've been attending the Melbourne Writers' Festival for many years. It used to be wonderful. You could buy ten tickets in advance cheaper than individually and if you were, as I am, a member of the Australian Society of Authors, it was even cheaper. So I took a chance and tried out authors and sessions I might not otherwise try and probably bought books I read once and that then gathered dust on my shelves, but still, it was fun. And there was plenty going on in the evenings, including children's and YA writers I wanted to hear. And there were Harry Potter readings and trivia quizzes when that was the flavour of the month. Science fiction and fantasy writers were around in the evenings and on weekends; I can recall a very strong disagreement between Robert Jordan and Ben Bova during one panel. And China Mieville telling  us how wonderful he was,as opposed to, say, that overrated J.R.R Tolkien... ;-) ( If people are still reading YOUR books in sixty years, Mr M, you can talk then, I thought).  And Tara Moss saying that she had been considering writing science fiction, but prefers a genre where you have to do research- yes, she said that! If I hadn't been sitting next to her publisher, to whom I was still hoping to sell a book, I would have asked her, at question time, just how much SF she has read and what makes her think it doesn't need research. And crime fiction sessions galore, along with true crime panels. Them was the days!

Now you can mostly only hear the children's writers during the daytime, when I'm at work; I did take a class once, but we really had neither time nor money to hear more than one speaker. (It would be nice if I got a chance to be on a panel myself, but don't get me started on this! Grrr...)

In fact, most of the writers I want to hear are on during the day time these days. So my attendance at the Festival has gone down to two or three sessions a year. I was very lucky, in 2010, to hear Kim Stanley Robinson on the weekend, but he was in the country to speak at Aussiecon and if I hadn't been sick with whooping cough I could have heard him anyway. There was a session on crime fiction yesterday I wanted to attend but I got into town too late due to family commitments and there was nothing on between five and eight PM apart from a couple of launches that didn't interest me and one sold-out session.

So these days I mostly just turn up, see what's on and hope there will be something for me. Today I have to attend a child's birthday party, but I will head into town after brekkie, buy the gift and see what's on. Late this afternoon there's a Twelfth Planet launch where I believe Kerry Greenwood and Margo Lanagan will be, so hopefully I can excuse myself from the birthday in time to go to that. If anyone in Melbourne is reading this, why not come along and say hi?


Tara Moss said...

Hi Sue,

How are you?

Are you sure about 'Tara Moss saying that she had been considering writing science fiction, but prefers a genre where you have to do research- yes, she said that!'? Because I write a fantasy series and I research for that (folklore, ancient mythology, etc). And I've also researched for sci fi I haven't yet published. Speculative fic requires quite a bit of research, esp the sci fi genre.
x Tara

Tara Moss said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sue Bursztynski said...

Hi Tara, welcome to my blog and I'm afraid you did say that. I've never forgotten it. I am happy to hear that you've changed your mind since then.;-)

Sean Wright said...

Hi Sue,

Hope you enjoyed it. I would loved to have gone to the festival and the TPP launch, if just to see friendly faces again.

Sue Bursztynski said...

Hi Sean! I'm sure you'll see plenty of friendly faces at the next Adelaide Festival. :-) It was very nice, by the way. I did see plenty of familiar faces. Someone commented it was like being at a con. I ended up buying three books. Margo wasn't there, alas, but plenty of folk were. I may not get o any more events this tie, though I am going to Booktalkers tomorrow. I discovered too late that Michael Pryor had done a session(sold out, of course, and I had my birthday party anyway). Rats, missed out.