Saturday, September 4, 2010
What I’m grateful for at the Brisbane Writers’ Festival:
1. OUTDOOR READING ROOM: As part of this year’s Get Reading program (previously known as Books Alive), there’s a fabulous outdoor reading room set up at the BWF with bucket chairs and rugs on grass where you can read and also have one ear on what’s happening on the Breezeway Stage. I’m a big fan of the government initiative to get more people reading books. And for the month of September if you buy one of the Get Reading 50 Books you can’t put down you’ll receive a free anthology of short stories by some of Australia’s top writers. What a bargain!
2. WIRADJURI-NESS: Yes it is a real word, even if I just made it up. I was grateful for my Wiradjuri-ness when my sista Jeanine Leanne took out the 2010 David Unaipon Award at this year’s QLD Premier’s Literary Awards for her unpublished manuscript Purple Threads. I was so proud of the soon-to-be-published author (and DR!). And as an aside, I was also glad for the noise her supporters made when her win was announced. Honestly, it was the most uninspired awards audience I have even been part of. Make some racket people, these winners have worked hard to get where they are today.
3. CHEEKY CHICKS: I’m grateful for the opportunity to discuss the role of commercial women’s fiction / chick-lit (or in my case ‘choc-lit’) with first time author Jessica Rudd (yes she is the ex-PMs daughter) and Rebecca Sparrow. Our panel at the festival was passionate and fun and we agreed that there just good fiction and bad fiction and that we should lose the whole literary hierarchy that suggest that works by women about women are crap! Listen peeps – Jane Austen was the original chick lit author! I’m proud of my three ‘chick lit’ titles: Not Meeting Mr Right, Avoiding Mr Right and Manhattan Dreaming (which you can purchase here), and guess what, they sell better than a lot of literary novels, because they engage readers, and that’s all that matters to me. You can read some media on the panel here.
4. KERBSIDE READING: Until this year, I was a kerbside reading virgin. So I am grateful to the BWF program which required me to do a reading from Manhattan Dreaming at Greystone’s Bar and Cellar on a stage outdoor / kerbside stage on Grey Street. I’m also grateful for the lessons I learned from that event. It was a highlight of my time in Bris-Vegas.
5. SISTA SUPPORT: I was grateful to local sistas like Janine Dunleavy who supported me this week at festival events. I’m fully aware that without such fabulous support it could’ve just been me, the barman and the sound engineer at Greystone’s... JD – pictured with me above, is also my Brisbane-based research assistant for my next adult novel set in the fabulously sunny city.