Am back from Sydney Writers Festival for 2011 and phoar, what a festival it is. I went in 2006 and it was a stunner. Huge, martially organised, teeming millions of authors both domestic and international, many drinks parties, many drinks had til the wee hours and fabulous, fantastic conversations both in panels and in private.
I actually didn’t get to see a single event other than my own, due to most of the ones I wanted to go to being, inevitably, scheduled at the same time as mine, or just before or after (when I had to be in the Green Room or signing books). Shame. I heard there were some great ones: Sonya Hartnett, David Mitchell and others.
Mine were great — one where I interviewed Sonia Faleiro about her extraordinary account of bar dancers in Mumbai, Beautiful Thing; one on the so-called ‘Porn Wars’ which was a very, shall we say vigorous debate, chiefly between Gail Dines (author of Pornland) on one hand, and Catherine Lumby and Leslie Cannold on the other side, and me in the middle (it was filmed by ABC Big Ideas but isn’t online yet); then one solely on The Romantic, in conversation with Anne Maria Nicholson which was very enjoyable; then a final discussion of memoir with Georgia Blain and Emma Forrest, author of Your Voice in My Head.
Here’s a quick interview I did with Sydney Writers Centre at the festival, talking about both my books, memoir writing and writing in general.
Dream-like hazy sunshiney warm weather, thousands of people lounging and strolling on the wharfs, constantly bumping into writers I know or was eager to meet. It was wonderful. Exhausting. A pleasure.