Why go to writers festivals? Because you love books and ideas.
Now I have returned from the Bryon Writers Festival, I want to sift through the stories and make a record of the gems. There were lots of shining gems. But all I have is this mixed together mash-up.
Nikki Gemmel describing the tender police who told her that her mother had died, her pain laid there for us to see
Clementine Ford reclaiming the C word
Kate Cole-Evans talking about going into pain instead of trying to escape it, (I think I understand)
the image of Kate Grenville taping up her hotel room in Launceston to escape the fragrance
I can’t remember who said (Joshua Yeldman?) you ought to go to your boundaries because you might end up going beyond them
Kim Mahood explaining writing is an intellectual exercise where she is always thinking about the meaning but when making her art she can let go, (why I doodle?)
Heather Taylor Johnson looking for and making poetry about illness and how calm her poems made me feel, (like all marvellous poetry)
Cosentino’s being unable to read and write until he discovered magic and could wow his genius father with magic tricks
Deng Adul’s journey from child soldier to lawyer, and his big greedy belly demonstration
Eco-anxiety (a new word for me) and the grief for reef and daughter on the face of Charlie Veron
– Nikki Gemmell – Kintsugi – repairing the cracks of loss with gold dust
Without an understanding of history, we are all bumbling idiots –
Michael Sala working through the impact of the violence in his childhood and speaking so openly about that violence and gender and masculinity –
Julia Baird’s toilet breaks being announced in the Royal Archives so she can write a whole new take on less than wholesome Queen Victoria (that painting…)
Lawrie Zion, another weather obsessive (I am not alone)
Those Indian writers…
I am exhausted just sorting through it again. For everything I saw and heard there was something else I missed.
Writer’s festivals like Byron, despite their name, are for readers. Lovers of books and for people stimulated by ideas and people’s stories.
The hardest part is deciding which books to buy. Then you can relax at the beach and read them.