Well, it’s been a while. It’s hard to get time to write here, huh? Or is it just me who’s being lazy? 😀
Anyway, what I’d really like to say is that it’s been over two week after the Sydney Writers’ Festival (SWF) 2008 was officially closed. And I’ve been eager to write just a little something [at least a few lines] about it during the previous weeks. So, here’s what I have in mind [maybe a bit more than a few lines :D].
Note: Showing Judith Lucy in action (standing), this picture is one of some interesting sessions at the SWF, taken from the festival website with the photographer Prudence Upton.
This is probably not such of festival that cheerful or fun-loving people would prioritise to attend. Yet, there were a lot of visitors there in this year’s SWF. At least, the atmosphere at the festival’s main venue, the Walsh Bay precinct, showed it. And as the festival-goers have already aware of, there were a lot more sessions were held at some other venues, whether it was still around Sydney metro or went across to the other regions of NSW.
It is said that one of the improvements for this year’s SWF was the addition of a few more locations for the sessions. By adding the Pier 2/3 of Walsh Bay to the list of venues, one organiser staff said that it has made the event more flexible, and relaxing or more convenient to be enjoyed by people. Well, what I also saw was a good management of the venues has become one of the reasons for its success.
At the beautiful Walsh Bay precinct alone, at least there were one or two sessions a day that was over-capacity. Maybe it’s easy to understand it if they were all just free events, but the fact is some of the ticketed events were even already fully-booked several days before they commenced. Imagine that for a non-music or non-food-related festival.
And not as what non-book-lovers or people who just don’t know about the festival would possibly think, the attendees were not all old person. Lots of them were young people, even teenage. And yeah, they were kids too. Well, at least for the festival’s precinct, it’s such a nice place for the whole family indeed. Beautiful views, with one of the Sydney’s landmarks just on a near distance of your sight.
The queues are another way to say how interesting this festival was for a lot of people. At least on the time when I was there, at the Sydney Dance Company venues, queues were almost all over the place. A few queues were even longer than half the building’s side. And guess what? In a queue like that, you couldn’t be sure enough you’ll get in, even when you almost reached the room’s door.
Seriously, this note is not just some sort of praise for the festival. After all, what would I get from such praise, anyway? No, that’s not it. And of course, like many other events, this festival surely has problems and negative notes too. For instance, I heard about some issues brought up during the festival, whether it was management issues or even a big literacy issue. For a complete report on all about it, the UTS Journalism’s Festival News can be a reference.
So then, what I was up to there? Well, basically I was up to any kind of event, but probably more into some discussion sessions. Unfortunately, I was only able to be there in the afternoon within two non-consecutive days, Thursday and Saturday. And it’s become more unfortunate for me, since I only attended two sessions. Here’s some story for that…
The first for me was a session called “Writing for Young Adults”. It was a panel discussion involving three interesting novel authors, Doug MacLeod, Michael Gerard Bauer and Matt Costello, facilitated by John Meredith, an actor.
And then, following the above session, I intended to attend another interesting free discussion with an author, titled “Princesses and Pornstars”. It’s a famous female author, Emily Maguire, who in that afternoon talked to Anne Summers about what has happened to women’s rights recently. But I was unlucky, and had to face my first disappointment as an “over-capacity-venue victim”.
Emily surely has a lot of fans, which I then decided to attend her other session when I came by again two days later. A session with a similar name to her previous one, Pornstars, Princesses and Lost Boys, only that this time it was involving a male author, Sam de Brito.
But I had to join the long queue this time, even when at first I was convinced I’ll get in because I stood at a position under the count of a hundred. Yet, there was still no luck there, which finally made me and the rest of the “queueing gang” have to be please enough to listen to the discussion broadcast through a speaker outside of the building. There was another session presenting Emily on Sunday, the next day, but I wasn’t able to be nearby the festival venues at all.
So then, what was the other session that I managed to go to? It’s a launch of a short stories compilation book called the “Growing up Asian in Australia”. And it was also an interesting event, especially for me, knowing that there are so many young Asian writers around.
Below is one of the pictures I took there, showing when Alice Pung the editor –and a Melbourne-based lawyer– had a signature-request session at the end of the launching, accompanied by the lady from Black Inc. the publisher.
(Next: the Sydney Film festival – and I already saw two of the movies at the moment)