Emerging Writers’ Festival: some advice to remember

The Emerging Writers’ Festival finished on Sunday, but the ideas and inspiration that it created will hopefully linger for some time to come. From the pages and pages of notes (and quite a few tweets) that I wrote during the festival, here are those points that struck me the most:

Dan Giovannoni on loneliness: “I’m not sure if I like loneliness because I’m a writer or if I’m a writer because I like loneliness.” This topic of writers as working essentially alone came up quite a bit at the festival, with some arguing that writing is a solitary pursuit, while others pointed out that writing (hopefully) involves relationships, too – with editors, publishers, other writers, readers, audiences and writing groups.

I don’t disagree that writing involves relationships – if you want to have an audience, that is – but I think that misses the point. For most writers, there is a phase of aloneness (not necessarily loneliness), that is both driven by a need to write, and is ultimately a driver of the writing process.

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Emerging Writers’ Festival: Aussie Voices

On Sunday I attended the Aussie Voices panel as part of the Emerging Writers’ Festival Town Hall Conference. The panel proposed the questions, “Does Australia have a literary voice? Who tells the stories of Australia? And are our literary voices representative of the people of Australia?”

I’ve been thinking about it ever since, because some of the questions it raised relate to things that I am grappling with in my own work.

Tamara Barrett has blogged about the session, and she has some good quotes from the panellists that I missed. What I want to engage with here is the question of how white writers – writers of Anglo descent – can contribute to a diverse voice in Australian literature. It’s something that Barrett raised in her blog post, and that crossed my mind during the panel as well.

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