Monday, August 12, 2013

Return from Byron Bay Writers Festival.

Byron Bay Writers Festival... a location famous for its beauty, beaches and the art scene, the setting for my first visit to a major writers festival.

Not knowing what lay ahead on this adventure the festival proved to be both more and less than I envisaged.

As a published author looking for ideas on marketing and promotion, as well as inspiration and guidance on how to continue writing in my genre the festival was not as helpful as hoped.

On the other hand, putting aside those
specific expectations, being among writers and readers, listening to successful authors, celebrities and persons of interest, the festival surpassed all expectation.

Lunchtime: sunshine, good food, time to absorb.
First off the realisation all the tents were established close together and distance would not be a problem banished any 'Splendour in the Grass' memories of slogging through muddy fields between tents.

Second thrill was seeing so many interested attendees, sunshine and perfect weather.

The list of attending speakers was overwhelming, which made knowing which talk to attend difficult.

The beauty of the set up though was the ease with which you could move between tents. Standing room or a seat a the back meant you could leave without causing disruption.

Crowded sessions but
always room to stand.
When I discovering how entertaining listening to a group of Crime writers could be, the weekend began to deliver!

 Talks among well-established authors with multiple books to their credit, did not only focus on promoting their books. They discussed their lives, careers, subject matter for their books and what inspired them, how they went about research, problems they faced, achievements, all the nitty gritty of writing.

Peter Carey,
one of many incredible speakers.
There were no workshops. No ‘how to’ lectures, though one session did boast that title. Excited by the idea of being able to learn the secret to M J Hyland’s success I settled in.
Soon I discovered “This is How.” was the name of her newest book. Even so her talk was fascinating.

For some people the world delivers amazing success stories. She walked out of one job in Rome, to find a letter offering a professorship in creative writing at Manchester University.

John Cantwell: gets my vote as
 favourite speaker and  hero.
Once I realised these illustrious authors were not sharing secrets on HOW to achieve publication, snare an agent, or maintain viable sales, I found many of their talks extremely interesting.
Some were inspiring.  For a few moments in time I even considered writing crime stories.  Others made me want to give up writing and return to reading. After the festival my list of “to read” books will keep me busy until next year.

The accommodation and spending the weekend with fellow writers was great. We enjoyed a wonderful time exchanging ideas, inspiration, and our personal reactions to each session.
Being sponsored by Coffs Harbour Writers' Group for a three day pass was fantastic! Now the pressure is on. How can we best share our experience with the writers’ group?  One word to describe the weekend, fabulous.

Would I go again next year or recommend it to others? Definitely, yes. Book now!


Wendy said...

What an experience, Rosalie. I can imagine the atmosphere. It would have been terrific is someone could have shared the 'secrets' of their success, but people prefer to talk about themselves rather than create completion :) Sharing Secrets will be left to you when your Chronicles of Caleath series is in print and you are on the dais at a forthcoming Writers' Festival. What a wonderful Day that will be. I'll book a flight specifically to see you.

Rosalie Skinner said...

LOL Wendy, More likely people will be queuing to hear Wendy speak of her award winning novel. :)
I hope you will consider coming north to our regional grass roots writers' gathering in Dorrigo next April.
Perhaps you would be good enough to give a workshop on writing historical novels.