Thursday, August 27, 2009

MWF reprieve

Been flat out like a lizard drinking this week with the writers festival. Because I'm a volunteer I get to see pretty much anything I want, for free. This is great - I've seen many different writers talking about many different things I would probably not have paid to go see. Having said that, there's a whole lot of free stuff going on that everyone can take advantage of. Everyone who hasn't should check out the Festival Club before the show's over.

While I've seen some interesting and thoughtful seminars, workshops and conversations, it sometimes becomes quite obvious that this is not the Melbourne Public Speakers Festival. Don't get me wrong: most of the authors I've seen have been great. Kate Grenville and Isobelle Carmody, for example, were incredibly articulate about their creative processes and just fascinating to listen to. Other speakers relied more on notes, which is perfectly fine by me, I can relate to that need - hate, hate, hate public speaking. 

However when an author is obviously under-prepared, or just there to promote their latest book, it can be really disappointing. This happened in at least one workshop on the weekend, when an author turned up for a six-hour workshop thinking it was only going to be two hours. Due to fly out the next day, her heart wasn't in it, you could tell. I really felt for the people who had forked out $190 to watch someone flounder about for something to say.

But there's plenty of good stuff to look forward to this weekend. I'm donning my red beret one last time tomorrow, then spending the rest of the weekend loitering round Fed Square, sipping lattes and author-spotting. Bliss.

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