Saturday, April 5, 2014

Newcastle Writer's Festival Saturday Re-cap

I spent a lovely, indulgent day at the Newcastle Writers Festival today.  I started my day by attending the Rough and Tumblr session with Siobhan Curran, Mark MacLean, and Michael Newton, hosted by Newcastle University creative writing lecturer Keri Glastonbury.  The three bloggers talked about the start and evolution of their blogs, and showed a selection of images from their blogs. For me, the biggest takeaway was that no matter what the medium (images or words), at the end of the day, what's most evocative to readers is the story that emerges.

Photo by Leonie Rogers
Then was the magnificent Kate Forsyth. Kate was not only enchanting (as you might expect), warm, and open, she also provided so many tips for writers (including some exceptional ideas for writers block) that I wish I'd recorded every word on tape.  Some of the advice I intend to implement immediately is to write a little synopsis each evening of what I plan to write the next day before I go to bed to get the subconscious to work for you.  I love her use of notebooks too to keep track of story ideas and create a working scrapbook for each novel. She showed us a rather pretty slim one she's carrying with her, but you can have a look at the completed notebook for her latest book The Wild Girl at Kate's blog.

Following that, was my session How Does Poetry Survive with John Knight, Christopher Pollnitz and Rob Riel. David Musgrave was held up in Sydney - we missed him (no one else wore a funny poetry t-shirt for one thing), but the show went on and my three panel members were extraordinarily lucid, offering insights on what it means to be a modern poet, poetry publisher, and poetry editor. Our discussion was wide ranging, including such things as publishing slam poetry, on critical editing, the tricky dance between editor, reader and poet, Pollnitz' gorgeous exploration of part II of Auden's "In Memory of WB Yeats" (one of my favourite poems) which he aligned perfectly with the topic, and lots more. The room was packed to the wall and we went just a bit overtime due to the enthusiasm of the rather diverse crowd and my desire to take all questions. 

Finally, I ended my day by attending the Newcastle, City of Poets poetry reading at Agosti Espresso on Darby Street, compered by the wonderful Judy Johnson, and featuring readings from a number of local poets including Ivy Ireland, Mark Tredinnick, Robin Loftus, Kathryn Fry, Glenn Beatty, Cassandra O’Loughlin, Jean Talbot, Clark Gormley, Linda Ireland, and a few others (including myself).  Judy did an excellent job of keeping us on track (even if not all of us kept strictly to our 5 mins...). It was certainly a delightful way to end the day for me, though there are more sessions this evening and another whole day of it tomorrow


  1. thank you, lovely to get a feel for the festival

  2. Lucky you! Sounds so re-vitalising. Wish y'all were here! Have revisited Auden on Yeats, marvellous forgotten, thanks for the reminder.