Saturday 15 April 2017

Newcastle Writers Festival 2017

Last weekend I enjoyed my third trip to Newcastle Writers Festival. It's such a fabulous festival. So well organised. A vast range of great sessions. And so many free sessions. This year half the 170 sessions were free! Four of the eleven sessions I went to over two days were free.

The program was so good this year that I had real difficulty with picking the sessions I wanted to attend, because it meant I was missing out on so may other great sessions. It took me weeks to sort out my sessions as I tried to maximise the number and range of authors that I would hear. 

Nikki Gemmell

Clementine Ford, Randa Abdel-Fattah, Jane Caro, Ruby Hamad

I got to see so much Australian talent-

Peggy Frew
Alice Pung
Holly Throsby
Magdalena Ball
Wendy James
Michael Sala
Andy Muir
Jackie French
Sarah Armstrong
Emily Maguire
Randa Abdel- Fattah
Jane Caro
Clementine Ford
Belinda Alexandra
Fiona Higgins
Tara Moss
David Hunt
Steven Amsterdam
Nikki Gemmell
Leah Kaminsky
Kirsty Eager
Jacklyn Moriarty

So much of it overwhelmingly female. But in doing so I missed sessions with

Richard Roxburgh (I think he had the biggest signing line of the weekend, definite rock star status and his was the only book to sell out in the bookshop)
Sarah Wilson
Elspeth Muir
Nick Earls
Julia Baird

and so many others, and other great sessions that included some of the writers that I did see.

All the sessions I saw were fabulous. Inspiring. Thought provoking. Covering such a vast range of topics-everything imaginable really. Feminism. Racism. Sexual assault. Death and dying. Family violence. Australian history. Balinese ritual vaginal cleansing. Yes, it's a thing.

NWF is five years old this year. There have been developments and improvements each of the three years I've attended and there were some changes again this year. While the sessions I attended were all in the Town Hall and Civic Theatre there was a new marquee in Wheeler place was a fabulous space and well used. 

And they paid attention to the details too. There were things to read everywhere.

An old phone loaded with short stories!

I do love writers festivals. Where else do you get to see grown men in Moomin t-shirts? And young women with cool Eric Carle ribbons?

There's something so intoxicating about stacks of books. The potential. The possibilities. 

Naturally I came away with a (relatively) small of a stack of books. It's important to support the authors, the festival and the festival bookseller.

My sister leant me Something for Nothing,
and I've already leant her An Isolated Incident
I might have managed to acquire some other books whilst away at various bookshops I sought out. New and used.

And obviously I want to read work from everyone I saw. And a few I didn't get the chance to see...

NWF 2016
NWF 2015

I know that I'll be back next year. Somehow I need to work on getting to a new festival soon(ish) to work on my quest to attend all the writers festivals in Australia. So far I've been to Melbourne, Mudgee, Newcastle and Sydney and keep going back to those because they are the easiest to attend geographically. Plus I really like them, especially Melbourne and Newcastle. 

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Jackie McGuinness said...

I added After and An Isolated Incident to my TBR list, thanks.

Louise said...

Happy to oblige Jackie! I'm hoping to read After after I finish my current book.

Sandra Nachlinger said...

There's nothing quite as inspiring as a writers' festival. Sounds like this one was first class. Wish I could attend.
My Saturday Snapshot post features Nisqually Wildlife Refuge

westmetromommy said...

What a fun festival. We have something like this in Portland that I've attended once (unfortunately, it has some crowd control issues AND it is on the same day as Girl Scout event for my daughter) and, yes, I came home with a stack of books!

Anonymous said...

Great lineup of authors, particularly the ones you saw Louise. These festivals are exciting aren't they?

Brona said...

Considering my profession, I feel bad that I've only ever made it to the SWF.

You've inspired me to plan at least one in another state next year. And I really must get to Mudgee - I really have no excuses for missing that at all!

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

I love festivals with writers and books. I've just come home from one myself and my mood is at record highs.