The Emerging Writers’ Festival is in town again, all razzle dazzle and wise words. Part industry conference, part hive-mind with a healthy dash of party, the eleven-day festival has a raft of workshops, panels, performances and networking events to bring ‘emerging’ writers of all stripes into contact with established writers and industry professionals.
“Often it’s the casual connections and conversations that are so important to developing your career as a writer,” says Festival Director Lisa Dempster.
Over half the events at the EWF are free. While things are happening daily all over Melbourne, the weekend-long Town Hall Writers’ Conference on May 26-27 showcases the serious stuff. Session topics at the Conference range from blogging, how to build an audience, and life writing, to the EWF’s annual ‘Trends in Publishing’ panel, which brings together industry insiders to dish the goss.
At a time when the book industry is on slippery ground, the EWF has its finger to the pulse of the tech zeitgeist; if you can’t make it in person, head over to the digital festival on-line. Or if you can, visit the Future Bookshop at Federation Square, an art installation/library/interactive literary playground full of predictions and high-tech lit which will launch during the festival.
For those in search of more traditional thrills, Lisa recommends the ghost story Fright Night in the State Library’s Queens Hall, which will include the EWF’s award-winning International Writer in Residence Anita Sethi. “I love a good scary story,” says Lisa. “The Queen's Hall is incredibly atmospheric, not to mention our lineup of writers have some truly terrifying tales to share.” Other guests include novelist Emily Maguire, poet Ai Alizadeh, critic Carla Sammut (pictured), comedian Lawrence Leung and more. The Emerging Writers' Festival is an umissable event for anyone interested in all aspects of the writing and reading world.
Venues differ for each event. Ticket prices vary. Check the website for more information.