Thursday, 3 June 2010

Another EWF over

It's a little late but I thought I might share a few highlights of the Emerging Writers' Festival. The town hall program in particular. Although I didn't take any notes during any of the sessions I attended, so perhaps this is more of a memory game, though I'd like to think the bits I recall must have meant more to me than some of the others.

It would be wrong not to start with the Artist's party that was held on Friday night at the Wheeler Centre. Though if you follow Angela's blog, you'll know already that I had myself a good time. And why not. I didn't have to fulfil my hosting duties until Sunday morning, so the least I could do was assist the organisers by taking some of that wine off their hands, right?

Aside from the alcoholic pleasures, the party was an excellent opportunity to chat with other writers and I particularly enjoyed meeting Chris Downes, who spoke on the panel A short note on process that I hosted, and Jeremy Balius from Black Rider Press.

It's not often I get the opportunity to drink, either because I have to wake to to the call of 'mum-mum' that comes too early every morning, or because, well, put simply, Cockatoo is not within walking distance to anywhere. So staying in the city was an excellent plan and having a roomie made it even better, as we got to spill our showbags together and share excitement over the smallest tidbits of festival news.

Saturday offered a pretty full on program which began with Seven Enviable Lines, where the festival ambassadors shared seven secrets they wish they'd known when they started out. This event has been reviewed here and here, so all I'm going to add is that Sean Riley was my favourite, even though I've never even tried to write a play. Even as I listened to him I couldn't help but wonder if some of the newer writers at the festival realise that the advice doesn't apply just to plays but to any and all forms of writing, or if some took him (and others) literally.

I weaved in and out of various sessions throughout the afternoon, and landed at the festival club afterwards, although I had just water given someone had the foresight to schedule me to be articulate and presentable by 10am on a Sunday!

Our session A short note on process went well, although I can't say I expected to take away this advice from a writers' festival: don't take drugs. Chris Downes wowed the audience by acting out illustrations from his comics. Mischa Merz took us to the shrink's couch. Myke Bartlett struck a personal chord as he spoke of never writing anything until close to the deadline (thankfully I've learned to treat my pretend ones at least semi-seriously) and Steph Bowe was so amazing she perhaps impressed the not-so-new writers while possibly making some of the newer ones feel inadequate because they hadn't achieved half as much as her despite several extra years. You can read her presentation here.

I'm with Irma Gold as far as highlights go. My favourite panel was You want me to do WHAT? a discussion on promoting, or prostituting, yourself. All panellists were entertaining, although I particularly enjoyed Sean M Whelan's advice of what not to do when speaking/performing in public. Because there's always been someone (or two) who does one or all of these things at every poetry reading I've been to. For specifics, see Thuy Linh Nguyen's write-up.

Although now that I've said that, I hope none of those types of poets happen to be at Sospeso Readings on 4th June (tomorrow/today), where I'm reading as part of a feature organised by Geoff Fox. The theme is Motherhood and Vicki Thornton, Amy Bodossian, Geoff Fox, Koraly Dimitriades, Di Cousens and myself are combining forces for the feature, with an open mic that offers an excellent prize for the poem deemed to be a particular person's favourite on the night. It's happening from 7pm at Sospeso Caffe, 428 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn.


littlegirlwithabigpen said...

Hi Tiggy,
Thanks so much for the link!
One of the nicer, more concise reviews of the weekend I've read.
Will the reading night in Hawthorn be on again in future? I can't make it this time, but would really love to get down there at some stage.


Tiggy Johnson said...

Thanks Sam and you're welcome.
The Sospeso Readings are on every month, first Friday, a different theme each time.

Benjamin Solah said...

I enjoyed your panel, Tiggy. I was one of those newish writers that felt a little inadequate at how articulate Steph was and slightly envious at her being published at 16.

I went off for lunch during You want me to WHAT? and am now wishing I hadn't because you're not the first person that said it was good and I didn't know it would cover performance poetry, something I've just started doing.

Tiggy Johnson said...

Thanks Benjamin. I actually overheard someone say that Steph Bowe was too awesome for them to take too much note of, like denial I guess :) I'm sure she inspired plenty others who weren't overly intimidated.

Yay you starting out on performance poetry. I actually found that at first I learnt heaps from just attending different gigs and paying attention. Kind of learning what not to do according to the things that annoy you or you notice are annoying others, like the convenors.

For instance, it's not uncommon for someone to read for ten or so minutes in their three minute open mic place and then ask if it's okay if they read just one more ;)

Benjamin Solah said...

I've found people going over time a lot at the few gigs I've been too. Really irritating.

I don't know they can do it because I tend to just read one poem so as not to annoy people too much and bore people. It puts the audience off you.

Tiggy Johnson said...

If you've picked this up already, you'll be fine.

Sean also mentioned speaking into the microphone, getting up there knowing what you're going to read/perform rather than shuffling through papers, never apologising for what you're about to read and accepting that nerves is part of the deal.

Of course he was much more entertaining :)

Good luck with it all.

Benjamin Solah said...

I actually think I've done all of that. Thanks :)

Maxine said...

Wish I'd had time to attend more EWF events. Sound like you had a ball!