For a variety of reasons, it has been 3 years since I last attended a Sydney Writers’ Festival week. Once again, this year looks like I will be in minimum attendance as I have work, student marking, 2 funerals to go to, and just as God takes away he also gives, a dear friend gave birth yesterday so I have many other places I need to go to. Despite all this, I have still marked up my bucketlist:
I am rather pleased at the inclusion (finally) of a romance panel at SWF2015. I would say this has been due to Kat Mayo and the rest of the Bookthingo crowd’s tireless advocacy *cough lobbying cough*. Jodi McAlister and Kate Cuthbert will be on the panel as well as authors Victoria Purman and Avril Tremayne. I have not read any of their books but I do have Miranda Neville’s The Duke of Dark Desires on my TBR (that’s close enough for me). I can’t help but feel cynical about the inclusion of one romance event. I think that it is rather unimaginative of the organisers and tokenism sucks. I’m all for shaking up reading/writing expectations. I think true inclusion won’t be reached until romance authors are included in the broader panel discussions on readerly issues and when those of us who do read romance don’t feel the need to exclaim “Oh wow! We have even a tiny presence”. I think we have a way to go, but in the meantime I will enjoy the occasional event. Baby steps for romance fiction. And of course – Yay Jodi! Goooooo Kate!
I hope to revisit my youth and catching at least one session with Douglas Coupland. He was my favourite author when I was in my 20s. I read Generation X as a new release and it totally blew me away. It was the first book I had read, with the exception of crib notes on Shakespeare, that used marginalia. Having loved Sergio Aragones from MAD Magazine and his marginalia, Coupland twisted my mind giving me a different way of reading. Even today I think that GenX can still disrupt your reading. I loved more than one book. My copy of Life After God used to live by my bedhead. I would read it over and over again. I wonder what I would make of these books now? I might just leave it to just listening to Douglas Coupland speak. Of all his talks I’ve earmarked this one as I am an advocate of new reading and new media and I am interested in hearing arguments on this topic.
I have been meaning to read Liane Moriarty’s books since Jessica Tripler talked about her. But I haven’t read any as they are constantly on loan so the next best thing is going to hear her talk (and I do seriously mean that listening to an author takes second place to reading that author’s work however it is much quicker). I have yet to decide which session I will attend though I’m pretty sure I can’t get to the Penrith event due to time and distance.
Having read Peter Mendelsun’s What We See When We Read in January, I would like to hear someone else speak on the materiality of reading. Having not managed the transition to ebooks, I am quite interested in listening to others talk about the tactile pleasure of reading.
Ahhh! Just the title of this session makes me laugh. I should not predict what will be said at an event, but I think that there will be a lot of people bemoaning the emergence of the amateur critic, reviewer, blogger. Let’s make no mistake here, I fully identify as an amateur. I would never call myself a reviewer or critic. If I do follow any conventions of literary criticism, this is done accidently or by the sheer wonderful pleasure of having had Mrs Dallow as my high school English teacher for I have no other literary bonafides. However, I love my amateur banner so I hope that there is some love for amateurs at this event. Though my tolerance for Helen Razer’s commentary is pretty low so this might just be my grit-my-teeth session.
Other events I wouldn’t mind attending are Quickies and Corsets, In the age of google, what is the point of school, The Simple Act of Reading and Word Lounge: Drafts Unleashed + Slam. Apart from this wishlist, I will hopefully get the time to meander. I do love going to Walsh Bay. It is one of my favourite places in the world. I love to walk around, catching different interviews, enjoying the vibe of being around readerly people and discovering new to me authors. And maybe, just maybe, I will get a glimpse at my current girlcrush Annabel Crabb as I left looking at the program too late and every other person in Sydney who crushes on her has contributed to selling out all her shows.
As for what am I reading? Aside from student assignments, I am sneaking in a couple of chapters of Lynne Graham’s The Billionaire’s Bridal Bargain (alliterative titles FTW) every night. So far, this book delivers all that my obsessive love for Harlequin Presents desires….
*whispers* with the exception of calling a Greek grandmother “Nonna” rather than “Yiayia”.
Because “Nonna” is what godmothers not grandmothers are called in Greece. But whatevs.
I will forgive it this time.
And only because it is Lynne Graham.
I own all the books mentioned in the post and they were all purchased from a retailer at full price.