Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Emerging Writers' Festival (Pt. 2)

I thought I should probably mention the other three events I went to as a part of the Emerging Writers' Festival, though it seems like ages ago now!

On Thursday 29 May, I met with a friend and we went to an event together at The Wheeler Centre. The event was a talk about sex in writing, given by Sam George-Allen of the online magazine, Scum. She spoke a great deal about how pornography, especially online, has a great influence on how people perceive sex. As writers, we are capable of making people perceive things the way we want them to be perceived, and here I'm not just talking about sex. But as writers, we also have the power to destroy misconceptions. Because of the plethora of pornography readily available to us through a few taps on the keyboard and a few clicks of a mouse, a lot of people (especially the young and inexperienced) get a completely wrong idea about sex. Sam spoke to us about writing truthfully, and this can be applied to anything we write about. Not every experience we have, sexual or not, is beautiful and perfect and all that jazz. In writing about sex, we often forget to write about the awkwardness, the fear, the humour, the accidental elbow-to-eyeball contact, bad or unsatisfying experiences instead of just the good stuff. And the interesting thing was, she wasn't talking to us specifically about writing erotica, because sex isn't limited to erotica, just like a good fight-scene isn't limited to an action/adventure genre. She was talking to us about writing a universal human experience that could occur in any genre, in any context. I thought it was a good little talk.

A few days later, I went to an event they called Night of the Living Novella, at which Hologram and Seizure both launched a handful of novellas by new writers. I met up with another friend for this one, and my friend had done a bit more research than I had and already bought a couple of the novellas and read them. Each of the authors read a segment from their novella to the audience and I quickly fell in love with Elisabeth Murray's The Loud Earth, which was one of the books my friend had already read and loved. I bought a copy of her book at the launch and my friend and I both got our copies signed after the readings. I started reading the novella on my way home on the train and didn't want to put it down. Our unnamed protagonist is a recluse, living in the mountains away from the town she grew up in when one night, Hannah shows up on her doorstep, not knowing the stories the townsfolk tell that make this woman an outcast. It was a really good short read and you should all read it!

The last event I went to was a poetry reading and the launch of the twelfth edition of Rabbit poetry journal. Originally, one of my housemates was going to come with me, but she was unwell. Instead, I showed up by myself and first of all bumped into my poetry teacher, who had already been at the venue the hour beforehand for another event and already had a few glasses of red wine in him. So we chatted for a little, and then I wandered around making new friends and met a guy from England who had studied philosophy (which I am also studying as a second major) so we hit it off pretty well. Then I sat back and listened to the Rabbit contributors do their thing and bought a copy of the new edition on my way out the door. I love poetry.

Overall, I'm very glad I made it to a few of the Emerging Writers' Festival events this year and hopefully I'll make it to a few more for the Melbourne Writers Festival.

Have you been to any writerly events lately?
- Bonnee.


  1. Regarding the sex thing (hmm, that doesn't sound weird at all, does it?), I suppose you could argue that including perfect, world-shaking sex is sort of the opposite of 'leaving the dull parts out', if you know what I mean. It sounds like an interesting talk.

    Nearest 'writerly event' is a second reading my group did last week at a different arts organization. It went pretty well, though I did not 'kill it' this time. Interesting post, Bonnee, thanks!

    1. It's not that perfect, world-shaking sex isn't real and shouldn't be written about, it's just that it shouldn't be the only type of sex written about. That's my opinion anyway :)

      I try to think of every experience as a good experience, even if you don't 'kill it' every time. It's good that you got to do another reading. Thanks for visiting, JeffO! :)

  2. I had to write about my character's first time, and it did not go great for her, which I thought was pretty realistic. I don't like writing sex scenes, but I thought that one went pretty good (for me, not her). :)

    And I do have a conference coming up in the fall, just not sure I want to go yet. Not the most dynamic speakers lined up.

    1. As long as it went well for you, I think that's the main thing :)

      Awh, I hope you enjoy it if you decide to go. Nothing worse than going to the effort and then feeling like it was a waste of time.

      Thanks for visiting my blog! :)

  3. I really regret not going to the Emerging Writers' Festival - my partner went and loved it all. There was so much that she brought back from it, made me very envious and feel a little bit silly for not taking advantage of such a fantastic opportunity!

    1. Definitely take the opportunity next time it presents itself! :) Melbourne Writers Festival will start in a few months and I suspect there will be more free events (and paid-events, if they tickle your fancy). Thanks for visiting my blog :)

  4. I like the online magazine SCUM, starting with its headline's illustration and then the content with many different stuff and nice use of visuals. I agree with you that most scenes of sex in novels, including in my own, are sweet with out attempt to deal with the issues that you listed. Maybe I should make some changes in my novel, like an elbow to eye contact. Once you start describing unsatisfying experiences it need more discussion which will take away from my story lines.
    I'll try to check if THE LOUD EARTH is in our Public Library. It's nice that you attend Literary Festivals. I'll attend only one, and annual big Literary Festival in my city in the Fall. enjoy your recess.

    1. Scum seems pretty cool, I'm going to keep an eye on their website. Writing about the same awesome sex gets too repetitive, so I try to mix it up a little, though I don't think I've extended myself very much in that area just yet.

      Let me know if you find a copy in the library! You'll have to tell us about your literary festival experience when you go. Thanks for visiting, G.M. :)


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