Sydney Writers' Festival - Super Sunday
Do you like that title? I thought I'd better make it punchy, because as your Writer-In-Residence I'm reporting to you live from the festival itself. It's been overcast all day, but the sun's finally broken through the clouds, just in time to turn the harbour to gold while it sets. And I'm sitting in between two of the piers, watching the boats and ferries pass.
And I'm feeling relieved! Because today was the first time I'd ever done a panel session at a festival of this size, and I survived. What made it less daunting, though, was sharing the panel with Lucy Christopher and Margo Lanagan - not only amazing writers, but also seasoned campaigners when it comes to this sort of thing. Plus our panel convenor, Hilary Rogers, was brilliant at directing the flow of conversation, and asking well-timed questions whenever things flagged. So I was in good hands.
Our session was called: Her Dark Materials. And we were discussing how we go about addressing controversial subjects in our Young Adult fiction. To me, talking about that sort of stuff is always a bit fraught. Mainly I worry that people will react to the topic rather than the treatment. But in this case, we got a lot of good audience feedback, and everyone seemed really open to the discussion, and I think we all just wished we had more time.
The bonus was meeting lots of lovely people at the book signing afterwards - so a big shout out to you guys!
Other things I learned:
1. That thing about getting a dry mouth when you're nervous is actually true. I drank 600mls of water in the first 5 minutes of the session.
2. Ditto, shaky hands. (Palming the desk is a good way to stop them.)
3. It is not a good idea to spoiler the entire plot of your book. (Note to self for next time.)
I'll leave you with a photo from the day. This is me and Lisa Heidke at the festival. She's a friend of mine who was first published back in 2009, same as me. But Lisa's worked a lot harder than I have in the subsequent period and is soon to publish her fifth book. She should just calm down, I reckon.
Have a brilliant Monday, peoples! And if it drags, work on your GIVEAWAY note! (That's a subtle nudge).