30 September 2010 - 4:24 pm

Brisbane Writer’s Festival

I started writing this a while ago, but then work exploded and I’ve had a hell of a time just keeping up. So. Let’s try to get this finished while I have a few spare minutes.

My third Brisbane Writer’s Festival happened at the beginning of September (a few weeks ago now). I almost didn’t go this year (I was supposed to be down in Melbourne for WorldCon), but when work made it impossible to go, I wound up at the festival instead.

I’m glad I went. Lots of  interesting talks, and I wound up buying a handful of books – mostly non-fiction for research purposes. The people I went to see talk were all well worth seeing, and gave me plenty of food for thought. I even paid for tickets for some of the talks – which I’ve never bothered to do before – and I don’t regret it.

The festival was not as good this year as it has been before. This is mostly because of the aforementioned WorldCon, and also because of the Melbourne Writer’s Festival. All three events happened on the same weekend, and that means that a lot of potential guests went down to the events in Melbourne, especially those in the scifi/fantasy genres. Great for them, not so great for those genre-lovers stuck back in Brisbane.

We had a full complement of authors anyway, mostly crime, romance and non-fiction of various stripes. I saw Michael Robotham and Val McDermid in a couple of different talks, and they’re well worth seeing. Sensible, entertaining, and honest. I’d sit and have a drink with them any time (sadly, I didn’t have time at the festival, but next time!).

I picked up Robotham’s Shatter, and thoroughly enjoyed it. May do a more complete review if/when I get some time. I will say that the level of craft displayed in it was much higher than I was expecting, and I will happily pick up another of his books when I’m done with my current list (I’m waiting for a friend to finish The Suspect so she can lend it to me, before I go hunting for another one).

I also plan to pick up one of Val’s books and see what they’re like, too. She’s a great character and I don’t doubt that at least some of that has leeched into her work.

I bought a handful of books that I wouldn’t have otherwise picked up, some of them random non-fiction that just looked interesting (like one about particular mental disorders, and another about how the brain heals itself). The festival was also a great chance to hang out with friends and meet new writers.

The Brisbane Writer’s Festival is held at the Queensland State Library, where the Queensland Writer’s Centre has its new offices (they moved earlier this year). I finally managed to pop in and say hello, and because I’m a member of the QWC, I got a tour and a card, and free drinks in their Writer’s Lounge. My friend and I recuperated between talks there, and met a string of writers, all coming to do the same as us.

So, overall, a good weekend in good company. Hectic and exhausting, between trains and running to talks and all the rest, but well worth it. I am sorry I missed the craziness of WorldCon when it was visiting so close, but I had a great time anyway. Looking forward to next year’s offerings already!

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