Month: August 2011

Scaring people ‘sh*tless’: the craft of crime writing

We got settled in our seats, while chairman John Green looked out over us, his sweeping gaze settling on everyone. He asked us to trust him. “Don’t turn around,” he said. “Don’t panic. Don’t leave your seats, but there’s a shifty looking man at the entrance with something explosive. It’s not a bomb – it’s a crime novel!” Well, there isn’t anything too scary about that is there? Well, if you met the panelists at this session of the 2011 Byron Bay Writers’ Festival, you might say differently. Jaye Ford was living the typical Australian life; a sport presenter on SBS and regional television, and then running her own public relations business. But the lure of crime writing couldn’t be stopped. Her first novel, Beyond Fear, was published earlier this year, and she is currently working on her second. LA Larkin has many busy days, working at one of our country’s leading climate change consultancies and writing. Her first novel, The Genesis Flaw, was released last year with her second novel to be released later …

Should journalists be impartial?

Jane Hutcheon, Michele Nayman, Niki Savva deal with the age old question of the impartial journalist each day at work. At this Saturday morning session at the 2011 Byron Bay Writers’ Festival, they explore objectivity in the news world. The session was chaired by Alex Easton from The Northern Star. Jane Hutcheon is a senior ABC journalist and presenter of One Plus One on ABC News 24, and is the author of From Rice to Riches. Michele Nayman is a UK-based writer and author of Jetlag among others. She has worked as a journalist with The Age, The National Times and The Guardian. Niki Savva was one of the most senior correspondents in the Canberra Press Gallery and is the author of So Greek: Confessions of a Conservative Leftie. Listen to highlights from Should journalists be impartial? Highlights edited by Southern Cross University media student Justin Fenwick.

Cate McQuillan – The Dirtgirl phenomenon

Lively Dirtgirl Cate McQuillan performs for children at the 2011 Byron Bay Writers Festival. A Northern Rivers local, Cate didn’t seem to be dug up by her character’s sudden rise to fame. In this audio package Cate involves children and sings the now well-known song that is Dirtgirl’s theme. Listen as Cate entertains the children at Byron Bay Writers’ Festival Highlights edited by Southern Cross University media student Brigette Lucas.

The Kids Are All Right

Sunday was Youth Day at the festival and everywhere I looked there were kids clutching books. I remember how much I loved reading when I was a kid and how much books meant to me: they offered me a secret world of my own, taught me about life and how other people thought and, more than anything, how to imagine. I decided to talk to some kids about reading and why they’ve come to the festival. I meet Quinn, age nine, in the autograph line for ABC3’s Amberley Lobo and Kayne Tremills. I confess to Quinn that I’d never heard of them until about 20 minutes ago when Festival Director Candida Baker informed me that the duo are a big deal; a huge deal even. Quinn agrees: “They’re really funny! They’re good at presenting and keeping the kid’s attention – and they’re energetic.” I had just seen them bouncing across the stage impersonating butterflies so I understood what he meant. According to his Dad, Quinn “devours books”. Quinn breaks it down for me: he read …