All posts filed under: Festival News

Julia Gillard at #BBWF2015: Twitter recap

Julia Gillard’s appearance at #BBWF2015 was indeed one of the biggest highlights of the festival this year, where she was greeted with enthusiastic applause and a standing ovation from the crowd. Her interviewer, historian and author Clare Wright, was openly thrilled to chair the session with the former Prime Minister, and described Gillard as one of her “bucket list” idols. Gillard’s memoir, My Story, was the best-selling political book of 2014 and her reason for appearing at the festival. More than full house and incredible applause for @JuliaGillard @ClareWright #BBWF2015 happy national book day pic.twitter.com/Euhog5trqq — Meredith Curnow (@MeredithCurnow) August 8, 2015 #bbwf2015 Yet again biggest crowd of the Fest for Julia Gillard. pic.twitter.com/Fo8jtNJDAm — HarperCollins Aus (@HarperCollinsAU) August 8, 2015 The session commenced with Wright noting Gillard’s many accolades, including her current role as the Chair of Global Partnership for Education, and her recent honorary doctorate for  “achievements as a women permitted to education and to social inclusion”. @JuliaGillard 'The most productive Prime Minister in Australian history-566 pieces of legislation while in a minority government' #BBWF2015 — Angela Long (@Angela_L_Long) August 8, 2015 …

Emily Bitto: superstition and ‘mental pyjamas’

Emily Bitto’s debut novel, The Strays, won The Stella Prize earlier this year. It was also shortlisted for the Indie Book Award for Debut Fiction, and the Glenda Adams for New Writing. In this profile Q&A, she offers a little insight into her processes, and divulges that a second novel is underway.  What was the most difficult stage of writing The Strays? The start, and the middle, and the end… And then the editing also… Just kidding. But also not. I don’t think there was a stage that was more difficult than the others. They were all difficult and enjoyable in different ways. How did you know you were finished your final draft? Because it went to print the next day! That’s actually true. Of course I was only making minor tweaks by that stage, but I would probably have kept going indefinitely without a deadline, and without my editor saying, “Ok, it’s done. Enough!” Who do you ask to read your drafts? I had a supervisor, Kevin Brophy, while I was enrolled in the creative writing PhD, and he was really …

QandA with Beccy Cole by Ahliya Farebrother

Beccy Cole is firmly cemented as Australia’s Poster Girl for country music. She has earnt Golden Guitar Awards, ARIA nominations, Gold Records, number-one singles and an army of fans. What do you consider to be the positive heart of Australian identity? Australians are down to earth, real and honest with a unique ability to be able to laugh in the face of adversity. How has songwriting been there for you over the years? Songwriting is very therapeutic and so is singing a self-penned song. We write songs about our experiences and then share them, it helps us to grow and heal. Lots of people would find being a traveling musician too draining? What about that lifestyle draws you to it? Traveling can be draining but the music fills me up again. I don’t think anyone would grow tired of doing something they love or be tired because of it. It’s always been about taking good music to as many people as I can. I have songs and stories and messages and laughter that I want …

Planned chaos: Sarah Armstrong on freewriting and rewriting

Local writer Sarah’s Armstrong’s second novel, His Other House, was published on 1 March by Pan Macmillan. Her first novel, Salt Rain, was shortlisted for several prizes including the Miles Franklin. As she works on her third novel, she reflects on how her approach to writing has changed over the years.  There’s something exhilarating about writing a novel and having absolutely no idea where the story is going. Anything is possible and unexpected twists in the plot can pop up, seemingly out of nowhere. I once read someone describe writing a first draft as groping your way blindfolded through a strange room. I’ve heard many writers commend this approach to a first draft, most recently Jeanettte Winterson, who was the standout guest at last year’s Byron Bay Writers Festival. She encouraged writers to let their work be wayward and uncontrollable and spoke of the ‘necessary chaos.’ I’ve always urged my writing students to use freewriting* in their first drafts, worried that too much planning or thinking might prematurely constrain their writing; worried that they might …