Saturday, 13 June 2015

Emerging Writers' Festival 2015

The Emerging Writers' Festival has just concluded for another year! I kind of forgot about it to be honest, but we can talk about it in retrospect.

You can visit their site here.

It's really a testament to Melbourne as a Literary City what with so many events and celebrations of the written word.

I had the pleasure of attending a 'Young Women in Writing' event at the Queen Victoria Women's Centre during the course of the festival. It was to create a place where young, like minded women with writing on their minds to meet, network and learn from other young writers before them. It began with a keynote speech from the hilarious Clementine Ford who shared the ridiculousness of abuse  received by feminists, and just women writers in general online and face to face, as well as how to deal with it personally. I also think Clementine Ford is an excellent name so kudos to her parents. It reminds me of a really sweet afternoon boating on a lake and driving an old Ford (of course). Sorry Clementine if you get that a lot. 
We were then split into two groups (the number of us wasn't that great to begin with) to have a casual and super candid Q&A session with Amy Gray, Megan McGrath and editor of Voiceworks Magazine (I'll share more later) Elizabeth Flux about being in the writing industry. Insightful it was and held in the atrium (level five) of the Centre was simply beautiful as well. I've never seen that view of Melbourne before and it's always exciting to find a new perspective on a city that you've lived in all your life. From there we moved back downstairs to another Q&A, but this time moderated with Lili Wilkinson, Kat Muscat and Rebecca Harkins-Cross, this time detailing how they got into the grand profession(s) of writing and being a woman in an often male dominated industry (again). Things like shine theory and the imposter syndrome were discussed - to be honest I've thought of these myself but it's nice to put a name to a thing. Well, not really nice because it's kind of something negative that happens. OH then we talked about the Stella Prize and the opportunity for women writers to be read as well as reach acclaim. This year's winner is Stephanie Bitto with The Strays. It is currently in my every growing 'to read' pile. Insert here a big rant by everyone) about the lack of female writers on VCE and school lists. I guess that's why it's so great to have events like this where future writers can be cultivated and inspired. 

To finish up, networking over cupcakes ensued and was thoughroughly (yes that much. I can spell.) delicious. Red velvet is...yum 

AS a part of the sessions we discussed ways to get your writing out there! If you are over 25 avert your eyes. 

Voiceworks, a magazine filled with writing from 18-25 year olds. Reviewed by a panel, anyone can submit and it is blind read and discussed. Anyone unsuccessful is given feedback as well so it's a great way to test the waters and improve your stuff!  Also helping you with pitching. 

Signal Express, a part of the excellence that are the Signal (free and government run) programs in which various awesome art endevours are taught in their Flinders Street Studio. The Express program has young writers contributing to an online magazine complete with skill workshop sessions, deadlines and obviously fun. I have heard many a good thing about Signal Express. 

And lastly is The Underage, if you are perhaps a little more journolistically inclined then this is for you! In conjunction with the Age newspaper, you're sure to learn and hone your skills here, you budding journalist you. 

It was great to discuss during the event the actual real life effects of being a writer I guess, and that you don't just have to be a journalist or fiction writer but there are so many jobs in between.

Happy Writing!

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