Tasmanian Writers and Readers Festival. On the Friday evening, I caught Ashley Hay in conversation with Tasmanian writer Danielle Wood. I'm currently halfway through her book A Hundred Small Lessons and I really enjoyed her previous book The Railwayman's Wife. It was great to catch up on her life and writing. Many years ago we were in the same creative writing class at college in Bathurst in NSW. That small class included a few other notable writers like Charlotte Wood, and I guess others who are 'just readers' like me.
I read Caroline Baum's memoir Only earlier this year after hearing her interviewed on the 'So you want to be a writer' podcast. It was a wonderful book. On the Saturday morning of the festival she was interviewed by Stella Prize winning Tasmanian author Heather Rose. I found myself recalling parts of her book, nodding along, laughing, learning a lot and the hour passed just too quickly. Following advice from Valerie Khoo and Allison Tait who host the Australian Writers' Centre podcast I mentioned earlier (one of my favourites) I also just hung about at the festival a bit, went to some networking drinks and chatted to some interesting folks over coffee in the breaks.
One small gripe - when it came to the 10 minutes allocated for Q&A with the author at the end of each session, most of the 'questions' weren't (questions that is). Instead, they went something like this: "I've just finished my memoir and my daughter..." (cue personal life story lasting several minutes). No question in sight. To her great credit, Caroline Baum managed to respond to all of them with an insight about her own writing as if an actual question had been asked. This drives me crazy at conferences too. Please respect everyone's time and ask a succinct question so that we can hear more from the person we came to hear, not you! Gripe over.
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