Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Sydney Writers Festival - up in the hills this year.

I've been to the Sydney Writers' Festival the last couple of years. (Here's my story from 2 years ago)
And while it is lovely to go the main event in Sydney, I do not like the crowds and having to queue for the free events (although it is interesting to chat to others in the queues and if the weather is fine it's a nice place to be)

There were no writers that I felt I absolutely had to see this year - it would be a year of discovery.

So why not take the day to take in all the sessions up the hill - up at Katoomba, or Ktown as the locals call it?
Also why not offer to pay for H to come along as her birthday present?

Great idea!

 The Carrington is the grand old hotel right at the top of Katoomba, sitting up high over everything, with a big chimney stack dominating the skyline.
It's such a lovely old building and has been lovingly refurbished in recent years (and I think that can be a story for another day)

We didn't have the best seats as we got there a little late and so I didn't get a photo of the first session which was Michelle de Kretser in converation with Ali Lemer about her latest novel Questions of Travel.
I think I will put this one on my list as I love the theme of travel and reading about travel and although this is a novel it sounds like it deals with questions and issues of travel as well.
I have previously read The Lost Dog by Michelle de Kretser.

After a civilised cuppa and muffin it was on to the seemingly serious topic of Australia's literary treasures. The book is The Burning Library and the writer Geordie Williamson is such a good and engaging speaker that the hour just flew by leaving me with mental notes to visit some of the Australian classics he mentioned.

Tegan Bennett Daylight and Geordie Williamson
 Next three first time novelists discussed the themes of love and loss in their writings.

Here they are at the book-signing bit afterwards - Yvette Walker, Jessie Cole and Berndt Sellheim
I do love a good biography! What is it about peering into the lives of others?
It was fascinating to hear about the research and findings of Helen Trinca as she sought to uncover the life story of writer Madeleine St John.

Helen Trinca and Geordie Williamson
The last session of the day was Cheryl Strayed talking about her journey along the Pacific Crest Trail in the west of the US.

Cheryl Strayed and Cate Kennedy
I liked it so much I bought the book!
And the delightful Cheryl signed it.

The books I heard about today were -
Questions of Travel by Michelle de Kretser
The Burning Library by Geordie Williamson
Darkness on the Edge of Town by Jessie Cole
Beyond the Frame's Edge by Berndt Sellheim
Letters to the End of Love by Yvette Walker
Madeleine: A Life of Madeleine St John by Helen Trinca
Wild: Stories from the Trail by Cheryl Strayed.

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