July 11, 2019
I attended my first BWF in 2009, just after I moved back to Queensland from Sydney, where I'd been living for the last five years. I loved everything about BWF -- the panels and discussions, the books on offer, hearing authors talk about their work, spring time in Brisbane, and just the general vibe of the event. For the next year couple of years, I worked as a volunteer for BWF, until I took over the reigns as Artistic Director of Reality Bites Nonfiction Festival on the Sunshine Coast ... Anyhoo, suffice to say I love a good writers festival and it's been a very strong wish that one day I would be invited to appear AS AN AUTHOR at BWF. Tens later and that wish has been granted by the organising fairies of said festival.
I'll be appearing on a panel called 'Archive as Source' with Meg Keneally (daughter of Tom Keneally and the author of Fled, 2019) and historical novelist Ann Weisgarber (The Promise, 2013 and The Glovemaker, 2019) to be chaired by author and ex-politician Andrew Tink. The panel is about how 'authors mine archives to inspire and inform their writing' and my two cents will be on the archival research I did for Meet Me Meet at Lennon's, which is due to hit shelves at a bookstore (or Booktopia) near you this September. That discussion is happening Friday, 6 September 2:30 - 3:30pm in Auditorium 2, SQL. I'll also be hosting two author conversations for the 'BWF in Your Suburb' program. The first with Rick Morton, author the very excellent memoir One Hundred Years of Dirt (2018), at the Wynnum Library (Saturday 7 Sept. 10:00 - 11:00am) and the second with Russell Blackford to discuss his nonfiction work The Tyranny of Opinion (Sunday 8 Sept. 12:00 - 1:00pm). The blurb for Russell's discussion says he 'calls for an end to ideological purity policing and for recommitment to the foundational liberal values of individual liberty and spontaneity, free inquiry, diverse opinion, and honest debate'. I'm reading his book now in the hope I'll be a worthy and intelligent-sounding facilitator for this discussion. Wish me luck.
It's a packed program with lots of bookie goodness on the agenda. Authors I'm looking forward to hearing speak at this year's BWF are Melanie Cheng, A.S. Patric, Clementine Ford, Jeff Sparrow, Anthony Lowenstein, Kristina Ollson, Lucy Treloar, Meera Atkinson, Rohan Wilson, Omar Sakr, Maxine Beneba Clarke and plenty more. Thankfully, I'm painfully shy so the risk of executing any embarrassing fangirl moves at any of these people in the green room or outside of it is minimal.