I have been attending the Australian Society of Authors‘ first ever National Writers’ Congress #asa2020 which has meant spending more time in the company of writers than usual. It’s been good to have that shorthand that goes with being among your tribe.
The event started with a literary speed dating event which meant standing in sometimes lengthy lines to spend five minutes with an agent or publisher. It was a fruitful. My intention was to meet publishers and agents to see about sending them one work and to gauge their interest for another work in progress. Happily achieved plus I discussed a work I hadn’t planned to discuss.
I have brought 18 books to go in the book shop. I noticed the book stand is far from the coffee and rest rooms so I don’t think people had much time to look. Hoping not to take all 18 books on the plane home. (Went home 4 books lighter.)
There were some stirring speeches. I enjoyed Anna Funder who was scathingly about all of those people who want us to ‘just write’ a 200 or 300 words for no payment. Michael Fraser AM issued a call to arms on copyright, Susan Johnson @sjreaders whose books I had read years even before meeting in London at a mutual friend’s barbecue, Antony Loewenstein (who says so many people want to write the same as others which is dull) and Angelo Loukakis with a gift for summing up. Tom Keneally’s video was jolly in his pink Fiji shirt with some magnificent swirly wallpaper behind him.
There was a dinner too. Not some office-Christmas-party-sort-of-debauched-and-shop-talk dinner butsomething that was fun. No business cards, no need to say what you were working on. Just some fun with the tribe. Good to catch up briefly with Anne Summers who was resplendent in her Julia Gillard interview outfit.
I could probably have done with some more sleep but I am enjoying writing in this little room with a view. I like the glimpse of the harbour near the Anzac Bridge and the ‘Rear Window’ view of the lives in the apartments nearby. The shirtless man smoking on the balcony. The dinner party. I’ve made a note of the room number. I may be back.
Marian (MJ) Edmunds
P.S Kate Forsyth was the stand out for inspiration. More on that and more soon #asa2020