Friday, August 24, 2007

Byron Bay Writers Festival - Diane's report

Members of the Nambucca Valley Writers Group made their annual pilgrimage to the Byron Bay Writers Festival on July 26 to rub shoulders with the literati, absorb their wisdom and inspiration, and replenish our writing mojo. Interest in this year’s excursion necessitated two cabins instead of one. Still! Eleven women sharing two bathrooms? Somehow we made it work.

Along with the usual suspects, we had several Festival virgins amongst us, and through the filter of their inexperience, the old-handers could experience the Festival with a new wonder.
Although we had no thrilling moments to outdo last year’s discovery that Pan Macmillan were seriously interested in Roby’s fantasy novel(s), there were still potential moments when Caz spoke to a publisher about her work in progress, I thanked Eva Sallis who taught me novel writing in Adelaide 9 years ago for setting me on the path, and we all discovered new talent, new writers and yet more books to add to our growing ‘To Be Read’ piles.

We were also joined by two writers from South West Rocks, and a writer from Grafton, all of whom are threatening to join the group on a permanent basis. With a recent member joining from Taree, the NVWG is extending it reach far beyond the Nambucca Valley to encompass all of the Mid North Coast.

This year’s Festival was a great weekend. Not only were the sessions informative and entertaining, but the company, as always, was superb. Usually I end up creeping back to the cabin some time during the day to make use of the private amenities and to have lunch. This year the Festival was so jam-packed full of stuff I wanted to see, I had to make friends with the portaloos (at least this year they were the Kenny-installed-foot-pedal-flushing-style) and buy lunch at the site. And the weather was mild and sunny – so I had even less reason to want to go and hide back in the cabin.

Next year’s Festival should be even better as we hope that our very own Roby will be a featured author – with the first of her fantasy trilogy due to be released around the time of the Festival.

If our little group and the pilgrimage to Byron continue to grow at this rate, we will need to hire a bus next year. And yes, we may be looking for a couple more Festival virgins to sacrifice.

Following are reports from others in the group:

Byron Bay Writers Festival - Caz's Report

It was probably the best Festival I have attended. The presenters seemed to be wholly engaged with the audience and there were lively and impassioned discussions. It was wonderful to have so many of us there together, and it was great that Michelle from Grafton was able to join us for a day, compliments of Sue Nicholls. The theatre sports that Diane, Gil and Carrolline attended was so very Byron Bay - streakers with saggy bits wouldn't dream of being seen like that anywhere else.The Festival was fun, stimulating, and I wouldn't have missed it for quids.


Byron Bay Writers Festival - Lyn's report

2 Things stood out for me.

One workshop covering research for fiction convinced me that's the way to go. Intense research. Next day hearing Richard Flanagan's making it up as you go along theory pulled me the other way. (RF's - is how I live my day to day life anyway- great contrast for me to uncover.)

Secondly in Adult Themes, Kate Crawford/Eliz.Farrelly - discussing Y/X gen.Spoke about lack of public housing etc keeping people home longer etc.Kate had read in Hansard in 1955 - Robert Menzies then PM - said we will sell public housing to the "people" so they won't turn to Communism.. I remember at that time the big propaganda threat was Red/Peril. This was the deliberate beginning of the sliding of public housing in Aust. and totally new info for me.

Best wishes, Lyn T.

Byron Bay Writers Festival - Maggie's report

My virgin status was both daunting and exciting. My favourite speakers were the wonderful Richard Flanagan and clever Garry Disher, Journalist Gideon Haigh, and Cate Kennedy...who`s short fiction book I`m reading.

I was riveted by the young Zahra Ghahramani (Islam and the rights of women) as she spoke about her earlier life and imprisonment in Tehran, the subject of her first book.All the women in our group were wonderful, warm and great fun to be around. Made we 'newies' feel welcome...thanks you lot.
Lastly, a special mention goes to my non member nocturnal companion, Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang, otherwise known as the Bloody Fridge, whose cold metal side nudged my pillow and sang to me intermittently each night...making sure I didn`t drop off too much and miss anything.


Byron Bay Writers Festival - Gill's report

Things I Learnt At Byron '07:

  • that writing is essentially alchemal.

  • that each writer must find their own way to that point.

  • that Richard Flanagan is a genius.

  • that nobody much likes John Howard - were his ears burning or what?

  • that our group is beyond special .

  • roll on next year.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

We're back

coming to this space: reviews and anecdotes from the NVWG members who visited Byron Bay Writers Festival 2007.

Monday, August 6, 2007

NVWG Non-Fiction Writing Competition 2007

Every year the Nambucca Valley Writers Group holds a writing competition for its members and the winner receives the coveted Foundation President's Trophy for 12 months. This year's competition started out as essay writing, evolved into article writing and finally settled into the all-encompassing Non-Fiction Writing.

The prize is presented at our Annual General Meeting which always ensures a good turn up. But this year we were missing a few important people, some of the prize winners themselves.

Anne Holgate presents third prize to Lyn Thiry.

Winner of third prize, Lyn Thiry was on hand to collect her bottle of plonk but second and first prize winners were not present.

2nd prize winner Gill Chapman had a good excuse. She was in England at the time.

But first prize winner, and winner of the coveted trophy, Noel Robertson, had chosen to attend another AGM that afternoon, despite efforts of a committee member in the know to talk him into coming to our meeting.
We don't have the luxury or foresight of the Academy Awards where they pre-record acceptance speeches of actors who are on the other side of the country or even the world. Besides, where's the surprise in that?
But we did have a mobile phone and we knew exactly where Noel was!
Caz and Lisa find the phone number for the theatre.
So Noel received the news of his victory by phone. At first he was surprised by the phone call, thinking Anne was calling him because she'd had an accident or was at the police station. Obviously he'd forgotten all about the prize announcement.

Anne advises Noel by phone that he is the winner of the NVWG Writing Competition for 2007

A month later we were able to make an official presentation of the trophy, and Noel read out his prize winning essay.

President Caz presents Noel with his trophy

What would we do without mobile phones?
And we didn't call Gill in London to advise her she'd won 2nd prize. Our budget doesn't quite stretch that far!

Poet Tree Book Launch - Rosemary Nisted

I've been a bit slack in keeping up the NVWG blog so today is my chance to make amends. Of course, having a working scanner and a new digital camera makes all the difference. And as Mick Jagger says, 'Time is on my side.' I'm on holidays.

Rosemary Nisted published a book of poetry and short pieces aptly titled, POET TREE, illustrated by her partner Dr Ralph Lilford.

Here are some photos from the launch held at the Innovation Centre at the Coffs Harbour Campus of Southern Cross University.

RADO for Arts Mid North Coast Richard Holloway launches Poet Tree by Rosemary Nisted,

illustrated by Dr Ralph Lilford.

Rosemary Nisted and Dr Ralph Lilford

Book signing

More book signing

And more

And more.

A successful book launch.