Melbourne Writers Festival 2013

It’s almost that time of year when I kiss the kids goodbye and abscond for days, all in the name of writing.

That’s right, August brings with it the Melbourne Writers Festival, Enquire Within running from 22 August to the 1 September 2013.

The release of this year’s program last night has made my day today and as I’ve just finished booking my tickets, I thought you might like to know which sessions I’m getting along to.

Here goes…

peter singerI’m going to kick off my festival experience with some philosophy, hearing Peter Singer speak on ‘Effective Altruism’ as part of the Big Ideas series.

Effective altruism is an emerging movement of people who have  accepted that we ought to live more altruistically, and make our altruism as powerful as possible.  Philosopher and ethicist Peter Singer will discuss the ethical issues that effective altruism raises, and introduce this developing concept by presenting the effective altruists themselves: who they are, how they live, and why they have chosen to live that way. 

As controversial as he might be, Peter Singer was always a bit of super star around the philosophy department of Monash when I was at uni, and so I’m looking forward to hearing his thoughts.

I’m back to Federation Square on Saturday, changing gears to something a little more light-hearted, although I’m sure it’ll be no less controversial with the likes of Sean Condon, Max Barry and Catherine Deveny chatting about comedy in writing for ‘Dying is Easy, Comedy is Hard.’

Fittingly it’ll be starting to get dark when I attend my second session for the day ‘Tartan Noir’ in which Andrew Nette, Doug Johnstone and Liam McIlvanney talk about crime literature in Scotland and whether or not books in this genre accurately reflect modern life in Scotland.

No doubt spooked, I’ll head home after this session and rest up before a bit Sunday.

I’ve booked in for three great session on Sunday, first up being ‘No Safe Place’ featuring Morris Gleitzman and Deborah Ellis.  Both of these authors write powerful books about children in danger and in this session they’ll explore writing about war, their research, and where they draw the line in showing children what the world can be like. Incredibly relevant, as I struggle with questions regarding books that my 12 year old should and shouldn’t be reading.

michelleAfter that, it’s straight on to hear an in-conversation session with the talented Michelle de Kretser, winner of this year’s Miles Franklin Award. Looking forward to finding out a little bit more about her incredibly successful novel.

To finish off Sunday, I’ll be heading to ‘Destroying the Joint?’ …

More than 28,000 self-proclaimed Destroyers have ‘liked’ Destroy the Joint – a Facebook page that ‘shines a light on sexism and misogyny.’ While social media may provide a platform for participative activism, social commentator Jane Caro, comedian Stella Young, and activist Aidan Ricketts join Sushi Das from The Age to ponder the question: how many likes does it take to change the world?

After this session, I’ll have to wait until the end of the week for my next outing. On Friday, 30 August, I’ll sneak off after dropping the kids at school and get a little bit political.

I’m really looking forward to the first session ‘New News: The News About News’ as I’m often quiet perplexed, concerned even, about what’s happening with media and journalism…

Is journalism in rotten shape, or better than ever? Is information still reliable? Will big media continue to dominate, or will citizens and startups step up? Eric Beecher (Private Media), Katharine Viner (Guardian Australia), Mark Forbes (The Age) and Pamela Williams (Australian Financial Review) take the media’s temperature with Margaret Simons (Centre for Advancing Journalism).

politics of sexI’ll follow this up with a session featuring Anna Krien, Shereen El Feki and Sophie Cunningham ‘The Politics of Sex’ as they discuss how the politics of sex provides a literary lens from which to view society.

The second Saturday of the Festival is exciting because it has quite a few free sessions, which I’ll stay around for in the afternoon, after I’ve gone along to a professional development seminar ‘The Art of Literary Criticism’. I’ve not been to one of the seminar sessions before (they cost a little more than a regular session) but I’m really looking forward to this one, I think I’ll learn a lot…

The London Review of Books publishes the biggest names in contemporary literature, ideas, society, and the arts. Editor Mary-Kay Wilmers, publisher Nicholas Spice and contributors Jeremy Harding and Jacqueline Rose take us inside the LRB, Europe’s leading literary magazine. Chaired by Sally Heath.

I think it’s fair to say that by the end of Saturday my brain will be well and truly full, and I’ll be able to go home and fall in a happy heap.

The Melbourne Writers Festival program is out now, and you MUST take a look! If you’re going to be attending, please feel free to connect with TBYL… I’ll be on Facebook and Twitter the whole time and no doubt loitering around Fed Square on and off, I’d love to hear from you!

Here’s to the countdown to August 22nd!

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Part 2 of the current read-a-long of ‘The Unfinished Journals of Elizabeth D’ It’s a fascinating book and a fantastic conversation. Take a look, but be warned – there’s spoilers!

All The Books I Can Read

Hello everyone and welcome to Week 2 of our discussion! Thank you to everyone who took part in the discussion last week, we had such a large number of comments and people shared really involved thoughts about how they were feeling about the book, which is always awesome. You guys make my job so fun and easy!

As always…. ***SPOILERS*** ahead!

Okay our second section of the book – we’re in to the 3rd week of Kate and Chris’s holiday and Chris is working and the kids are at camp which gives Kate quite a bit of free time to devote to reading the journals. She reads through a rather large part of Elizabeth’s life, her years living in New York, her love for her job, her romantic relationships that come and go. We also find out how Elizabeth met Dave in this section and are privy to their relationship…

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The final instalment of the three part read-along of ‘My Hundred Lovers’ I’ll be posting my review of this book later in the week, but have a look over the comments from other bloggers, it’s really interesting.

All The Books I Can Read

Hello everyone and welcome to the third and final part of the discussion on My Hundred Lovers, by Susan Johnson. How is everyone? It’s a terrible day here where I am, perfect for reading and hopefully for some dissecting of this book!

So in the third part of the book we learn a few little things that some of us had been wondering throughout. I’ll talk a little bit about this section and then at the end I’ll have a little bit about the book overall. As always, feel free to bring up your own points of discussion or issues that have resonated with you in any way.

  • What do you think of Deborah’s unusual friendship with the eccentric Horatia? Do you like Horatia?
  • Do you think Deborah was drawn to ‘the beautiful lover’ because of his “full sensuous mouth that bore a curious resemblance to my fathers”? (p177). Or…

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All The Books I Can Read

Hello everyone and welcome to the second week of discussion for My Hundred Lovers. Before we start I’d just like to thank everyone for the discussion last week! Everyone was so forthcoming with comments and opinions and that is what makes a read-a-long so thank you all for your high level of participation.

Now we’ve read 2/3’s of the book roughly and have learned a lot more about Deborah. Has anyone’s feelings on her changed at all? Do you feel any more or less understanding of her as a character and a woman? Do you judge her, for her actions? As we found out there are probably a few sections in this part that would raise eyebrows these days!

  • We’ve learned that Deborah was married but so far her husband has not been a large part of the book, only mentioned here and there. On p172, when talking about…

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I’m participating in this read-along, and it’s great so far!

All The Books I Can Read

Hello everyone and welcome to the first discussion on the read-a-long of My Hundred Lovers! Hopefully you all have read pages 1-88 but don’t worry if you haven’t, there’s no pressure! Read at your own pace and come and join us whenever you are up to speed. Just be aware that if you have not completed the first part of the read-a-long that this post and the comments will contain

***SPOILERS***. 

Right, now that we’ve got that out of the way….

Firstly how is everyone enjoying the book? I know that when I put my hand up to host this, I was told that it was “brutally honest” and I have to say, they weren’t kidding! It’s probably one of the frankest stories I’ve ever read, the blunt but still sensuous style painting a meandering picture of our protagonist’s life from 0-50 years. Are you enjoying all of the…

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Introducing the TBYL Bookshelf

Please excuse the shameless self-promotion…it’s just that I’m proud as punch, and overly excited!

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always found it hard to know what to choose when I’m browsing for a book to buy. There’s so much to choose from, and picking a winner can be a real challenge.

If you’re like me, I’m hoping that the TBYL Bookshelf will be a big help to you!

The TBYL Bookshelf  is a place to find a choice selection of books, most of which have been reviewed on the blog (so you can get an idea of which book will suit you best). Any books that haven’t been reviewed on the blog have been read and recommended by TBYL, so you can trust that they are an entertaining read.

The collection is hand-picked, and I trust each title will bring you great enjoyment.

You’ll also find, new in the TBYL Store, the Kids’ Book Box where you’ll be able to pick up some gorgeous kids books. The selection will change often, and at the moment it contains three of my absolute favourites: Eric Carle’s The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse, Honey and Johnson’s I’m Still Awake, Still! and just in time for the new school year, Lauren Child’s I am Too Absolutely Small for School.

Finally, available for a limited time is the Back to School gift collection…This gift collection is a very special way to help to settle your nervous newbies as they prepare to start a new school year. Super-cute, and busting at the seams with imagination, I am Too Absolutely Too Small for School is a wonderful way to answer some of those niggling starting-school questions, the retro exercise books are quirky and fun, and the giraffe is just the cutest way to rule your margins!

I hope you’ll pop by and say hi…I’m sure you’ll find something lovely, just for you in the TBYL Store.

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Guess what? Tomorrow is my birthday!! Guess what else? I’m doing a birthday give-away! Stay tuned for details of our next bookish competition, tomorrow on the blog.

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