Melbourne Writers Festival 2016

As you most likely already know from this blog, I want to be a writer and publish my own stories in the future. This year I heard of the great event known as the Melbourne Writers Festival by discovering an author I loved was going, and knew I had to be there.

I was lucky enough to have the events I wanted to go to, happening on one Sunday of the ten day festival, and that was seeing authors Rainbow Rowell (Fangirl, Eleanor and Park, Carry On) and David Levithan (Will Grayson Will Grayson, Nick and Norah’s Infinate Playlist, The Lover’s Dictionary).

First up I went to a talk featuring both Rainbow and David, ‘YA Superstars’. Some of my favourite books are Young Adult novels, and are something I would love to write, so I found this very interesting and inspiring. However, the best part of this talk was when Rainbow and David both read excerpts from their novels You Know Me Well and Carry On, it was fantastic and hilarious! Both authors worked really well together, and it was a really intriguing talk.

Following that, I got to meet the authors and have my books (Fangirl and Will Grayson Will Grayson) signed, which was very exciting, but I was also a bit nervous!
I also wanted to make sure I could learn at least one thing from these wonderful authors.

When meeting Rainbow Rowell, I wanted to let her know that her book Fangirl showed me that even at 22, it was okay to be my geeky self. I then asked her how she uses inspiration from other works to create her own without replicating it, and she told me that when you go to write, it will all come out through yourself.
Fangirl also helped me with accepting my social anxiety, so it was wonderful being able to see the author who did that for me.

I then got to meet David Levithan, who was lovely! I discovered him through his collaboration with John Green on the novel Will Grayson Will Grayson, which I just could not put down. I asked him if he finds it better to plan a story or to just start writing and see what comes. He said that your usually one or the other, and he was giving me his perspective from both an author and a publisher. And I think I was so nervous, that I forgot his actual answer!!

Later on in the day I went to my second talk featuring Rainbow Rowell and Lev Grossman, which was all about Fantasy! I am a huge fan of fantasy stories, and would just love to write my own world one day! I really enjoyed this talk, and loved how it featured so many references to other fantasy books including Harry Potter and Narnia.
There were two notes in regards to writing fantasy books that I took away from this seminar:

  • – The Ice-Berg Theory; Just like an ice berg, the fantasy novel can have 10% of the story, and then 90% of that world that the reader doesn’t see. A good fantasy book is when the author makes reference and shows the reader that is another 90% to the world, beyond what they’re reading.
  • – A good fantasy book is not one that completely forgets about reality and creates a whole different world, but one that acknowledges reality exists and shows a world to escape that.

I also wanted to see Graham Base, who wrote some amazing books from my childhood such as Animalia and The Waterhole, but unfortunately, I couldn’t find a talk or signing he was doing on the Sunday.
But I did see Yann Martel doing his signing (but I didn’t go), who wrote Life of Pie. A really good book I studied in Year 12. He would have been very inspiring to listen to.

My only criticism about the festival would be that I think it would work slightly better if it was held like Pop Culture Conventions, at the Showgrounds or Convention Centre. I can understand Federation Square is great for the cultural side to it, and it most likely works better to hold all the talks. I just think if it would be better all held in the one place, ‘under the same roof’, and there could be book and nerdy merch stalls. That would be amazing!

Mum and I were also really excited to see the Roald Dahl exhibition, but sadly it was only about three boards with different book cover canvases..

Overall, I had a really lovely day, especially getting to spend it with my family.

I learnt a lot, and was influenced by some amazing, creative people. I do hope I can attend again next year, and meet some more of my favourite writers.

Jess xx

Related Links
My Goodreads Profile
Melbourne Writers Festival
Rainbow Rowell
David Levithan


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