Brisbane Writers Festival kicks off this week!

The Brisbane Writers Festival has been the strongest literary event in Brisbane’s calendar for fifty years and we’re thrilled to once again host this illustrious event at SLQ for 2012. It’s a festival that brings together authors, publishers and readers for a celebration of words. There’s always an excitement that kicks in at about the half-year when you know the festival is coming up.

Brisbane Writers Festival heart

Brisbane Writers Festival heart currently located in Knowledge Walk at SLQ

One year I remember R.L. Stine making an appearance. He was unassuming for a guy who’s written a veritable library of books to scare and entertain children. Another year I met Jasper Fforde – whose books I’ve followed religiously. When I went up to have my books signed after his talk, I remember him not being able to find his pen, and until the situation was rectified, he insisted on signing the book with the tip of his mobile phone. An especially memorable event for me was when members of The Chaser interviewed some of the Brisbane Writers Festival guest authors.

In the midst of the author-reader meetings and copious launches, the Brisbane Writers Festival is where serious discussions of the industry take place. Every year a crime writer panel resides, where crime authors discuss their experiences in an interesting and informative forum. A panel last year had the screenwriter of the popular UK crime show Luther, paired with writer and Australian philosopher Raymond Gaita, as well as Brisbane authors John Birmingham and Nick Earls discuss adaptations of their books. You don’t see that kind of mix in a panel at other festivals.

As it enters its 50th year running, I don’t know what this particular Brisbane Writers Festival will bring. But that’s half the fun. You sign up for some panels and see where the discussion goes. The Festival website has already gained a reputation this year for the social media storytelling, where guest authors with Twitter accounts each contribute a tweet or two towards one long story.

The author list for this year consists of mainly Australian authors, though our authors are some of the most well-established in our country’s consciousness. Andy Griffiths will be coming, along with First Tuesday Book Club’s panellist Marieke Hardy, Brisbane author Venero Armanno, David Marr and the always contentious and interesting Germaine Greer. While the majority of the authors are new to me, the festival serves as a way to introduce them and put faces to books.

The Brisbane Writers Festival is also a wonderful way to establish yourself as a writer. You can meet publicists, editors, fellow authors and if you’ve just published your first novel, you have a chance to score a gig on one of the panels. The week is for the book industry, every portion of it, to come together and hang out for an entire week. The festival events are usually informal; often contain wine and champagne, and always plenty of books and insightful discussion.

The Brisbane Writers Festival should be something on every book person’s calendar, and I think the 50th anniversary is going to be a great one.

5-9 September 2012 | State Library of Queensland
bwf.org.au