I attended my first Sydney Writer’s Festival in 2014. That was the year my writing journey really began. It was because of my time at that festival that I began to believe my dream of becoming an author could become reality. I was desperate to return the following two years, but unfortunately things didn’t go my way. This year I finally made it back, and it felt exactly like coming home.
I’m so glad I was lucky enough to attend this year. There is a magic in the air down by the wharf, in the theatres and right throughout the city as the red and orange flags fly. Authors who guided you through your childhood or adolescence laugh alongside those who captivated your attention only recently. There are those you will discover during the festival, their books will weigh down your bag as you carry them home. All ready to share their wisdom and insights into writing and life.
Workshops provide a creative outlet, a space to hone your craft and look at your work from a perspective you may never have discovered on your own. These have always been a personal favourite of mine. They aren’t just a place to reignite your passion and expand your already genius ideas, but somewhere full of likeminded people. I have never walked away from one without meeting someone I will never forget. This year I was lucky enough to attend a workshop full of inspiring ladies led by the incredible Amie Kaufman (who’s heart-wrenching, witty and boundless writing style is everything I aspire mine to become). I left with a head full of ideas, notepad full of conventions ready to be applied and a list of books that are revered by my fellow writers (and now sit on my bookshelf ready to be devoured).
Another highlight for me was the All Day YA event held at Riverside Theatre in Parramatta. As a Young Adult writer myself, I felt at home surrounded by fellow writers and readers. My partner tagged along and was surprised by the variety of people in attendance. YA doesn’t just reach young readers. There are some issues that are too big for adult fiction and require the limitless imagination and compassion readers of YA are known for. Which is exactly why I love it. This event was so important to me it requires a post all of its own, so check back for that one.
Sydney trips are a rarity for me, so I had to include a few touristy adventures, but perhaps from this year forward they won’t be. I would like to believe this was the first of many consecutive festival visits (as long as life doesn’t get in the way, as it so often does). The travel, finances and organisation were all worthwhile after everything I took away from the experience. I would recommend doing what you can to attend festivals in your area, the things you’ll learn, the people you’ll meet and the confidence you’ll take into your writing moving forward are worth more than a monetary value.
Big thank you to everyone who made the festival a possibility and all the writers who give up their time. I’m certain I’m just one of many incredibly grateful writers/readers for the opportunity to attend. Until next year