Perth Writers’ Festival 2013

Another year has come and gone for my local writers’ festival. Once again I joined my fellow reading nerds and aspiring authors to descend upon the grounds of UWA. This year there were 30,000 of us who felt the need to spend three days of lovely weather discussing books.

This year I spent a lot of the three day in writing workshops and less time at discussion/interview sessions. There is always room for improvement in writing, so what better way than sitting down with an expert and two dozen peers to discuss and practice. I’d like to thank the various experts who all had some interesting insights and tips: Susan Midalia (short stories – literary focus), Belinda Castles (finding your voice and turning that story into reality), LA Larkin (thriller writing, great tips and she is also running a longer course with the Sydney Writers Centre) and Parker Bilal (crime writing, developing the characters and structure).

This isn’t to say that I didn’t get the chance to see any talks. The discussion of Antarctica was fascinating and puts it on the list of places I’d like to visit before climate change has its wicked way with it. The discussion with Major General John Cantwell and former WA premier Geoff Gallop about why it is necessary to help remove the stigma around mental illness was fantastic. John managed to pretend he wasn’t suffering PTSD for 20 years, which is just amazing considering some of the the ramifications it was having on him. Another great session was with David Petrarca, Sue Masters and James Bradley discussing how TV storytelling now rivals cinema and literature. It is quite clear that subscription TV and services like Netflix are changing the game for production of TV, which is why we are seeing great writing, great acting and decent budgets to give us programming I actually want to watch. James Bradley made a very poiniant comment: we have to stop ragging on Master Chef and other boring and mindless TV shows, their popularity allows decent TV to be funded. Finally, on Sunday I was introduced to two new (for me) authors in the panel discussion on thrillers with Andrew Croome, LA Larkin and Steve Worland. I’m looking forward to reading Andrew and Steve’s books, and of course Louisa’s new novel Thirst.

But, now the festival is over for another year. This picture sums up the take home message for me from this year’s Perth Writers’ Festival:

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New climate info graphic

I wrote a little satirical book review about a notorious science journal called Energy & Environment, which is the go-to place for people who think the Earth is flat and that climate change isn’t happening. I’ve written a few articles on the topic myself and I’m also rather active in promoting climate science and renewable energy (just read my Twitter and Facebook feeds). As a result the author of the Infographic below – Allison Lee – contacted me. So enjoy a few climate facts from the graphic below and share it to continue to raise awareness.

 

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Created by: Learnstuff.com

Book Review: Arctic Floor by Mark Aitken

Arctic FloorArctic Floor by Mark Aitken
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There is nothing quite like a marketing executive, especially when they work in publishing. These are the people who come up with the fantastic ideas like: dog on the cover because dogs sell books, no dogs in the book; bright and cheery cover art, book about a serial killer; quotes recommending the book by famous authors, authors that have the same publisher. In this case the marketing department came up with a brilliant idea: Matthew Reilly is an Australian author who sells a lot of books, let’s mention him on the cover, despite the fact that the two authors write in a completely different style.

I grabbed Mark’s book from my local library because I saw he had a new book out, the third in a series, and I hadn’t heard of him previously. A fellow Aussie author, with a comparison to Matthew Reilly on the cover: this should be gold. Needless to say, the marketing people drew me in with false advertising. Mark’s book is a thriller and was a decent read, but he was more Cussler or Archer than Reilly. In fact, I was more reminded of Sahara (swap baking temperatures for freezing cold) than I was of Ice Station.

False advertising aside, this is quite a decent thriller. Worth a read, if you are after a James Rollins or Clive Cussler style novel. I’d expect later books in this series will probably “grab” the reader more, so maybe check out Mark’s new one.

View all my reviews