They say there’s only so much you can learn in a book which is where the Emerging Writers’ Festival comes in. In its tenth year, the May festival will see over 50 events, 200 artists and writers squeezed into an 11-day program. Aimed at writers trying to find their groove, or perhaps just even a new groove, EWF will get the brain juices flowing.
The flagship Writers’ Conference will return again to the Melbourne Town Hall over the first weekend of the festival featuring John Safran and novelist Jennifer Mills, among other high profile writers. They’ll cover radio, podcasting, writing novels and short stories, promoting literacy, writing for young adults, self help and travel literature, social media, performing one’s writing, memoirs an editing.
The new edition of the The Emerging Writer – the annual compendium of writing advice, tips and thoughts on writing from a diverse range of contributors – will be launched on May 30. Co-ordinator of Deaf Art Network, Ross Onley-Zerkel, will help smash the bottle on the side of the ship by sharing his experiences as a deaf writer with the help of AUSLAN interpreters.
This is also the first year EWF is teaming up with the Abbotsford Convent for a Writers’ Retreat. The weekend over June 1 and 2 will revolve around themes of writing and wellbeing. Encouraging budding writers and scribes set in their unhealthy ways to embrace taking care of their bodies, workshops available include Writing and Yoga, Meditation and Creativity, and more. There will also be a dedicated writing space at the Convent where people are encouraged to bring their writing to work on, talk to fellow writers and ask advice. Poet Emily Stewart is giving away all of her books here with accompanying personalised letters, too.
For those who can’t spare time during the day, there’s plenty to take advantage of after hours. The Writing Night School provides crash courses in novellas, the language of comics, creative non-fiction and poetry. At the festival hub, based at the cosy 1000 Pound Bend, four magazines are tasked with presenting their content in an IRL way for Late Night Live; the LIfted Brow will share a mixtape of music which has impacted them most,Kill Your Darlings will explore TV from recaps to spoilers, Seizure celebrate short-form fiction (known as ‘flashers’) and Ampersand are launching their sixth issue ‘One Little Room’.
Turn the Words Up Loud will look at the special relationship between words and music at the Toff, featuring musicians Dave Graney, Alicia Sometimes and Frente (yep, the guys who did THAT ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’ cover) frontwoman Angie Hart. If you like the idea of fightin’ words, the Friday Night Fight will see Young Adult writers face off against those that write for a more adult audience. There are promises of declaring an outright winner.
Masterclasses will help you make good internetz, manage the business side of writing, aid you in theatre and screenwriting, as well as save you from stage fright when you’re asked to perform your work.
If a measly 11 days isn’t enough festival for you, EWF will be launching the app The Unfinished Phrase at the closing night party. The new storytelling device is described as “part ‘Exquisite Corpse’ (the collective assembly of words or images) experiment, part Twitter aggregator” and will continue the collaborative festival experience long after the printed 2013 programs are recycled into toilet paper.
The Emerging Writers’ Festival runs from Thursday 23 May – Sunday 2 June. For more info on the EWF program for 2013, check out the website.
Originally published 18 April 2013 on Everguide.com.au