As I was saying to one of my creative writing students from the University of New South Wales, if I were an unpublished writer – or even a published writer wanting to learn more about my industry – I’d be going to ‘The Forest for the trees‘ at the Sydney Writers’ Festival this year. I’ve mentioned this session already on this blog, but since then I’ve learnt the full scope of this day-long workshop and I want to say more about it.
Why? Because it brings together some of the most interesting and exciting people working in writing and publishing today. They come from Australia and the world. And between them their expertise covers pretty much everything you need to know about this industry-in-flux in 2012, from printed books, bookshops and journals to the new electronic world.
The workshop is at the State Library of New South Wales from 10am to 4.30pm on Thursday 17 May 2012. First up is writer Sophie Cunningham talking about her writing life, what she’ll be doing in 2012. Before she published her first book, the bestselling novel Geography, Cunningham was a publisher and an editor. Most recently she was the editor of literary magazine Meanjin.
Next up some seriously important publishers will talk about the challenges and opportunities publishing houses face in 2012. They are Margaret Seale from Random House, Sue Hines from Allen & Unwin, Alison Green from Pantera Press and Paul Baggaley from Picador UK.
From big publishing to small, next four journal editors will speak about the vital role journals play in the careers of emerging writers, including what they can offer writers when so many self-publishing opportunities now exist. The panelists are Julianne Schultz from the highly regarded Griffith Review, David Brooks from distinguished literary journal Southerly, Alice Grundy from funky new glossy lit mag Seizure, and I’ll be appearing as fiction editor of politically engaged Overland.
From there the day moves to the new world of digital publishing and ‘other ways forward’. In this session panelists are Joel Naoum from Pan Macmillan’s exciting new e-imprint Momentum, Anna Maguire from digital publishing consultancy digireado, publisher Elizabeth Weiss from Allen & Unwin (whose expertise in e-publishing is vast) and David Henley from Xou Creative, a design and production studio which produces Seizure, among many other things.
The day will conclude with a wrap-up and Q&A featuring writer Bem Le Hunte, dynamo HarperCollins publisher Shona Martyn – and the equally dynamic literary agent Sophie Hamley and bookseller Barbara Horgan from Shearer’s Bookshop, who will talk to Sophie Cunningham about the challenges and opportunities for writers in 2012.
Bookings are essential for this event – it can only take 130 participants – and it costs $35/$25, but I think it will be fascinating and informative, worth every cent. If nothing else, in this increasingly digital world, it’s always incredibly useful to see the people who work in your field IN THE FLESH. And ideally to have the opportunity to meet one or two or more of them.