Sydney Writers’ Festival and YA Matters 2015

2013

Rachel: “Melina Marchetta and Gayle Forman are going to be at an event in Sydney…”

Annette: “We could fly to Sydney”

We then proceeded to fly to Sydney for Just One Day (see what I did there?) and got to see these two amazing authors speak and THEN Gayle Forman gave us her contact details and when she came to Melbourne, we hung out with her for a day. Seriously… that happened.

2015:

Rachel: “Melina Marchetta is going to be at the Sydney Writers’ Festival this year…”

Annette: “We could fly to Sydney”

We then proceeded to fly to Sydney for a weekend and we stayed in my Uncle’s cute apartment in Darlinghurst and attended several amazing sessions at the festival including:

John Marsden: South Of Darkness, The Rise and Rise of YA: A Look at the Fastest-Growing Category in Fiction, Emily St John Mandel: On Pandemics, Grounded: Place in Writing, Keeping it Real: Realistic Issues in Teen Fiction annnnnnd TeenCon 2015!

Our favourite of these was probably John Marsden, he was fascinating to listen to and has such important and relevant views on education for young people and young people in general. Highlight was each getting our remaining two unsigned books of Melina Marchetta’s signed (of her YA books, that is) (only The Gorgon In The Gully to go now muahahaha).

The week after that was Reading Matters and we couldn’t afford to attend the whole program (because we spent all our money flying to Sydney) but luckily for us, there was a public day running this year. We went to all four sessions and it was so much fun! We met some YA authors (Will Kostakis, Sara Farizan, Laurie Halse Anderson, Clare Atkins) and we got our books signed. We also got to chat with Ellie Marney and Vikki Wakefield (briefly) AND we met a Twitter friend IRL too, Sara.

So I filmed some of each of these events (mostly SWF, but some YA matters photos thrown in for good measure). Check it out!

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Bookish Events: Every Move Book Launch

Every Move by Ellie Marney – Book Launch

Launched By: Adele Walsh

Location: Readings, Carlton

Date: March 16th, 2015

ANNETTE

What do you get if you put the nicest author ever in a bookstore with a bunch of nerds, cheese and then follow it up with a Brunetti’s dessert?  The best Monday ever, is what you get.  Highlights: Meeting Ellie Marney.  Hugging Ellie Marney.  Getting books signed by Ellie Marney.  Ellie Marney.  This was the second time I have attended a book launch (first was for my dear friend Emma Hoare, author of ‘In Slumber Creeping’) and I can safely say that I love geeking out.  If you’re a book nerd, make sure you get yourself to a book launch or some other kind of book event in the near future.  The video below gives you a little taster of what it’s like.  Go forth and be with your people.

RACHEL

I am super proud of myself for being the Queen of scoping out bookish events for us to attend this year. This was one I was particularly excited for, mainly because Ellie kept tweeting about all the cheese she was going to buy for it. CHEESE, FUCK YEAH. No but really, the Every series is a truly amazing Aussie YA crime trilogy, fraught with delicious sexual tension and inventive descriptions of the colour blue of James Mycroft’s eyes and his glorious GLORIOUS curls. So we were really lucky to be able to attend this book’s launch. And getting to meet Ellie Marney (and hug her even though I hate hugs) was definitely the best thing about it. I don’t know why it’s taken us so long to try to include ourselves, but I’m glad we’re finally getting out and about a bit more.

Bookish Events: The F Word Series with Roxane Gay

The F Word: Roxane Gay on Sexual & Gender Politics

Presented by: The Wheeler Centre

Hosted By: Maxine Beneba Clarke

Location: Melbourne City Conference Centre

Date: March 5th, 2015

ANNETTE

In 2012 we started our blog as a way to record our original bookish road trip to Sydney.  Since then, we have branched out and toured more YA books, participated regularly in a weekly bookish meme and even written a few book reviews each. This year we wanted to expand our horizons a bit further and finally get to attending some bookish events.

To start off 2015, we attended the first session in “The F Word”, a series about contemporary feminism run by The Wheeler Centre.  Now, I must admit that neither Rachel nor I have actually read anything by Roxane Gay (except her tweets, which are hilarious) and I personally had no idea what the session was about and wasn’t sure I would understand what was going on.  Fortunately, it wasn’t imperative to have read Roxane’s books and I didn’t feel like an imposter not having read them.  It really felt like being there to learn and laugh was enough to be accepted.  Gosh I love literary people, they are so inclusive!

As an ex-Social Science student I have to say that this was simultaneously the funniest and most informative discussion about feminism that I have ever participated in (and I’ve participated in my fair share).  The session started off with Roxane filming the crowd and then proclaiming ‘yea-ah’ and the laughs didn’t stop from that point forward.  Some of my personal highlights from the evening were when Roxane described ‘The Help’ as ‘a fucking mess’ and proclaimed that you can’t call yourself a feminist and refuse to be a feminist for all kinds of women (when discussing transgender individuals).

But the thing that resonated with me the most didn’t actually have anything at all to do with feminism, it had to do with social media.  I don’t know if this makes me shallow or uneducated or whatever, but my highlight doesn’t even have to do with Roxane’s discussion about how social media can provide people with news and information in a new and accessible way (which is a totally valid point, mind you).  No, my highlight was when Roxane admitted that she is a shy person and hates ‘small talk and all that nonsense’ and finds it easier to communicate and socialise with people over the internet.  Dre, can I get a hell yeah?  That made me feel good about myself, because if someone as bad-ass as Roxane Gay preferences internet friendships over face-to-face interactions then maybe there is hope for me yet.

Oh…and one last thing; Roxane Gay can swear like a motherfucking champion.

RACHEL

I just wanted to add that when Roxane started talking about The Help, I was uncertain as to what she meant by it being ‘a fucking mess’. And as she continued to talk about it, and explain the way it was problematic, I felt upset. Upset that I read The Help and really liked it, and didn’t see anything wrong with it. Something unfortunate that I’ve come to realise about myself is that I’m so ignorant to certain issues that affect us on a daily basis, and I don’t want to be. I don’t want to go through life being of the mindset that everything’s fine and we don’t need to be constantly pushing for something more, something better. And I guess that’s what I really enjoyed about this session. That I was able to sit there and listen to Roxane and Maxine talk about feminism and finally feel like I am starting to understand (this is a shameful thing to admit to at the age of 24, but there you go).

Two other things:

1. Shout out to the audience member in high school who came up to ask about how she could make her feminism club more inclusive. That’s fucking awesome.

2. I really need to get better at book signings. I get so damn starstruck and forget to act like a normal human being. Fair enough that I felt that I couldn’t talk to her about her book, cos I haven’t read it, but asking where else in Australia she was visiting? You’re a dickhead Rachel.

Here is the link to the session: