And The Winner is... Syd-ah-Ney (Jewish Writers Festival)

on Sunday, July 15, 2012
Two years ago I schlepped up to Sydney to play the role of drooling fanboy at The Sydney Jewish Writers Festival. I sat in on a number of fascinating panel presentations and had the chance to mingle with a bunch of great Australian and international authors including Peter Manseau (author of the fantastic Songs For The Butcher's Daughter), Steve Toltz, Morris Gleitzman and more. I still recall with great fondness the panel with Siegmund Siegreich, newly-published octogenarian author of The Thirty Six in conversation with Australia's finest fabulist Arnold Zable. The depth of insight on the nature of Holocaust memory was astounding, as was the warmth between these two wonderful artists. There was also a tinge of sadness - I had worked for quite a while to get the great Czech author Arnost Lustig to come, and was to host a discussion with him at the Melbourne Jewish Museum about the responsibility of third generation authors when it comes to fiction and the Holocaust. Unfortunately Lustig cancelled in the eleventh hour due to poor health, and died a few months later. His was a great loss.

Fast forward two years and I'm heading to the festival again (it only runs every second year). The 2012 Sydney Jewish Writers Festival will take place on August 25-28 and boasts an amazing lineup: Tom Segev, Elliot Perlman, Anna Funder, Mark Dapin, Danny Katz, Austen Tayshus, Ita Buttrose, Michael Gawenda and many more. Check out the full list here.

In a weird twist of fate, I'm not just a fanboy this time, but also a presenter. I am thrilled to tell you that I will be participating in two panels, one about short stories and one about blogging (hopefully that's not too meta for my brain as I write this here).

So check it out. This is the link to the short stories panel, entitled Does Size Matter?. It is with Arnold Zable and chaired by Amy Matthews. For those of you who live on Mars, Arnold is a wonderful writer of both short and longer form fiction and non-fiction. His new book, Violin Lessons is very well worth you reading. I'm sure he will have lots to say about the craft, and I can only hope to add something of value on the side.

The second panel is called Opinionated and Online, and features Meiron Lees, Loren Suntup with Lauren Finn in the chair. These folk are serious bloggers, so it will be fun to be the self-indulgent, hermit-like scribbler in the corner. Perhaps I'm there to answer why people bother writing what few people want to read. That gives me a month and a bit to come up with an intelligent-sounding answer!

Anyway, I urge all you Sydneysiders to purchase tickets ASAP for what I am certain will be a wonderful festival. If you live elsewhere and can get to Sydney in August, I think you'll be very glad you did. Hopefully I'll see you all there. In the meantime, have a good laugh at my festival profile!


Post a Comment