October 29, 2015 at 4:54 pm #2835Rachel KersleyParticipant
Before I get started: best practice for reviews is that you write the review as soon as possible after the experience to make sure that it’s fresh in your mind. Unfortunately, if there’s one thing I’ve discovered trying to get these blog posts done, it’s that it’s really hard to find a program that:
- Is relevant to one of our topics
- Is happening somewhere I can get to, and
- Is happening during the appropriate time frame.
That being the case, I’m ignoring both that last point and best practice, and reviewing a program from a few years ago instead: Brisbane Writers Festival 2013. Admittedly, I feel like I’m stretching the definition of a program with that one, as well, but it’s an event – or group of events – at a library, so I’m counting it.
The BNF’s connection to pop culture tends to be different every year, and 2013 was a pretty great one, considering the prevalence of genre writers and comic creators. A lot of the events that I attended were actually part of the Well Drawn series, all about comics.
One of my favourites was a ‘masterclass’ (basically just a workshop) with Kelly Sue Deconnick on writing characters. As someone who was doing an undergrad in creative writing at the time – as well as just writing a lot generally – it wasn’t anything ground-breaking in terms of content. What it was, though, was fun. It was enjoyable, it was well presented, and it was well run, keeping about twenty random people engaged for a couple of hours.
Outside of that, everything I attended was a panel discussion of some sort. Most of them were also in the Well Drawn series, and just about all of them were super engaging. In fact, the only panel that didn’t hold my delighted attention for the whole time was one on friendship between teenage girls in YA fiction, and even then it wasn’t bad in any real sense of the word, the conversation just ended up going in directions that I personally didn’t find particularly interesting.
Of course, the running of specific events isn’t all there is to talk about. The festival as a whole was arranged fantastically, with everything running smoothly between the panels as well. And of course, the fact that writers like Deconnick, Liu, and Fraction were speaking means that I was pretty much automatically into it.
At the end of the day, the BNF is hit or miss when it comes to the actual content – I was super into 2013, for example, but other years have left me pretty uninterested. That’s obviously more of a matter of personal taste than anything else, though, obviously. From what I’ve seen and heard about other BNF events, not being to my taste content-wise hasn’t stopped anything from being fantastically run and put together. Without even looking at the specific panels and events on offer, the actual organisation and running of the festival is top notch.
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