NYWF 2009: Goodbye NC

Newcastle. Unreliable taxi services. Drunk youths. Cheap retro. Love it, hate it, can’t stand the sight of it. Home of TINA (This Is Not Art Festival) and, consequently, the National Young Writers’ Festival

Over the last four days, I’ve hugged Lawrence Leung, discovered Chris Somerville and Michaela McGuire’s work, hung out at a Lucky Seven with Angela Meyer, and learnt swing-dancing from Visible Ink’s Anthony Noack. I’ve chatted to distro owners, potential subscribers and contributors, and random punters at the zine fair, and compared Buffy notes with Thomas Benjamin Guerney. Oh yeah, and I started crying during the Artistic Resilience Intensive’s meditation exercise (which wasn’t very resilient of me). I’ve drunk, and danced, and done the meet and greet. It’s been fun, but I’m glad to be home and finally catch up on some sleep.

Thank you Amy Ingram, Daniel Evans, Sarah Howell and Ronnie Scott for a wicked festival, and thank you everyone else for being the cool cats that you are.

Until next year,



A dash of poetry, a splash of sin (syn)

I thought I’d listen to SYN’s Textual Fantasies before writing up today’s post, and was pleased to discover that the subject of my post, Harvest Poetry Editor Josephine Rowe, was on the program. 

Estelle and Maddie were interviewing the editors from Harvest and Stop, Drop, and Roll, and it was cool hearing how other literary journals do the ‘boring stuff’ i.e. distribution, and promotion. Harvest has started using Selectair as a distributor, while Stop, Drop, and Roll are still pretty much sending out stuff themselves. In terms of promotion, both magazines agreed on the importance of online presence: ‘Most of our promotion is all online’ (SDR); ‘You just can’t underestimate it [the internet] any more’ (Harvest). They also do promotional activities such as leaving free copies of their publication at cafes, and dropping positive comments about the magazine within earshot of prospective buyers.

But back to Josephine Rowe and poetry. The Overload Poetry Festival is happening this week, and Josephine will be performing tomorrow for ‘Dreaming Highways‘, alongside Andy Jackson, Laura Smith, Gemma White, and Jessica Raschke. (‘Dreaming Highways‘ is not part of the official Overload program, but it is poetry; I still think it’s reasonable to mention both in the same sentence.)

There’s also another poetry gig on at La Mama on Monday night, showcasing the likes of Sean M. Whelan, Ben Pobjie, Briohny Doyle, Angela Meyer, and Barry Dickins (this one’s officially part of Overload, I promise). I hear it will be Angela’s first foray into the spoken word poetry scene, so come along and show her some support. 🙂

Anyway, that’s all from me. Thumbs up to Textual Fantasies, Harvest and Stop, Drop, and Roll. They love The Lifted Brow. Ballast-bless their welcome mats.

Style Manuals and Textual Fantasies

While trawling through an Oakleigh op shop, I spotted a first edition Style Manual in the bargain bin outside:


First edition Style Manual (23/7/09)

First edition Style Manual (23/7/09)

Some of the pages were falling out, so I didn’t buy it, but because it was such a cool find, I had to take a photo. I also noticed an old imperial kitchen scale for $15, which would have easily gone for $60 at the Chapel Street Bazaar. 

Most op shops were closed on Saturday, so I spent my time sifting through people’s hard rubbish in Box Hill and Hawthorn, listening to Estelle and Maddie’s Textual Fantasies on SYN. I found some funky orange canisters and learnt from Jess Crouch that working in a bookstore is a legit career move if one wants to get into publishing. When it comes to getting the job you want, both guest speakers, Crouch and Ryan Paine, emphasised the importance of being persistent: get one foot in the door by working in a related field, show that you’re interested by doing some work experience.

Judging from last Saturday’s ‘how to’ on publishing, Textual Fantasies seems to be geared towards young and or emerging writers. With its review of The Lifted Brow and Ryan Paine’s validation of non-mainstream lit, the show would also appeal to indy fiction fetishists. If you fit into either category, tune in on Saturdays from 1-2pm and think of me being stuck with Old FM and doped-up druggies—