The past month or so has more insane than most. It seemed as though the universe converged on August. It began with the Woodland Film Festival, in which I had the honour of being a judge. Now, my knowledge, such as it is, is about story and not the technical aspects of film , but fortunately, my fellow judges were experts and more than made up for that deficiency. It was quite wonderful to consider storytelling through another medium... what worked, what didn't, what made you laugh, what stayed with you. The only section from which I was recused was the Local Film category. My sons, Edmund (13) and Atticus (8) had entered and been shortlisted in that category and eventually won with a funny little film entitled Joe McLean and the Dame, of which they were producers, writers, cast and crew. As you can imagine, our home movies can be a little elaborate!
August also saw me off to the Melbourne Writers' Festival for the first time. I appeared in a wonderful panel entitled Writing Fashion with Danielle Whitfield (curator) and Brownyn Cosgrove (textile conservator), who were both behind the Fashion Detective Exhibition for which I wrote The Bequest. I was a guest author in the MWF/Dumbo Feather's conversation caravan, where I had coffee and nibbles and while talking to festival goers in the intimate setting of the an aluminium caravan parked in Federations Square.
The Melbourne Writers Festival was also an opportunity to catch up with writer friends. I had a particularly glorious day with my dear friend and fellow crime-writer, Angela Savage . We toasted her double short-listing (Ned Kelly Award, Davitt Award) for The Dying Beach, talked writing, people and plans. We shopped for clothes and knelt on the floor of chic bakery just so we could get the cake display into our selfie.
I also had dinner with gentleman and fellow writer, Steve Eather, (who I met through Rowland Sinclair) and some lovely ladies to whom he had introduced Rowland. A perfectly charming evening in every way.
While I was in Melbourne I began a program of releasing books into the wild... I don't who'll find them or where they'll end up but it was great fun finding places to leave them.
Of course I was assisted in this book releasing excercise by my sister and my Dad, who were both in Melbourne, and Angela as well. For some reason you feel a bit guilty leaving a book... like you're abandoning a child... or littering....
In amongst all this I was lecturing LIT221 at Charles Sturt University... my first academic appointment. Had a brilliant time! Conducted my last lecture just before I flew out for Melbourne and my dear students brought cake... because clearly if I have taught them anything, it is that literature is enhanced by cake! My job is done!