The Problems with Writers Festivals

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The sceptic in me thinks Writers Festivals are about trying to make money.  It seems to be the big push during festival event time, buying tickets to events and then buying books afterwards.

But I can’t believe it is all about publicity and selling books.

They can also be about wankery, elitism, fame and sometimes literature.

The problems with Writers Festivals are that the panels are rarely about what you think they are about.  There is a lot of loose interpretation when it comes to panel headlines, and then what is actually discussed.

No one is actually handing out advice about writing, or speaking to the audience like they are writers too.  Mostly, Writers Festival audiences are made up of writers, looking for help, tips inspiration and guidance.

Also, writers always seem to want to do readings from their book – which breaks up the flow of conversation.

Writers festivals are about talking and socialising and being amoung people – not reading out loud to people who have either read your book and therefore don’t need to hear it again, or haven’t read your book and therefore don’t want the whole thing ruined. .

So why do I keep going?  Because THE BENEFITS OF WRITERS FESTIVALS always outweigh the negative

I found myself in Melbourne looking around at the audience and realised that I was in a room full of colleagues.  Colleagues is not really a word that writers use very often as it is a solitary career path.  But here we all were, having worked remotely for the last year, we had all come home to the festival to work together for a few weeks.

And work we did.


Benefits of a Writers Festival; Why you should go

The benefits of writers festival, writers festival, writing festival, sydney writers festival, How to publish a book, how to publish an ebook, book writing software, formatting an ebook, self publishing, uploading ebook, selling ebook

Feature image from ARTSNSW

It’s almost Writers Festival season.  The Sydney Writers Festival Program just came out in the newspaper and it’s time to start planning interstate trips to see your much-loved authors of romantic comedy.  But

But you made such an effort last year… It seems like you only just paid off the debt of buying all those brand new books!

Writers festivals can sometimes be intense, expensive, overcrowded exclusive events.  Locations are hard to get to no matter how many shuttle buses are organised.  The crowds are exhausting to manage and standing in line can leave you bored.  The coffee is expensive and you always end up with nowhere to sit, wishing you were at home reading the Saturday Paper.

So why should you go?  Why should Emerging Writers keep going to Writers Festivals, year after year?  What is the point and what are the benefits?

Here are our top reasons to keep heading to Writers Festivals, even if you don’t feel 100% up for it this year. Continue reading

Literary Festivals for 2014

Writing Festivals, Emerging Writers Diary

Its Time to Start Planning 2014!

January is coming to a close and the Holidays Are Over…  Back to work everyone.

Below is just the tiniest morsel of what the Australian Literary Community has to offer.

For a more thorough index of the festivals, including poetry, screenwriting and genre festivals – Go to this great website –  Literary Festivals.


January is the relaxing month – where you have time to plan the next eleven months of the year.  There is nothing really happening, which is great because there is a lot coming up you need to organise.



Writers Festival, Perth Writers festival, Emerging writers DiaryNational Screenwriters Conference, Mornington Peninsula, VIC.

Perth Writers Week, Perth, WA. General lit.

Write in the Great Southern, regional WA. General lit.


Writers Festivals Australia, Emerging Writers Festivals.Australian Festival of Travel Writing, Melbourne, VIC. Travel writing.

 Adelaide Writers Week, SA. Gen. lit.

Tasmanian Writers Festival, Hobart, TAS ( Tassie Writers Centre). Gen lit.

Bellingen Writers Festival, Bellingen, NSW. Australian general lit.

Festival of Speculative Fiction, Sydney, NSW. Spec fic.


Writers festival Australia, Emerging Writers FestivalEye of the Storm, Alice Springs, NT. Gen. fic.

Newcastle Writers Festival, NSW. Gen. lit.


Sydney Writers FestivalEmerging Writers Festival, Melbourne, VIC. Gen. lit

Sydney Writers Festival, NSW. Gen. lit.


Emerging Writers Festival, Melbourne, Emerging Writers DiaryHenry Lawson Festival, Grenfell, NSW. Bush poetry, lit, music

Noosa Long Weekend, Noosa, QLD. Gen lit stream.

Gold Coast Writers Festival, Gold Coast, QLD. Mainstream, General literature expo, Publishing, writing,  indie and self-publishing.  


Writers Festival Australia, Emerging Writers Festival.Kimberley Writers Festival, Kununurra, WA. General lit.

New Voices Festival, Eltham, VIC. Gen. lit.

Rose Scott Women Writer’s Festival



byron bay writersByron Bay Writers Festival, Byron Bay, NSW. Gen. lit.

Melbourne Writers Festival, Melbourne, VIC. General lit.

Romance Writers of Australia conference, Fremantle, WA. Romance.

Sydney Jewish Writers’ Festival, Sydney, NSW. General lit.

Queensland Poetry Festival, Brisbane, QLD. Poetry.

WA Poetry Festival, Perth, WA. Poetry.



Indigenous literacy day, emerging Writers, Writers festivalCrimeScene, Perth, WA. Crime fiction.

Indigenous Literacy Day, national events. General lit, YA focus.

Big Sky Writers and Readers Festival, Geraldton, WA. General lit.

Brisbane Writers Festival, Brisbane, QLD. General lit.



Emerging writers, Gold Coast Writers festival, Meghan BrewsterFestival of Australian Children’s Literature, Canberra, ACT. Children’s and YA.

National Young Writers Festival, Newcastle, NSW. General lit.

Queensland Writers Week, statewide, QLD. Gen lit, open source events

Ubud Writers and Readers Festival, Bali



National Young Writers FestivalFestival of Australian Children’s Literature, Canberra, ACT. Children’s and YA.

Clare Writer’s Festival, South Australia, General Lit


No Festivals – Time to have a rest and get ready for the Holiday Season – Even writers need to take time off for Christmas and New Year.



These dates are brought to you by Literary Festivals  For more details including dates and times go to this site – It is great!!

Literary festival in Australia


Amazon’s most popular book of 2013

Have heard of it?

It might surprise you to learn that the most popular book of 2013 was a self help non-fiction.

I was shocked this afternoon to discover that I had never heard of the most popular Amazon book for 2013.  Strength Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath.

This book has been downloaded more times than any other book this year!

I found it when I started doing a little Christmas Shopping today. I usually look through all the top sellers lists, such as CD, Dvd’s and Books, to get a few ideas for the family.

Emerging writers diary, Strength Finder

Strength Finder 2.0 is a follow up to a very popular book that came out in 2001 – Loaded with hundreds of strategies for applying your strengths to building a great life, this book and accompanying website ‘will change the way you look at yourself–and the world around you–forever.’

I am pretty keen to read it now!

I wonder – If I missed the most popular book of 2013, what else have I over looked this year?  When I consider the volume of books, novels and Ebooks printed and released every year – I am over whelmed.  How will I ever read all that material?  What will I miss out on, because there is just not enough time?

Strength Finder 2.0 cover, Amazon bestseller 2013

Buy luminaries online


Criticism; And what to do with it

Receiving criticism, emerging writers diary, writingCriticism.  I always knew it was coming.  Every writer, every writing book and everyone tried to prepare me for it.  I have been writing full time for about a year now.  I have been posting content on this, and another site regularly for a long time.  Mostly I have received quite positive feedback, but nothing could prepare me for the wave of nausea and doubt that puled the floor from under me, when I posted an particular article a little while ago.

Over the last year I have learnt a great deal and have loved watching my skills progress – slowly but surely.  I am proud of how far I have come and I am excited for the future… But when I received messages like this one – I had to wonder ‘What the hell was I doing?’ 

Nothing can prepare you for the first time you put your work out there and you receive a barrage of negative, or should I say ‘constructive criticism’.  Logically you know how to handle it, but emotionally and physically, you can’t help reacting.

Receiving Criticism, emerging writers, The emerging writers diary

From Reddit

You might be thinking this comment is is not that bad.  Well, there was a lot more than this. This comment was the best of it.

What is the worst part in all of this, is that they are right!  I am wondering if I am just not good enough to be a writer.

So what do you do with Criticism?
  1. Receiving Critcism, emerging writers, the emerging writers diaryFirstly you need to make two columns on a blank piece of paper, for sorting out your criticism into two categories
  2. Title those two categories as follows – Bullshit Hater Nonsense – & – Helpful Tips Just Worded Badly

After the initial shock, or receiving criticism, start to sort through it.  Which catagory does it fall into?  It is just Bullshit Hater Nonsense?  Or is there a Helpful Tip in there that has just been worded very badly?  Either it is wrong – and you can fuck them off – or it is right and you have the chance to learn, change and improve.

Because of the messages I received about my grammar, I went straight to the shops and brought the little Green Grammar Book and started to read it.  Wow, I still have so much to learn about writing, but that’s ok.

Why Criticism is Great!

Having your writing criticised is the best thing that can happen to you.  It means you’re a writer.  Every writing student will go through this at one point or another.  It is a right of passage through to the other side – Professional writing.  

  1. You are brave enough to put your writing out there.
  2. You are working as a writer.
  3. People are engaged enough in reading your work to respond to it.
  4. You are engaged enough with your audience to hear any criticisms.
  5. You have the chance to learn something fantastic from it.
  6. You have the chance to reaffirm your writing style and your voice.
  7. You are more advanced than every other person claiming to be a writer that has never shared a single word.
  8. You might not know everything on earth – Who Cares!!

I have since gone back and read over all of the other criticisms I received.  I read them over and over again until they did not have any power anymore.  Some where helpful and I have learned from them.  Others I have already forgotten.

If you have got any great words of encouragement to emerging writers we would love to here from you.



IMG_0493Meghan Brewster is a Blogger, Freelance writer and general spinner of Fiction. She is the founder and editor of The Emerging Writers Diary, as well as Itp & Me, a website dedicated to managing the rare platelet disorder, ITP. To learn more about Meghan Brewster follow this link. By making purchases through links on this website you are helping to support a young emerging writer. Thank you.


The Booker Shortlist 2013

The Shortlist Has Been announced!

Finally, the Man Booker Prize shortlist has been announced.  I say finally, because I live in the future, 10 hours ahead of the Man Booker Prize judging panel.  I woke up early this morning eager to see which books made it to the shortlist, only to be reminded that I live in Australia – The most forward thinking and future living continent on earth.  The short list is as follows…


A tale for the time being, The Emerging writer, Writers diary

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A Tale for the Time Being

Ruth Ozeki


Ruth discovers a Hello Kitty lunchbox washed up on the shore of her beach home. Within it lies a diary that expresses the hopes and dreams of a young girl. She suspects it might have arrived on a drift of debris from the 2011 tsunami. With every turn of the page, she is sucked deeper into an enchanting mystery.
In a small cafe in Tokyo, 16-year-old Nao Yasutani is navigating the challenges thrown up by modern life. In the face of cyberbullying, the mysteries of a 104-year-old Buddhist nun and great-grandmother, and the joy and heartbreak of family, Nao is trying to find her own place – and voice – through a diary she hopes will find a reader and friend who finally understands her.
The Emerging writer, Emerging Writer blogs.

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Jim Crace


As late summer steals in and the final pearls of barley are gleaned, a village comes under threat. A trio of outsiders – two men and a dangerously magnetic woman – arrives on the woodland borders and puts up a make-shift camp. That same night, the local manor house is set on fire.
Over the course of seven days, Walter Thirsk sees his hamlet unmade: the harvest blackened by smoke and fear, the new arrivals cruelly punished, and his neighbours held captive on suspicion of witchcraft. But something even darker is at the heart of his story, and he will be the only man left to tell it . . .
The Emerging writers blog, emerging writers diary,

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The Lowland

Jhumpa Lahiri


From Subhash’s earliest memories, at every point, his brother was there. In the suburban streets of Calcutta where they wandered before dusk and in the hyacinth-strewn ponds where they played for hours on end, Udayan was always in his older brother’s sight.
As the two brothers grow older their lives, once so united, begin to diverge. It is 1967. Charismatic and impulsive, Udayan becomes increasingly drawn to the Communist movement sweeping West Bengal, the Naxalite cause. As revolution seizes the city’s student community and exams are boycotted in a shadow of Paris and Berkeley, their home is dominated by the absence of Udayan, out on the streets at demonstrations. Subhash wins a place on a PhD programme in the United States and moves to Rhode Island, never to live in India again – yet his life will be shaped from afar by his brother’s acts of passionate political idealism.
Emerging writers diary,

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The Luminaries

Eleanor Catton


It is 1866, and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields.  On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes.  A wealthy man has vanished, a whore has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk.  Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely patterned as the night sky.
Udayan will give everything for what he believes and in doing so will transform the futures of those dearest to him: his newly married, pregnant wife, his brother and their parents. The repercussions of his actions will link their fates irrevocably and tragically together, reverberating across continents and seeping through the generations that follow.
The Emerging Writer

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The Testament of Mary

Colm Toibin


In a voice that is both tender and filled with rage, The Testament of Mary tells the story of a cataclysmic event which led to an overpowering grief. For Mary, her son has been lost to the world, and now, living in exile and in fear, she tries to piece together the memories of the events that led to her son’s brutal death. To her he was a vulnerable figure, surrounded by men who could not be trusted, living in a time of turmoil and change. As her life and her suffering begin to acquire the resonance of myth, Mary struggles to break the silence surrounding what she knows to have happened. In her effort to tell the truth in all its gnarled complexity, she slowly emerges as a figure of immense moral stature as well as a woman from history rendered now as fully human.

Emerging writers blog, the writers diary, man booker prize, man booker longlist

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We Need New Names

Noviolet Bulawayo


Ten-year-old Darling has a choice: it’s down, or out…
We Need New Names tells the story of Darling and her friends Stina, Chipo, Godknows, Sbho and Bastard. They all used to have proper houses, with real rooms and furniture, but now they all live in a shanty called Paradise. They spend their days stealing guavas, playing games and wondering how to get the baby out of young Chipo’s stomach. They dream of escaping to other paradises – America, Dubai, Europe. But if they do escape, will these new lands bring everything they wish for?
The Man Booker Prize is a Literary Award given out every year to the ‘best’ full length original novel written in the English Language.  To be eligible the author must be a citizen of the Commonwealth of Nations, Ireland or Zimbabwe.  The ‘best’ book is then selected by a judging panel.  On the 10th of September the Shortlist will be announced before the winner will be awarded on the 15th of October.
How many of these fantastic books have you read?
Who do you think will will?

By making purchases through links on this website you are helping to support a young emerging writer. Thank you.