Courtney Collins said at the Scone Writers Festival that for writers and those alike, what you write must be worth the tree that is cut down and used to print your words. Just thinking about that now, about that space that we place our words in to, and how we nurture that space as non-writers and writers, it makes me feel like there is so much support and so much love of the written word, which keeps it and us alive.
I stated in an article in the Scone Advocate that it is this literary discussion at writer’s festivals that keeps me so engaged. I like being involved in the talk that underlies our everyday lives, in what makes us make decisions based on what we know, what we want to know and why we seek truth in the world. The thing is, literary discussion is about the real world. That’s what makes literature so important.
Special guests such as Terry Smyth, Tom Thompson, Hugh Mackay and Phillip Adams, and many more, who are prolific Australian writers, traveled all the way to the tiny, many-horse-town, that is Scone, to celebrate this literary discussion.
I was lucky enough to be on a panel with facilitator Leonie Rodgers, and authors Cate Kennedy and Jo Riccioni, in talking about the difference between short and long fiction. Our panel was titled ‘Keep It Short’ and oh we tried to! In the hour, we discussed how short fiction should be able to immerse the reader just as sufficiently as a novel or novella. We concluded that short fiction allows the reader to do some work themselves; by tossing the short story or microfiction piece around in their mind for a little while, the reader allows it to simmer like slow boiling water, until their philosophical soul explodes, bringing on a new perspective or a new learning about someone or about something; it could be about something that the reader once thought was quite mundane but now has enlightened meaning added to it!
Having an enthusiastic community of readers and writers meant that Scone was – excuse the pun – jam packed full! It was the tastiest little literary treat that many are craving again for next year. For many who traveled from the bustling NSW capital Sydney, the weekend posed as a unique and intimate date with literature, in a scenic country landscape fuelled with wine and canapés at the Saturday afternoon Soiree.
For many local attendees, the Scone Writers Festival meant a time and place to make connections with people, places and events, that linked together ever so poetically. My highlight was hearing about a book club – the first book club that I have known to have its own published constitution – which has been running for over fifty years! In the Sunday afternoon Lazy Book Club we learned of the book club’s success and were also invited to join an online community of Goodreads readers in the Scone Writers Festival Lazy Sunday Book Club, to enhance the concept of not just making connections, but also keeping them.
It will be nice to see not how the festival expands, but how it develops and continues to make connections, in the upcoming years. I personally look forward to keeping it full of literary substance, fulfilling and tasty, like that afternoon treat you just can’t put down.