The Brisbane Writers Festival drew to a close yesterday after a jam-packed 4 days of lectures, seminars and workshops.

Grabbing headlines across the country, Abdel Bari Atwan, author of ‘The Secret History of al-Qa’ida’ finally got his visa approved late last week and made it just in time on Saturday to take part in a discussion on ‘Religion, Society and the individual’, and was later given the dubious honour of being interviewed by The Chasers’ (equally controversial) Julian Morrow and Dominic Wright. Lincoln Hall had listeners gripped by his amazing story of surviving Everest and coming back from the dead and Armistead Maupin, David Malouf, Paul Durkan, Victoria Glendinning and James Freud were just some of the other names who created a stir!

Thursday and Friday saw the schools programs dominate in the marquees. Canadian Baba Brinkman taught kids Chaucer, rap style; Shaun Tan shared his vast expertise on the graphic novel and Simon Higgins launched latest book ‘Tomodachi: the Edge of the World’ with an awesome display of Japanese swordsmanship by members of the Australian Seishinkan laido team.

On Sunday morning The Australian Writer’s Marketplace chaired a seminar entitled ‘How to Get Published’. Publishers Annette Barlow (Allen & Unwin) and Bernadette Foley (Hachette Livre) and literary agent Sophie Hamley (Cameron Creswell Agency) answered a barrage of questions from an enthusiastic audience of would-be authors. Key advice? Be patient, concentrate above all on the quality of your writing, follow submission guidelines to the letter – and don’t expect to be able to make a living from writing! As Annette Barlow concluded ‘Revise, revise, revise – and then research, research, research’!

** We’re sorry – we had a few technical issues on site and weren’t able to keep blogging over the course of the festival **

The Australian Writer’s Marketplace is Australia and New Zealand’s only guide to the writing industry. While providing submission and contact details for the print media and publishing industry.

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