Writers festivals, that is. Our festival roundup today includes a peek at the Voices on the Coast youth literary festival line-up, as well as a brief interview with the wonderful Australian author Linda Jaivin about the Byron Bay Writers Festival.

Picture of Australian writer Linda Jaivin

Byron Bay Writers Festival runs from 7-9 August 2009 (Workshops from 3 August). BBWF guest Linda Jaivin’s first novel, the comic-erotic Eat Me became an international bestseller, published in a dozen countries and almost as many languages. Now an internationally published novelist, essayist, cultural commentator, playwright, specialist writer on China and translator (from Chinese), Linda shares with us her thoughts on BBWF past and present.

Sp: Have you attended/appeared at BBWF before – if so, what is your favourite BBWF moment?

LJ: Probably the conversation I did with Di Morrissey in which she told a hilarious story involving her lawn, a cage, a nightgown, and a delivery boy. Also, the rather evocative signing by the interpreter for the deaf during a rather racy conversation about erotic literature; we kept upping the ante just to see how what we were talking about would be translated.

Sp: What is it you most value or look forward to about BBWF 09?

LJ: The chance to see old friends and make new ones, and to watch the sun come up over the ocean. Cages, nightgowns, delivery boys.

Sp: What are your Top Tips for making the most of Byron Bay (or any) Writers Festival?

LJ: Go to hear at least one author about whom you know nothing. Find some time to sit down with a good book. Eat, drink, be merry.

Sp: Can you please select a topic from your BBWF session/s, and briefly share your thoughts on it?

LJ: I’d like to talk about the insights that the writing of my new book, A Most Immoral Woman, gave me into the possibilities and limitations of historical fiction, women’s sexuality at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, and the portrayal of China in fiction. 

[You can hear Ramona Koval of The Book Show interview Linda about A Most Immoral Woman here.]

Sp: Please tell us about your current book/project.

LJ: I’ve started a new novel which, like A Most Immoral Woman, is largely set in the waning years of Qing Dynasty China. I’m also writing the libretto for an opera based on a Ming Dynasty story which, if all goes to plan, will premiere in Beijing with a leading Peking Opera company next year.

Sp: Thank you for sharing these BBWF insights with us, Linda. I have the good fortune to be chairing a BBWF session featuring Linda on Sunday 9 August – it will be a fantastic opportunity to explore the issues she mentions here. Joining Linda will be Keven Rabalais, Louis Nowra, and Judith Lanagan, so it will be a fun and fascinating session!


Voies on the Coast logo - youth literary festival

Voices on the Coast (Buderim, Qld) presents an interesting line-up of wonderful YA authors, including Morris Gleitzman, Shaun Tan, James Moloney, Maureen McCarthy and Hilary Badger (associate to the author H.I. Larry of Zac Power fame).

The dates for the festival are Wednesday 15 July – Secondary School Day and Thursday 16 July – Primary School Day, Week One of Term Three. Talks will be priced at $6.50 and workshops will be $12.50 per person.

View the winners of the Voices on the Coast writing competition here.


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