So, from Friday 11 Oct through to Sunday 13 Oct, I was embedded in Genre Con Oz at SLQ … in the manner of an especially happy tick in the neck of a particularly juicy bullock.
Friday was the Genre Crossings Symposium Day, organised by the inimitable Dr Kim Wilkins, with some fascinating papers that ranged from Rapunzel in Australia (Hello, lovely Kate Forsyth), to depictions of masculinity in graphic novels, from the Americanization of Australian texts that sell overseas (Dr Kim) to the creative translation of Norse Mythology by Australian writers (that’s Dr Lisa Bennett), from ideas about tabletop gaming and the ephemeral nature of such storytelling to cross-dressing and bodice ripping in historical fiction. As someone who finished her PhD and promptly ran screaming from the room of academia, I can say this was a delight to attend, very energising and inspiring and thought-provoking. Huzzah!
After a full day of deep in the brain things, we went to the official opening of Genre Con Australia. Approximately 200-odd (in some cases very odd) writers at various stages of their careers gathered and ate the most amazing food ever viewed or indeed served at a convention, and drank a LOT of wine. QWC CEO Meg Vann ably opened the gig to many shouts and cheers. The point of Genre Con Oz is to bring genre writers together in a professional forum, so newbies can benefit from the experience of authors further along the path in their career. This year’s international special guests were the superb and profane Mr Chuck Wendig and the adorably Irish and very generous Mr John Connolly.
On Saturday morning, those without hangovers and/or karaoke throats went along to the workshops … and come to think of it, even those with hangovers and/or karaoke throats also went along to the 9am workshops! The rest of the day passed in a madness of fascinating and highly useful panels. And food, did I mention food? Best. Catering. Ever.
In the afternoon I was fortunate enough to interview John Connolly for the In Conversation session. John was a terrific guest, funny, knowledgeable and generous. And anyone who went to the bar instead: you missed out on all the secrets! 😛
Then we all toddled off to get ready for the Cutlasses and Kimonos Ball that evening. I much admit myself surprised by the number of writers who own either kimonos or dressing gowns that look like kimonos … but completely unsurprised by the number of writers who own cutlasses, eye patches and inflatable parrots.
Sunday saw us attend the Contracts and Copyright workshop by the erudite and amazing Alex Adsett. A very clear and concise and amusing session that stripped away much of the mystery around both subjects. I took 8 pages of notes.
After lunch I did a panel with the lovely Bronwyn Parry and Pam Cook, ably moderated by Helen-Louise Usher – all about Making Their Pulses Pound. Or how to inject suspense into your fiction. Fantastic panel, some great tips on writing craft, and really lovely writers to work with = huzzah!
And then, alas, that was it as we had to whisk Lisa away to the Port of Air for her flight back to Adelaide. So, we missed the Great Debate, but I am given to believe it was indeed great.
Other stuff that happened which was awesome: Lee McGowan met John Connolly, Scottish and Irish accents flowed, and the happiness on the faces of two people who didn’t have to repeat themselves was priceless.
All in all, a fantastic weekend, inspiring and helpful.
Kudos to AWM and QWC staff who worked tirelessly to make the con a HUGE success.
And an especially whisky-laden thanks to Peter M. Ball who was the éminence grise/ringmaster/puppet master/panicking monkey organiser of it all.