Thursday, October 02, 2008

Sydney Writers Festival

SWF is held every May at one of my favourite spots to be in Sydney - Walsh Bay, under the Harbour Bridge. The same area is home to Sydney Theatre Company, Bangara Dance Group and, I believe though I could be wrong on this one, Sydney Dance Company. Tucked away on the piers are several other theatre companies, dance groups, cafes and million-dollar homes and boats.

But back to the Writers Festival. I've been informed that SWF is the second largest writers festival in the world. Run over several days and always crowded, I'd believe it. This year I decided to take advantage of a very flexible job situation and volunteered for two days as a Runner. Basically, this involved helping out the event coordinator on the day and at the scene with anything that popped up. Barricade erection, queue control, water-girl, usher and ticket collector - I was foot sore and more than a little exhausted by the end of the day. But I had fun, learned a lot and was able to take advantage of my experience in the event industry.

The Writers Festival was an excellent event. I managed to see a few speakers. In particular, Kylie Kwong, who is a "celebrity" chief here in Sydney. Kylie has a couple of tv shows, the most recent being about her experiences travelling to China to discover her heritage. Great speaker, too! I was fascinated and I don't even like to cook!

Seminars, workshops, panels, films, theatre, radio shows - SWF is packed with the things to choose from. That's the hardest part of the whole thing, deciding what to do and making travel arrangements. I probably should mention at this point, that while Walsh Bay is the main venue, SWF is spread far and wide - Katoomba (linked with the fabulous Varuna Writers House), Parramatta in Sydney's west and several other city venues.

Drop in to their webhome and look for yourself. There are year around events and news.

If you're planning a trip to Sydney, come in May and take in the Writers Festival (and Walsh Bay). Volunteer if you can and meet some really dedicated people (volunteers, guests, staff and attendees). Did I mention how close it all is to the Sydney Harbour Bridge?