Looking forward to beautiful Byron Bay Writers Festival in August: Full program just released here , including Susan Johnson, Charlotte Wood and many other awesome authors. I’ll be discussing A Common Loss and writing about friendship and family on Saturday, and talking about the Stella Prize at a special Stella panel on Sunday.
I wrote a post for the Wheeler Centre blog, following up on one I wrote this time last year about International Women’s Day and gender balance in the literary pages – read the post here. Also took part in great conversations at Shearer’s Bookshop – blogged by Jane Gleeson-White here, and tweeted like mad by @GenresAttack – Customs House Library, and Katoomba – discussed here by panelist Tara Moss. These were all genuinely inspiring gatherings – thanks to all who attended, spoke, and supported the events. There will be more updates, photos and links up on the Stella Prize website soon.
I’ll be celebrating International Women’s Day, March 8, with a round of events discussing gender and writing. The Stella Prize, a new annual prize for Australian women’s writing, is organizing a series of events around the country for IWD, addressing the question of whether men write differently than women.
The author V.S.Naipaul provided his own answer to this question last year when he said that he felt that women writers were “quite different”. He said: “I read a piece of writing and within a paragraph or two I know whether it is by a woman or not. I think [it is] unequal to me.”
So that’s one answer. We will hopefully be examining some more complex responses to this question, and others that flow from it. Do we judge writing by women differently than writing by men? Why do these questions matter right now for readers and writers, reviewers and judges?
On March 7, I’ll be chairing a discussion at Shearer’s Bookshop in Leichhardt at 7:30 pm with literary agent Sophie Hamley; author Lenny Bartulin; author, blogger & editor Jane-Gleeson-White; and novelist & awesome feminist critic Emily Maguire. There will be refreshments, ie wine, and generous discounts on books on the night. Find the event on Facebook here.
And then up to Katoomba and the devastatingly elegant Carrington Hotel Ballroom, where I’ll be chairing another discussion, this time with the crime novelist Tara Moss, author Claire Corbett, and Elizabeth Lhuede, founder of the Australian Women Writers website and Reading Challenge. That’s at 6pm, and there will be books for sale and authors sticking around to sign them. We’re on Facebook here.
Details for all these events and more taking place in other cities around Australia can be found here at the Stella site. Please join us and be part of the conversation.