It’s festival season – Queensland Poetry and Brisbane Writers

Last night festival season for bookish and arty types kicked off here in Brisbane with the opening of the Queensland Poetry Festival.


The night began with the announcement of the winner of the 2014 Val Vallis Award, Chloe Wilson’s poem ‘Not Axe Nor Fox’. You can read the full transcript of ‘Not Axe Nor Fox’ at Cordite Poetry Review

Next the 2014 Thomas Shapcott Award went to Krissy Kneen for her manuscript ‘Eating My Grandmother’. You can actually read the acceptance speech Krissy intended to read on her blog – she didn’t read it, but most was said. I was there – it was moving.

Both ladies performed their award-winning pieces – raw, confronting, visceral, deep, intelligent and ultimately powerful.

Then we all eagerly took our seats in the Judith Wright Centre’s Theatre Space for the opening night gala, Needlepoints of Light.

The ever sunny Pascalle Burton (MC for the evening) greeted us with positivity and puffy sleeves (the latter sparking much debate at my table – everyone’s a fashion critic after champaz).

Sarah Holland-Batt opened the show with her classy, hard-hitting prose and then we were blown away by Poet in Residence Warsan Shire’s moving performance. If you have not seen Warsan perform live you are missing something truly special. The Bell Divers rounded out the first session, rocking the house with their foot tapping beats juxtaposed with their, at times, melancholy lyrics.

After a brief intermission, Cyril Wong charmed us with his candid conversation and self-deprecating humour and we ended the night enthralled by the haunting sounds of McKisko with ‘Berlin influences’ (table topic – the merits or otherwise of melodihorns).

This is the third year I’ve attended the Queensland Poetry Festival. Much fun was had by all and once again I left inspired. 

There is still time to get your tickets and catch a session – the festival runs until Sunday night, 31 August 2014 – check out the festival program for all the details.

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Next on my creative calendar – the Brisbane Writers Festival.

BWF cut downI am very much looking forward to the Brisbane Writers Festival which kicks off on Thursday 3rd September and runs all next weekend.

I am going to 4 ticketed events (with a crime and Australian author bent) and hoping to stay around for the Ned Kelly Awards Ceremony on Saturday evening where a murder of crime writers and crime lovers, including P.M Newton, Lenny Bartulin, Lauren Beukes, Matthew Condon, Julie Sarkozi and Tony Cavanaugh will debate the premise: WHEN IT COMES TO CRIME – TV DOES IT BETTER. The debate will be chaired by Michael Robotham and no ticket required.

Check out the full Brisbane Writers Festival Program and book your tickets now to avoid disappointment.