This week Nella gives us the long view of an event like the Tamar Valley Writers Festival, from early planning to a mere 10 sleeps away – don’t forget to check out the program link!
At Writers’ Festivals, attendees meet beloved authors, hear stimulating exchanges of ideas, learn new skills/information to support their own writing craft, and participate in the social opportunities to meet and engage with knowledgeable and passionate authors and readers.
For school students, meeting authors and illustrators at the Festival is an experience which will remain with them, providing them with an incentive for reading. When students learn directly from the creator, the “inside stories” and the ideas behind books, the struggles and joys of the writing and publication process, they are often encouraged to try writing themselves.
How does such a program come together? In the case of TVWF, a small committee of volunteers was meeting regularly. Discussions started in September 2016 and intense work commenced in April 2017.
Since then, we have been busy/frantic with grant submissions, sponsor proposals, marketing plans, developing costings (and unfortunately charging entry fees for adults’ sessions) and, most interestingly for me, selecting guests and who will be moderating and organising Masterclasses. Masterclass highlights for me are: Jodi McAlister’s The gifts of truth, the treasure of secrets: writing an engaging family history, Amie Kaufman’s Story Ignition, and one described as the Uber for publishing, Democratic Publishing.
Some publishers contacted TVWF offering newly-published authors or those who are in the early stages of their writing careers. A small team speed-read works from these new authors. We also compiled a list of authors of books we enjoyed reading and started the long, slow process of inviting authors, and choosing moderators we felt would promote the authors, and not hog the limelight for themselves.
Selecting guests for the children’s and young adult program offered additional challenges. With so few teacher-librarians in schools, we believe part of our function is to introduce students to new authors, to ensure representation of developing trends in children’s and young adult writing, and to ensure teachers would find our guest writers of sufficient calibre to make a trip to Grindelwald worthwhile for their students. A tall order for any Festival committee.
And how is it going? The program has been out for a while . The Amie Kaufman and Grade 8+ workshop sessions on the Friday are booked out; the middle and Grade 8 + Meet the author sessions have vacancies. By the time you read this blog, there will be about 10 sleeps till 2018 Tamar Valley Writers Festival. I’d love to see you there.
TVWF Program Committee, retired librarian – but definitely not a retired reader.