I’m not ashamed to admit it – I’m a groupie of writers festivals.

It’s countdown time to the Brisbane Writers Festival and I’m like a kid waiting for Christmas.

I’ve been to the BWF for the last 5 or 6 years running.

Maybe longer, I’ve lost count, but it’s now become a must-do event in my annual calendar.

The Brisbane Writers Festival

There’s something about a whole week-end of books and writers that non-writers just don’t get.

Wandering around the modern State Library in its scenic river surrounds, throbbing with crowds of readers, writers and aspiring writers.

I breathe in the fumes of a thousand books, inhale the joy and laughter and camaraderie.

It fills my lungs with enough hope and inspiration to carry me through the next 12 months.

It’s my sabbatical.

Three days of being able to talk writing and books and authors without boring the pants off whoever I’m talking to.  

I love the egalitarian nature of writers festivals.

You meet writers who’ve published 50 books and writers who’ve published one.

Or seven books like me.

High profile writers and those who are still waiting in the wings, publishers and agents, poets and short story writers.

Memorable Moments Of Writers Festivals

The most memorable moments have involved lots of laughter.

Wendy Harmer had us all helpless with laughter reading excerpts from her book, The Beginners Guide to Nagging.

At least the women were laughing, the few men in the audience just looked bemused.

As nagees, perhaps it was too close to the bone.

Also Nick Earls, with his account of an author talk in a Victorian country town when promoting his novel The Fix.

His only audience a group of very senior citizens who had no idea who he was.  

And Bettina Arndt, talking about the intimate revelations in her book The Sex Diaries – really a case of truth being stranger than fiction.

Literary Love In

This year, to celebrate its 50th year, the BWF is holding a Literary Love-In.

An all-night event with music, poetry readings, movies and panel discussions.  

Hey, we writers really know how to party!  

The last time I stayed awake all night was two years ago at the dawn Anzac Service at Gallipoli in Turkey.

I lasted until 5am, falling asleep just as the service was starting.  

I’m sure if I did another all nighter, the result would be the same.

I’d be nodding off into my coffee during all the Sunday sessions, probably snoring as well for added effect.

Stimulation levels would be close to zero, least of all my creative juices.

One of the many inspirational sayings I have taped on the wall in front of my desk says;

‘Motivation is like food for the brain. You cannot get enough in one sitting – it needs continual and regular top-ups.’  

The Brisbane Writers Festival provides a feast of motivation that keeps me sated for a long time afterwards.

Do you find it inspiring to attend writers festivals?

I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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