EWF14 Freebie Highlights: ‘Festival Icebreakers’, ‘Highbrow Versus Lowbrow’ and ‘No Lights, No Literature’

The Emerging Writers’ Festival truly looks after emerging writers (including income-deficient writers such as this humble blogger), to ensure everyone has the opportunity to participate. On Wednesday night I headed to Thousand Pound Bend to check out a few free events.

Mary got everyone mingling at the ‘Festival Icebreaker’.

Festival Icebreaker With Our Mates Mary

First up was the launch of  issue 5 of Mary. Guests were given part of an idiom or opening sentence of a novel when they entered the venue and were tasked with finding their other half. I raced about the room, meeting fellow festival attendees while calling out for “and the clocks were striking thirteen”. I didn’t have any luck locating my other half, but was thoroughly entertained as Hannah Cartmel, Managing Editor and co-founder of The Rag and Bone Man Press ran around asking for “two in the bush”, while I tried (and failed) to keep a straight face as another festival attendee politely asked, “excuse me, are you the fire of my loins?” In between all the running around, talented Issue 5 contributors read their pieces to the crowd. The Mary launch operated in the true spirit of the festival, encouraging emerging artists to mingle (which was no mean feat for this painfully shy blogger) while also giving emerging artists a platform to showcase their talents as writers and public performers.

KYD goody bag!

KYD goody bag!

Kill Your Darlings: Highbrow Versus Lowbrow

The crowd was well and truly revved up by the end of Mary launch, and the fun kept coming with the cultural debate, ‘Highbrow Versus Lowbrow’. I can forgive the Kill Your Darlings crew (just!) for getting ‘Call Me Maybe’ stuck in my head for the entirety of the following day, as the hilarious tongue-in-cheek debate included such gems as “without pop music none of us would be capable of finding somebody to love”. I picked up a copy of their current issue, which came with bonus back issues. Unfortunately, I couldn’t hang around for the full event, but the debate team have since posted their arguments on the KYD blog.

Photography and tweeting weren't allowed at this event, which, as it turns out, wasn't as dark as my pre-event handbag shot predicted!

Photography and tweeting weren’t allowed at ‘No Lights, No Literature’, which, as it turns out, wasn’t as dark as my pre-event handbag shot predicted!

No Lights, No Literature

I was super excited about attending ‘No Lights, No Literature’, as I was eager to see how my appreciation of a performance would differ with sensory deprivation heightening my imagination and hearing. I must admit, I expected the audience would be completely in the dark, along with the panellists, but this was not the case. I’m going to take a stab in the dark (AH, PUN!) and assume complete darkness was not possible due to OH&S reasons. Instead, the audience sat in a dimly lit room, facing a big black curtain that shielded the anonymous panellists from view, and listened as the panellists mused about the Australian literary landscape (in keeping with the intimacy of the event, I won’t reveal any specifics of the topics discussed). It would have been hard being a panellist, as the audience were honed in on their voices, so any silent contemplation (and I’m talking 2-5 seconds, if that!) was deafening. However, it also meant that any passionately conveyed discussions were significantly more profound. I imagine the session would have been challenging for the panellists, given they could not gauge audience reaction (also, the panellists couldn’t see one another, so that would have been a challenge in itself). I really hope another version of this event is held at the 2015 festival, with public performances of creative works, as it would be really cool to see how appreciation of performance art, particularly experimental works, could be enhanced by sensory deprivation.

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