Perth Festival Writer’s Week wrap up

I’m finally coming down from the buzz that was this year’s Perth Festival Writers Week … back to reality, sitting in an office in my lunch break, trying to get this post finished before work calls.

It felt different this year for many reasons including a different programming style, a slightly shifted venue (the University Club at the University of Western Australia), but mostly because I attended not as a reader, not as an author, but as a Serenity Press publisher and a session chair.

I’m still trying to find the words to describe how I felt about having Kate Forsyth and Lorena Carrington invited to speak about their book Vasilisa the Wise and Other Tales of Brave Young Women (published by Serenity Press). Read the story of this book’s publishing journey here.

To hear appreciative sighs and see the nods of the crowd in the amphitheatre when Kate and Lorena spoke with Meri Fatin on Saturday, well, that was heart-warming and affirming. To witness the ever-growing line of people wanting to get copies of the book signed … those were moments of incredible joy.

The book sold out on the first day!

[bctt tweet=”That was a fist-pump, girlie squeal, hugs-all-round moment. And perhaps a bit of champagne at the end of the weekend … ” username=”MoniqueMulligan”]

On Sunday, Kate and Lorena joined a panel that also featured Richard Fidler, Josie Boyle and Kari Gislason; these five amazing people enthralled the crowd with stories from Iceland and Russia and Australia. I will always think of the little people when I see spider orchids, thanks to Josie.

Kate then joined Richard Fidler for an in-conversation in the packed Theatre Auditorium – this session was recorded and will be available on the Conversations with Richard Fidler show on ABC soon.

I felt like a proud mother as Lorena and Kate worked their magic … I don’t think I stopped smiling until I got into the car to drive home (that’s when I realised that my feet hurt).

We celebrated at Tiamo Café in Nedlands on Sunday night – both the birth of the book, and also, the sale of North American rights, for which we have The Rights Hive’s Natasha Solomun to thank. This is a huge deal. It’s the first time for Serenity Press! First of many, I hope.

In between all these joyful moments, I chaired three sessions during Writers Week – with Rachael Johns (The Greatest Gift), Tess Woods (Beautiful Messy Love) and Robert Dessaix (The Pleasures of Leisure).

I’m not a stranger to in-conversations, having done many via Stories on Stage, but to be part of something so much bigger, that was a terrific feeling. Was I nervous? Not with Rachael and Tess, no. With Robert, a little. But that was only until I met him. When we met in the Green Room, he put me at ease and we had a lovely chat before, and during our session.

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As someone who has always “filled in time” but has been learning to “just be”, I appreciated Robert’s thought-provoking book and conversation – he reminded me that life is not about doing as much as possible, but experiencing as much as possible, even if that experience is merely basking in the light of a fading day.  Thank you, Robert!

To all the festival staff, volunteers, publicists, authors and illustrators who made this event happen – thank you. I’m sure, like me, you’re exhausted, so I hope you make time to relax, savour the experience, and pat yourselves on your backs. And to everyone who said hello to me in the Green Room, even though you probably didn’t know who I was, I appreciated it.
To Will Yeoman: your work is brilliant. Thank you again for the opportunity to be a participant in the festival. It was an honour and a privilege and I hope there will be more opportunities in future.



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