Monday 19 September 2016

10 reasons I'm glad I went to the National Writers' Forum

1. Chris Cleave's wonderful keynote address, Hate is the .zip file of emotions, available for you to read right here.

2. Kate Pullinger on what it means to put text on a screen.

3. The bravery of all those who submitted opening paragraphs (and themselves!) for Live Live Editing.

4. Many great conversations over tea, coffee, lunch, drinks and dinner: tips, advice, encouragement, support.

5. Behind-the-scenes work by the organisers to make sure everything ran seamlessly - or when there were problems, we couldn't tell.

6. The Great Debate with a contentious topic and four very sharp debaters, ably (and wittily) chaired by Te Radar

7. Sarah Laing and Toby Morris persuading people who "can't draw" to draw.

8. Chris Cleave's masterclass on writing psychology, everything from Johnny Cash to how earphones are the trick to successful eavesdropping, and why we should pretend we're here visiting Earth on a 24-hour visit from the planet Mercury.

9. Basically, every word that Chris Cleave said for the whole weekend.

10.  Top tips from Kate Pullinger, Chris Cleave, Stephen Daisley and Patricia Grace on what they wish they'd known about writing, back when they didn't know it.

Thanks yet again to those who had the vision to make this weekend happen. It was truly inspirational.

Sunday 18 September 2016

National Writers' Forum

Just back from an amazing weekend at the first ever National Writers' Forum. Huge thanks to Jackie Dennis, Claire Hill, Claire Mabey and all the organising team and sponsors, and to the NZSA for supporting writers in this very practical way, and thanks to all the writers - old friends and new - with whom I shared conversations over the past two days. 

If you read one thing about writing this year, make it this keynote address by visiting speaker Chris Cleave  - "Hate is the .zip file of emotions"which he has generously shared on his website. In fact it has something to say to everyone, not just writers, so read it and pass it on, and then go and buy (or at least borrow from the library) one of his books, so he can continue writing and saying these wise and wonderful things.

Chris Cleave