The Sydney Writers Festival 2013

May 22, 2013

Hi Guys ☺
A bit of a long bookish post today, but hopefully one you will find interesting. Today I was fortunate enough to attend the Secondary School Day at The Sydney Writers Festival with my School Writing Group. This was so much fun and while we learnt so many great tips from authors, it was done in a really fun and interactive way. I met 5 authors one of them to my surprise including best-selling author, Libba Bray.

After shuffling in late our first Q&A was with dystopian author, Ambelin Kwaymullina. Her most recent novel being The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf. Ambelin shared with us her love of Sci-Fi (particularly Doctor Who) and the mischief that took place when she would babysit her younger brothers. She also told us that when Ashala Wolf was first published her moment was not when it arrived in person but when it inspired a young outcast girl to write. Ambelin said "I kept waiting, but I realize it was because I couldn't hear it speaking with my readers". It was a very relaxed Q&A were she gave a lot of funny tales from her child-hood and some awesome tips.

Ambelin's Tips:

  • Your readers will connect with you if you write real things. You need to be real and authentic.
  • Learning the difference between amateur writers and professionals is important. A professional doesn't stop and continues on.
  • A tips for Writers Block is to find out why you are not motivated. To go through your story and say "Where have I gone wrong?"
Second was canadian born stand up comedian, Danny Katz. Also known as Cool Cats, he's most recent book aimed at teens is called SCUM. SCUM translating to: Students Combine Underground Movement about a group of outcasts who decided to group together at lunch times and be the next revolution. Danny Katz was certainly funny, he was very entertaining and he probably corrupted the younger audience when he talked about "Jizz Bombs". Gross I know but they were part of the muck up day (actually made out of flour and water, not...) in his stories and once he shared that, the questions were overflowing. "How do you make one?", "What is it?", so he was relieved when I asked him what his tips were for "Aspiring Writers". He replied saying that the worst thing to do is over think, and the best it to do a vomit draft. In my autograph it said that my question was the best of the day.

After a lunch break we came in to some ukulele playing by author James Roy. Some of his titles include Miss Understood, Town (a collection of short country stories) and it's sequel City. James Tips: Sometimes an idea just lands on our lap. There doesn't always have to be a twist in a story. To remember that there are always small elements of people we know in our characters.
Much to my utter utter delight, author of "The Diviners", Libba Bray was there. Let me say that is no wonder she knows John Green and Cassie Clare (my two favourite authors), because she too is made out of pure awesomeness. She really knows how to put on a event that is fun, I laughed so hard. She really did include the audience and created short stories with us. She was really approachable and fun. I filmed some videos but I can't seem to upload them. I bought the "Diviners" today which she signed "For Sunny you are the cat's meow".
Some fun Libba facts and tips:
  • If your stuck you can always add a serial killer (laughs)
  • Book 2 of The Diviners is coming out this time next year.
  • Always ask yourself "What If?".
  • Research your story "Has that been done before" but leave room for discovery.
  • Her favourite show is Monty Python - Flying Circus and her favourite Diviners character is Sam.
  • Try and understand the past because it influences the future.
I almost met Wendy Harmer whose children book series "Pearlie The Park Fairy" inspired me to read.

post signature


  1. Haha, Danny Katz sounds really funny! So jealous you got to meet Libba Bray - The Diviners is awesome! Great post ;)

  2. Fantastic post! Really interesting and sounds very fun! Ah, Libba Bray! I need to read all of her books :)

  3. Wow, you seemed like you had such a great time, Sunny! Thanks for sharing with us the wonderful tips, it was almost like I was attending the Writers Festival myself!

    -Grace :)

  4. You got to meet Libby Bray?! I am so jealous!

  5. You met Libba Bray! Awesome! I've never met an author in my whole life, you're so lucky! :D Thanks for sharing and I bet the tips are useful for other aspiring writers :P

  6. OMG Sunny you look so cute xD And those tips you got are amazing ♥

  7. your so luck! I've never met a writer before or been to a writers festival!
    I changed my blog URL to:

  8. This day out looks so AWESOME! I'm glad you had fun and met all these authors! We never get an opportunity like that! *sad face*

    I really want to read The Diviners! It sounds so, so, SO good! So I'm super jealous you got to meet the author!

    Great pictures - thanks for sharing your day and all these inspiring author tips! :D

  9. This sounds like an awesome festival! Thanks for sharing! And for adding the IG Tour Button to your blog. It all stats tomorrow - whoop!

  10. You're so lucky Sunny! Danny Katz and Wendy Harmer sound so cool! Great post, I've not read The Diviners, but I shall look into it. :)

  11. Sounds like it was so much fun! I have read Libba Bray's older trilogy (name escapes me) but I have yet to read The Diviners!

  12. You are so damn lucky! So lucky! Jealous! :)

  13. Wow awesome!!!!


    I love you Matt Smith!
    And John Hurt can just leave.


Thank for stopping by my small corner of the web, I hope you enjoyed your time here. Feel free to leave a comment, I love reading them. Sending you a thousand lovely days x

© A Sunny Spot. Design by FCD. Header using graphics from Freepik.