Monday, June 04, 2007

Buy my book - tales from the Writers Festival

You know, this book writing business is not all beer and skittles, my friends.

As I might have I mentioned in a previous post, I was thrilled to be invited to appear at the Sydney Writers Festival this past weekend, to speak about Child of the Revolution: Growing up in Castro's Cuba.

Not just me, of course. There were a few dozen other authors there from across the world ... and I mean real authors with several best-selling books to their names, full-time publicists and farmhouses in Tuscany.

Now in its 10th year, the Sydney Writers Festival has quickly become the premier literary event in Australia (sorry, Melbourne), attracting thousands of attendees, who patiently queue for tickets and then cram into the fantastically renovated old piers on Sydney Harbour that serve as the festival's home.

As an author, you soon discover that appearing at writers' festivals is part and parcel of getting your book published.
You are expected to turn up, talk about your latest tome and then hang around for an hour or so afterwards talking to complete but amazingly generous strangers about writing.

And hopefully, selling a few copies of the book along the way.

It sounds like a lot of work but in reality, it can also be great fun.

Apart from meeting readers, the most fascinating part is talking to other authors and sharing your own how-did-we-get-here stories.

For instance, one of the sessions I took part in was an "in conversation" panel under the title, Childhood Memoirs.

My fellow author was someone I had not met before, although I had heard about her work: Alice Pung, an Australian-born lawyer whose parents escaped Cambodia soon after the arrival of the murderous Pol Pot in the late 1970s.

Alice's book, titled Unpolished Gem, retells her family's story as newly-arrived refugees in Melbourne and the pains and delights of growing up torn between two radically different cultures.
It's a terrific read, as you can see from this review in The Age newspaper.

And the author was warm, clever and very funny, too.


Anonymous Alice Pung said...

Hi Luis

Thanks for your kind comments about my book. Our session at the Sydney Writer's Festival was one of my main highlights of the festival. I wish you all the best with Child of the Revolution - I read the whole book in one sitting before we met because it was so good!

1:22 pm  

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