A day spent with the author Patrick Gale

Today I attended a workshop entitled 'Venturing into Fiction' with author Patrick Gale, a Melbourne Writer's Festival event. Patrick is an affable, charming teacher and the day passed in a flurry of writing, reading, speaking and listening. There is something quite engaging about the workshop format, and I found the exercises stimulating and challenging.

I have attended only two writing workshops so far in my modest career, and I have to say that the forum agrees with me, even if I wasn't on form today. It is good to externalise what is often a solitary pursuit - writing is a lonely affair, usually - and I enjoyed meeting some fellow travellers.

Patrick is an interesting fellow and like many writers I have met, he was generous today when sharing his knowledge. He revealed many of his personal writing processes and elements of his method, and shared insights he has gained from years of productive work. Having seen behind the curtain, as it were, I look forward to reading his fiction. I have obtained a Kindle copy of A Perfectly Good Man and will be delving into it forthwith. Expect a report in due course!

My 2012 Melbourne Writers Festival

That time of year is nearly upon us, and once more a Melbourne Writer’s Festival programme of events is to be unleashed upon the adoring public. 

I am going to a handful of events this year, including a session on micro-fiction (I am really interested in this - fascinated by it, in fact. It’s so deliciously obsessive); a second session on the role of the journalist in information-saturated times (is this an exhausted topic, yet? Apparently not…) and, most importantly, a full day fiction workshop with author Patrick Gale. I have high hopes for this latter event. (Mind you, I haven’t read any of Patrick Gale’s fiction yet - probably should have a dip in at least, prior to the workshop. It seems only polite to do so.) 

I will undoubtedly attend some other events that I haven’t decided on as of yet. The programme is pretty rich with incidental sessions and short events.

On the more distant horizon of late September is another event, one of the IQ2 Debates - specifically: Is Western Civilisation in Terminal Decline? This should be a recipe for a night of harmless belly laughs and jolly japes at the Melbourne Town Hall. (I really hope Western Civilisation isn’t in a terminal decline - after all, I haven’t picked oranges in Spain yet, or crushed grapes with my feet in a monastery in Bordeaux. In fact, there’s a lot of the West that I like the idea of, and haven’t ‘done’ yet.)

What are your festival picks? Let me know via the social interwebs.