Last weekend, I attended the Latrobe City Literary Festival. It was a wonderful day and exhausting, not the least because I helped to organise it.
Following the Regional Ambassadors meeting at Writers Vic late last year, a fellow Gippsland writer and I decided to form a group to connect writers across our vast region and to be the point of contact for WV. We met, talked about organising an event to drive awareness and membership of our group and then set about looking into venues etc. Unfortunately, my colleague became too unwell to be involved, but as I work for the local council and have access to the wonderful library team, I was able to continue with the festival.
Leveraging from the Creative Gippsland arts program which runs through May, we set the date for our event for 29 May, to be held at Traralgon library. I set up the group, applied for a grant through WV and managed to book Sofie Laguna to deliver a workshop for the morning session. The afternoon session consisted of three authors ‘in conversation’, reading from their works and taking questions from the floor. Sandi Wallace (crime), Cath Crowley (YA) and Honey Brown (thriller) then spoke to the question: Does Genre Matter? during a panel discussion session.
Writers Victoria were so supportive, offering advice and attending the event to promote membership. There was a member meet-up at a cafe the afternoon before which meant I could plug the Gippsland Writers Group. And attendance at the festival broke all expectations. The workshop was booked out with 24 participants and there were more than 50 people for the afternoon sessions. It was a huge success and we will do another one next year.
I now have a mailing list of around 15 writers who would like to receive further information about the Gippsland Writers Group. I can start to visit those other established writing groups in Gippsland to talk about what they want from WV, how we can connect, either physically or virtually, and go from there.
There were many take homes from organising this events, from learning about programming, picking the right venue etc but the biggest single take home was that the writing scene in this great region of ours is thriving.
For more information on the Gippsland Writers Group email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow @GippsWritersGrp on twitter.