Big Sky Festival – fun times with lemon pie

Yes I know that is an odd title, but I chose it because, A. I just love talking about pie – and eating it which I did at the festival. B. ….nope that’s it. So over the weekend just gone, September 9  – 11, I was at the fabulous Big Sky Readers and Writers Festival in Geraldton. Where I live. Which makes it all the more lovely because I don’t have to travel, I can sleep in my own bed and all these fabulous people come to my town who I can talk to and hang out with. This year was a stellar line up with Ita Buttrose headlining as keynote speaker. I have never met Ita before but like most Aussies feel like I know her because she is so high profile. My first meeting with her though was perhaps not as auspicious as I might have liked. 

On the Friday night the library held a lovely opening ceremony to introduce all the writers and launch Peter Dockers new book, The Waterboys. So I arrived a little late (only a few minutes, really I’m sure no one noticed!) and there was a mingling crowd of people hovering around the stage while the MC Will Yeoman said hello and talked about the festival then asked all the writers to come forward and say a few things about themselves. As I was at the back, I had to work my way through the crowd to the front ( followed by a certain author lad I’d been whispering to named Craig Silvey in his ever present thongs (that’s footwear for the non-Aussies – not the under wear which would have been odd). So anyway here’s me sidling and excusing my way to the front and right near the front is a slim blonde lady blocking my way. I tap her on the shoulder – well it was more like a push really (hand to forehead), she turns around and I freeze, stare and stammer, ‘Oh, it’s you, hello!” as if I know her. As if we’re old pals and it’s okay for me to be shoving her around. Yes, you guessed it, it was Ita. Gulp. Ita however was unphased. Hello, she said. So I make dumb gestures at the stage and she, says, ‘We have to go up, how about you go first and I”ll go after you.’.  ‘Yes! Great idea!’ I say, breathing a sigh of relief. I mean, who wants to go, unprepared up to a mike to introduce themselves after Ita? Not this little writer.So I waited, waited, and – after almost rushing Juliet Marillier to the mike, finally got up on stage and said something I now can’t remember. It was the lights, they’re so bright up there!

So how about the rest of the festival? I was doing only one panel on the Sunday and a reading, so Saturday was a relaxing day for me to chat to the other authors and go to their panels. Which I did. Though I must admit there was a lot more chatting than panelling. There’s something about the green room – which for this festival was called the pink room on account of that being the theme colour – which is where writers can go to relax, drink coffee and eat cake and chat about things author related. Most of which I cannot reveal here because it’s all secret author business. Kind of like fight club for authors. Without the fighting – unless you count over cakes which we didn’t need to because there was plenty of food. 

What I can reveal though is : Sally Dingo ate all the mini quiches, Peter Docker is always ‘putting another nail in his coffin’, (yes you will have to figure that out), Juliet Marillier bought a lot of books, Piers Ackerman is adept at tossing hand grenades, Craig Silvey was once not allowed in business class because of those thongs, Shamini Flint is funny enough to do stand up, Kirsten Tranter is more than just an author she’s a campaigner for equality. And those are just some of the things I can talk about.

As for Sunday – my panel with Juliet Marillier on the inspiration for our worlds went very well. Lots of great questions. I had a lovley long chat with illustrator James Foley about being in New York in a blizzard, and a fantastic long lunch at which I read a bit from the upcoming Equinox, which comes out in November. 

And what about the pie? you ask. Well it was gooey and runny and lemony. Two kinds. Best kinds. 

Now, next stop in my life is a book to write and a blog tour to organise for Equinox. And maybe some gardening. Ciao for now.

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