Friday, February 13, 2009

It's Time for a Festival

In December last year I accepted the position of Co-Director for the National Young Writers’ Festival, taking over from Nic Low and joining Queenslanders Amy Ingram and Daniel Evans.

It has been 6 years since I worked on a festival in any capacity greater than being a project assistant, so signing up to run a festival again has me wondering why I keep making events; something in me is compelled that’s for sure.

Every few years when I have the emotional and creative strength I just need to take on a new scale, but why the National Young Writers’ Festival? I get confused and embarrassed when people start discussing the nitty gritty of Australian novelists, playwrights, or poets, I only know about Australian comics. However I believe I know Australian comics very well and zines also to a slightly lesser extent, and it is because of this that I love the National Young Writers’ Festival, it is the premiere festival for Australian Comics.

I also have affection for Newcastle, despite the sub-tropical plants and balmy pacific ocean it feels like a Tasmanian town: physically beautiful with its beaches, dramatic headlands and hills, clock towers, churches, and old jail; yet it is awkward, self conscious, and angry.

I’m looking forward to getting to know Newcastle, and I’m looking forward to crafting a kickass program with Amy and Dan with additional guidance from The Lifted Brow founder and editor, Ronnie Scott.

Already from our first meeting as the new team good ideas are on the boil, ideas that will respond to what is happening culturally, socially, and economically in Australia, ideas that won’t be shy to question and debate, and ideas that will ask what the festival needs as it hits it’s tween years.

Wish me luck.


Chay-Ya said...

wow harray! that sounds really awesome sarah! im really happy to hear that you are in there with the team, and authentically questioning your roles and impulses and urges and going for it... am excited to see what will happen in the festival with some of that energy and your input... keep me posted!!

Sarah Howell said...

Thanks Chay-Ya, I will definitely keep you posted. We have expressions of interest out now if you think you will be back in Australia by October.