Yesterday I attended a few sessions at the Williamstown Literary Festival, including a Crime Writing Panel, which featured some of Australia’s most popular and emerging writers in the crime genre.
My favourite moments:
Angela Savage, on the editing process, (her first novel went through 11 drafts),”It’s a bit like dentistry – once it’s over and done with you look and feel better!”
Angela Savage, “It’s the curse of the first time novelist”, in reference to a tendency towards ‘blatantly autobiographical writing’.
Garry Disher, on how he goes about finding out about police procedure for his novels, “I make it up!”
Garry Disher, on his decision to become a full-time writer 15 years ago, “My income plummeted immediately, but I was happy at last.”
Garry must be doing OK now, he has had over 40 titles published. Both Angela and Adrian are promoting their first novels.
Garry spoke about the difficulty of Australian writers being recognised in their own country. He has won two prestigious international crime fiction awards but never a major Australian award. He mentioned his anger recently when a major book selling chain published a list of the best 25 crime fiction titles, and none of these were by Australian writers despite the obvious talent that exists locally.
This is a fairly depressing thought, though personally, I feel that writers in this boat can do a little more in the way of self-promotion. For example, at yesterday’s session there were no information sheets to take away with details of the panelists and their works, and no web addresses given out for the audience to find out more information.
(One audience member did volunteer that crimedownunder was an excellent source of information on Australian crime fiction).
In all, I found the panel entertaining and informative, and credit should be given to Carmel Shute for her intelligent questioning of the guests.
By the way, I purchased a book by each of the novelists. Hopefully I will review them here in due course.