The perfect combination of glorious sunshine and a cool breeze greeted the author.docx troupe as we descended into the magnificent Writer’s Week Festival on Saturday afternoon. We quickly found our seats among the hundreds who had gathered to hear the wisdom of Martin Edmond and Eric Jensen. And what a banquet of wisdom!
Martin regaled us with a reading from his stunning biographical account of Rex Battarbee and Albert Namatjira, two remarkable artists whose contributions to the central Australian desert art scene remain unparalleled.
Eric Jensen then invited us into the world of the complex Adam Cullen, winner of the Archibald Prize in 2002, whom he lived with for three tumultuous years preceding Adam’s death three years ago.
Although the two authors were from vastly different backgrounds, they were both able to communicate the delicate balance of communicating to readers the life of the artist with a sensitivity and passion that was deeply inspiring and touching.
After the discussion ended, we returned to our exploration of the parklands, and found ourselves at the entrance of what we initially thought was a utopian alternate dimension, but was, in fact, an enormous tent housing some of the best and brightest literary contributions from recent years. With a selection of poetry, creative non-fiction, children’s books, and a plethora of fictional works, we gorged ourselves on the offerings, and emerged from the tent blinking, giddy, and feeling a somewhat guilty pleasure that we had been permitted to indulge in such a delightful feast!
Wandering among what seemed to be a makeshift commune of writers, poets, artists, and curious public, we agreed that it is a golden era of writing we are living in. To be welcomed as part of such a thriving and fertile community was a humbling, yet incredibly encouraging, experience.
For those of you who have not yet explored what Writers’ Week has to offer, I would strongly urge you to waste no more time questioning the value of such an indulgence, but allow yourself to eat the proof of the proverbial pudding.
This weekend reminded me, as Erik Jensen so gracefully put it, that we must “refuse to recoil” from the demanding and beautiful world of writing.