An evening of writerly conversation

Last night I hopped along to Melbourne’s The Wheeler Centre (‘Books, Writing, Ideas’) for the last in its series of free panels featuring writers in conversation. (The series had a name, but I’ve forgotten.) This particular session involved ‘the two Alisons’ — Alison Goodman and Alison Croggon — both of whom are Australian fantasy authors with a tendency to write for young adults (YA).

I have both read and hung out with Alison G (most recently at World Fantasy), adding to my incentive to attend. But mostly it was the opportunity to listen to writers discussing craft, ideas, process etc. It’s always interesting to hear how others approach novel-writing, how they deal with the pressures, highs and lows, and hopefully I come away feeling motivated and inspired.

It was lovely to sit back and listen — for once I had no pen (what sort of writer has no pen?) so I couldn’t take notes and, since my memory for such things is shocking, I have no gold dust to sprinkle and share. But I can relate that they discussed topics such as world building and research, pantsing v plotting, the lure of language (Alison G coming from a literary short story background and Alison C from poetry and theatre) and other such writerly topics.

I did enjoy my first visit to The Wheeler Centre, attached to the State Library, which I’ve heard much about. The Moat bar and cafe had opened in the basement the previous day, and this proved a good spot to while away half an hour or so while I waited for the session to start. I perched at the bar and sipped pinot noir amid a crowd of people, many of whom had the aura of writers. I felt rather at home. It’s a very nice inviting bar/cafe, with lots of tables and corners to set up your computer. . .

After the hour-long panel, I joined the two Alisons and some of the ClanDestine writers for dumplings, where we continued talking shop (and ate a helluva lot). It was fabulous to meet some more Melbourne specfic authors (they keep popping up everywhere). On the whole, it was an immensely enjoyable and chilled out evening.


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