Strip tease, soulful ballads, revolutionary black poetry and e-books … Did the Emerging Writer’s Festival 2011 open with a bunch of stuffy writers talking overly-intellectual esoteric claptrap? Hardly.

The opening act was by a African women’s storytelling group ‘Still Waters’, presenting a powerful poetry act on black women’s revolution. A mix of rap and rhyme, love and hate, rebel and revolution, Maxine Clarke, Fadzai Jaravaza and Tinashe Pwiti added a ‘dayyammmnn’ lyricism to their storytelling performance; reminding the audience from the opening moments of the festival that this isn’t your average literary gathering.

Next up was a striptease. Vachel Spirason from Slow Clap Productions channeled Socrates to enact a perfect blend of intellect and raunchiness. Editor of EWF’s yearly book, The Reader, Aden Rolfe and Lou Sanz then took us on a choose-your-own emerging writer adventure. Not to then mention a spine-chillingly beautiful singing performance by Eliza Hull, followed by Alan Bissett, ourrr Scoyytish writerrrr reciting an excerpt from his latest book, Pack Men.


Still Waters performing at the ‘First Word’


Vachel Spirason from Slow Clap Productions doing the ‘Socrates’ act


Last but not the least, were words like diamonds from author Max Barry on the crisis befalling the publishing industry: e-books.  Rather than handwringing, he described the e-book age as “the most exciting time in the publishing industry”, emphasising how e-books make it easier to readers to look for ‘good books’.  Why carry a bunch of bad books around when youhave a choice of pre-viewing, and then making a decision? A brilliant point from a brilliant writer featured earlier in T-Squat with our excerpt from his forthcoming novel (set to become a film directed by Darren Aronofsky) Machine Man.

The Emerging Writer’s Festival 2011 is the only festival for emerging writers in the world and it’s not over (for at least another week)! So if you are in Melbourne check out the program and even if you’re not, join up to EWF Digital events at www.emergingwritersfestival.org.au.


Words & Images:           Ruhie Kumar


Tags: Aden Rolfe, African women's storytelling group, Alan Bissett, Eliza Hull, Emerging Writers' Festival, Fadzai Jaravaza, Federation Square, Lou Sanz, Machine Man, Max Barry, Maxine Clarke, Pack Men, Slow Clap Productions, Still Waters, Tinashe Pwiti

One Response to WORD DIAMONDS

  1. Is there any chance I can use the picture of Still Waters on my blog at slamup.blogspot.com? I’d give it full credit and also link to this site and article.

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