Thursday, September 28, 2006
I'm heading up to Newcastle tomorrow, to speak as one of the panelists at the National Young Writers Festival. When I first looked through the program I was excited. I even made a list of events that I'd like to attend. Later, as I read the blurbs more carefully – and experienced the frustration of trying to access the event's two websites without much luck - my excitement waned. Why does everything in Australia have to be so imitative and unimaginative? I've lost interest in my own panel as well. The Griffith Review is a really intelligent journal, and I am proud I was included in its current issue, The Next Big Thing, but I don't understand why the launch of the issue is marked by a discussion on branding. Worse, it's titled The Brand Called You – way too early Nineties, and so not youthful (the theme of the issue). A good brand has one clear message, and is necessarily attached to a product or corporate identity: why on earth would a creative individual want to limit themselves in such a profound way? The idea repels me. And my panel is just one of a number of crassly titled workshops on marketing – at a young writers festival!? (It only serves to further reinforce a prejudice against writers I formed at the recent Byron Bay Writers Festival) For an event that should be conceptually fresh, it all feels pretty stale.