18 July 2008

Don't the organisers of MWF like crime fiction?

What a tragedy! I've been looking forward to the Melbourne Writers' Festival for a whole year now. Looking forward to a feast, meeting my favourite authors, listening to really good panel discussions, catching up with 7 others of my crime fiction "cronies" as I've done for the last 2 years. They are coming in from Perth, Launceston, Newcastle, Darwin, as well as couple from Melbourne.

When I recently discovered that work commitments would mean that I couldn't actually fly over(from Adelaide) to Melbourne until after work on August 29 I was bitterly disappointed because I had been looking forward to it so much.

Well, I needn't have worried. The MWF organisers, for reasons best known to themselves have decided to fly in the face of the current popularity of Australian crime fiction, and include so little to interest readers of the genre that it is laughable.
Check the programme for yourself. Do the search for crime like I did and come up with just 8 events!
Oh yes, there are the Ned Kelly awards on the Friday night (Aug 29) and if I'm lucky I'll be able to get there for the BIG announcement.
On Saturday and Sunday there are just 2 events of interest to me. And I'm flying across to Melbourne for this?

If you want to see the true famine of crime genre in the programme, have a look at the discussion happening over on Aust Crime Fiction, where those of us who have met at MWF for the past 2 years are weighing up what is available. Some of our group are arriving on the first Friday of the festival, and the landscape of offerings for them between Sunday 24 August and Friday 29 August is starker than the Nullarbor!

Disappointment is a very mild word for what I feel. The crime fiction element at the Crime & Justice Festival at Abbotsford this weekend will put MWF to shame. And what a bounty we had at Adelaide Writers Week earlier this year. It will certainly make me think twice about MWF next year. MWF no longer looks like Mecca.


sally906 said...

Maybe next time I'll come down for the Crime festival instead :)

Still the biggest part of the exercise is meeting all my online crime buddies and in that I won't be disappointed :)

Kerrie said...

That's the good part for me too Sally.
Perhaps if the MWF doesn't placate the organisers of the Neds a bit, the award ceremony might take place at the Crime Festival in the future - although it would throw the schedule for the awards out a bit
Is the Crime Festival going to be an annual thing I wonder

Anonymous said...

Dear Kerrie
I'm disappointed that you find the crime offerings at the MWF so meagre - I thought we had a fabulous line-up including Barry Maitland, Michael Robotham, Kate Atkinson, Mark Billingham, Rochelle Jackson & Liz Porter on True Crime, a session on Underbelly with John Silvester & Andrew Rule and Caroline Craig, the fabulous French crime writer Xavier-Marie Bonnot and the German crime writer, Andrea Maria Schenkel whose book The Murder Farm toppled Harry Potter off the number one spot on the German best seller lists. Leigh Redhead is appearing at both the Ned Kelly's and in the program. There is a session with Adrian McKinty, an Irish thriller writer who marries the mob and the IRA in a murderous violent spree. Shane Maloney puts in an appearance. Nick Gadd is a new Melbourne thriller writer with several appearances at the MWF. Marele Day, Tara Moss and Jane Clifton will be joining Leigh Redhead at the Ned Kelly Awards. Graeme Blundell will be at the festival too. And not forgetting the best-selling Kate Mosse whose crime novels move between the past and the present. Not a bad line-up I would have thought!

Kerrie said...

Well Rosemary.

Now I've had the opportunity to look more closely at the programme.. my response.
Yes, all the people you have mentioned are appearing at some stage.
But I'm travelling over on the evening of Friday 29 August from Adelaide.
If I'm lucky I'll make it to the Ned Kellys in time for the award announcement.

But let's look at Saturday 30th just in respect of crime fiction. One session of interest: Kate Atkinson at 10am. I'll be there.
Nothing else though.

Sunday 31st - yes there are 3 crime fiction related sessions: 11.30-12.30 vs 11.45-12.45, - so that gives me choice, but cuts me down to 1 session, and then another at 5.30 pm.

But, if I had been able to stick to my original plan of coming over on the previous Friday night?

Saturday 23 Aug - no crime fiction that I can see
Sunday 24 Aug.- one session with Barry Maitland, no other crime fiction

Nor am I interested in workshops at $195, nor dinners at $130. I don't have that sort of money.

And what happened to any events on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday? I'm sure we attended some things last year?

Sorry Rosemary, it is still thumbs down. I'm sure it's all my fault - I'm narrow in my interests - but with a programme that doesn't get released until 6 weeks prior to the event- I'll be re-thinking my options next year- and probably spending my tourist $s elsewhere.


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