I’m just back from a session at the Melbourne Writers Festival. This year the festival is at Federation Square and I don’t think it works as well as it did when it was squashed into the Malthouse. You come out of the theatre and you’re directed out of the way and out into the city again, where what you want is to be allowed to wallow in that soupy place where ideas float. This is one time where you want to be tipped straight into the gift shop; bookshops are ideal venues for wallowing and floating.
Maybe it’s good for reading and writing to pretend they’re part of the mainstream and that they can compete on an equal basis with sport, drinking and shopping. Maybe the festival will attract more attention in this vast public space.
I missed the Malthouse, how intimate it felt, and how the inconveniences made people bond with each other, how you felt as though you were on an island – the Island of Dreams and Dreamers.