On the road to what?

September 18, 2008 at 12:04 am Leave a comment

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The theme for this year’s Brisbane Writers Festival is “what really matters.” According to the Festival Director, Michael Campbell, research shows that writing and publishing issues have narrowed in recent years – from works on clash of civilisations in 2006, to geopolitics and questioning societal values vs the individual in 2007, this year feels like the sphere of questioning is fitting closer to the person. “When it all comes down to it, what really matters?” he says.

Michael Campbell obviously has done his research and has picked a thought provoking idea, but all I can see is *yawn* navel gazing and trends trends trends.

The publishing world, like any market, sells what’s hot. In romance, lately it’s been about paranormal romances and historicals, especially Regency romances. In contemporary literature, the examples given by Campbell are books on strifeful issues that overrun the news daily – war and climate change. He didn’t mention that politics and economics are the rage this year too. Anyone notice movies and books tend to follow the same trends?

I believe that it doesn’t matter what a writer choses to write about as long as she is passionate about a subject. Passion is, for me, what makes a book special. The writer’s urge to bring out the best of her vision permeates the language, story, characters, setting … everything that she needs to convince you that this is a story you must know.

True literature then is passion that carries on through generations. A reader many years later who reads the book, will be taken by the same intensity the writer willed when she wrote it, and who shares the moment with every reader (perhaps her younger self) who understood that.

Publishers will try to manipulate the basket of books you buy by shoving the bright, tasty covers and juicy storylines that you are already aware of, to reinforce the media influences that they seeded.

But I wouldn’t ask a writer to write what’s thematically sellable. I would rather she wrote what she believed in, whatever that may be.

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Entry filed under: On writing, Opinion. Tags: .

Inquiring minds Poetry reading plug

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Evecho’s newsy bits

News, updates and links from the lesbian and publishing ‘verse that interest me, my current projects, keeping up with authors and sharing musings on middle-class life, gourmet adventures and comparisons between East/West perspectives. My opinions will likely be linearly logical and gayly bent, as they tend to be.