My personal pick for the Festival is Chad Harbach’s session. I first heard about his novel ‘The Art of Fielding’ when I read Keith Gessen’s article in Vanity Fair about how the book came into being. The novel took ten years to write and seemed, at times, like a lost cause. The article itself is worth reading for an introduction to what it really takes to write a novel and how the world of the editor/publisher/agent works. Keith is a friend of Chad’s and he writes familiarly but also objectively of the challenges Chad faced in getting the book to its finished state.
I started reading the book with a sense of wariness – its big, its about baseball, they’re all men – and then about twenty pages in I feel in love. Yes, it’s about baseball but in the way The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is about motorcycles. It’s more about commitment and aspiring to greatness and failure and humanity. Even though he is writing about a world that is not only foreign to me, but one in which I have absolutely no interest, he engages you with characters who are quirky and solid and warm-blooded.
It was the first time I understood the commitment it takes to be a great sportsman and could see the beauty and humanity in the act of sport.
Someone who can write like that, I want to hear more from.
Chad Harbach’s dazzling debut novel about a baseball team in a small Midwest campus is an exciting exploration of sexual and sporting obsession. He talks to Chris Flynn.
At this year’s Sydney Writers’ Festival the NSW Writers’ Centre presents The Forest for the Trees – Writers & Publishing in 2012 (SOLD OUT): A one-day writers seminar looking at the publishing world right now.
The Forest for the Trees will provide emerging writers with an introduction to getting published as well as engaging writers of any level with discussion and debate on where the writer world is in 2012.
Over a packed day this seminar will go from lectures to conversations to panel sessions (and back again). The Forest for the Trees will look at the last year for publishers, bookshops, and for the writer. The here and now of digital and alternative publishing will be discussed as will a snap shot of the challenges that publishers are facing. Journal editors will discuss where they are at, as well authors discussing the challenges of getting a book to print and the difference with the overseas writing world. The day will end with a look ahead from a writer, publisher, agent, and bookseller as well as an open question and answer session.