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National Young Writers Festival 2010

My wife Sarah Howell was one of the directors of NYWF this year. We went up to Newcastle for it (my ninth time, I worked out) Here’s some of my favourite bits from the festival:


Sarah Howell; fest director, Deadwood resident.


  • the bits where cartoonists such as Chris Downes, Patrick Alexander and Rebecca Clements sat around drawing things.
  • the panel I ran about getting a TV show up (“Fail, Fail Again, Fail Harder”), which was highly informative, amusing and located at the Elderly Citizen’s Centre. Panelists were Nazeem Hussain, Nathan Earl and Marieke Hardy. They were all great. I arrived late and red-faced. In light of Marieke’s revelation that somehow her and Jonathan Shiff’s cartoon series Digital Duck failed to materialise (“he’s a duck that can use the internet to solve crimes”), I am now planning on pitching Shiff a show called @iDuck.tv which is suspiciously similar. The duck’s sidekick will be a wisecracking GPS unit with the voice of  David Stratton (unless a commercial network are interested, in which case it will be either Scott Cam, Grant Denyer or that little guy from the Shaun Micallef quiz show).
  • the bit at the Literary Journal Survivor contest where some people chasing a sign that said “OzCo” smashed right thru some panes of safety glass. No injuries.
  • the panel featuring people who write things that others end up getting credit for, including the lady who used to write monologues for John Laws (!). Job sounds stressful, but not as stressful as writing for Alan Jones.
  • the bit at the fest directors’ after-party where Sarah Gory (NYWF Co-Ordinator) and I finally got around to comparing our Jewish credentials and discovering which members of “the tribe” we both know (several). Also, Geoff Lemon‘s excellent a capella rendition of The Lonely Island’s I’m on a Boat.
  • the impromptu panel held upstairs in the PAN building where topics such as “what is wrong with Anna’s phone” and “awesome things Garth’s brother has done on the toilet” were canvassed.
  • Liam Pieper’s almost unwilling MCing of the festival-ending Famous Bullshit Stories readings. I read out a wonderful e-mail sent to my former employers which pitches them co-development interest in such brilliant animated series as The Talking Tea Bags and Animals At The World Cup.


The Saturday night "Southern Gothic Ball" drifts to a close.



The only way to make hard-bitten journalist Anna Krien say something she doesn't want to say is by squidging her mouth around in the shape of the words.



Liam nudges the fest to its quiet conclusion at the Lowlands Bowls Club.


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