There is a certain kind of magic that occurs, when you find yourself surrounded by your people. You may have never met these people before, but you are instantly aware of a special kind of home-ness, that can only come from belonging. I experienced this magic on the weekend, having attended the Williamstown Literary Festival.
On June 17th and 18th, the Williamstown Town Hall, threw open its doors to the creative and the curious. The splendour of this historical building - the perfect location for an event of this nature. The papers I run have always been supportive of this local lit fest, but I have never had the pleasure of attending. Along with my fellow writers, Nella Boonen, Jenny Bates and Melissa Haber , we were full of enthusiasm and ready to be inspired.
Arriving bright and early on Saturday morning, I was immediately struck by the warmth exuding out of every face I saw. The volunteers were lining up, to offer their assistance and a kind smile. Arriving in the hub, the atmosphere was electrifying – people everywhere, excitedly anticipating what was to come. The theme was ‘Food for Thought’ and I was ravenous! The program, an absolute smorgasbord and I couldn’t wait to dig in! Over the course of 2 days, I personally attended 6 sessions, as well as the unbelievably moving Stereo Stories. I encountered a multitude of authors, each one ready, with a willingness to help, that I was entirely unprepared for. Each session was full of useful information, inspiration and encouragement - encouragement to pursue my dreams.
I have been writing for as long as I can remember, but in this moment, surrounded by these people, I wasn’t just a person who writes - I was a writer.
Claire Saxby, Sue Lawson, Lucia Nardo, Sarah Vincent, Clementine Ford – I thank each of you for your time and for your guidance – so much talent to tap into. Beyond the authors, there were the organisers of the event. Loraine Callow, Angela Altair, Barbara Hughes, Carol Winfield – each woman excelling in their roles, offering kindness and respect, with every interaction. And to the countless strangers, who engaged me in conversation – we are forever bound by common interests. By the time I got to the end of the festival on Sunday night, I was filled with a kind of assuredness that I had never felt before. I was not only welcomed into this beautiful literary community, but made to feel as though I had been there all along.
Find your people – seek out the magic – it is wonderful.