Does anyone else think the Sydney Writers’ Festival has grown just too big? Perhaps it was ever thus, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t, so when did writers become celebrities? Or is it that our voracious media has latched on to the easy copy of authors on tap and publicists on overdrive?
I just can’t be bothered going anymore and facing the bumping, grinding, tripping crowds. When I check out the SWF website and see “choose your author by letter of the alphabet” I give up. It takes the discipline of a military campaign to navigate your way through the hundreds of “acts” on offer and make your choice.
Gone are the days of serendipity when you wandered around and stumbled upon interesting panels quite by chance. Basically it’s hard to know what’s going to be good so pot luck has advantages. This was before they started charging as a way of dealing with the burgeoning numbers, not to mention including the Opera House and the Sydney Town Hall as venues. Hey, what about the Entertainment Centre? I think the charm has gone. No wonder smaller writers’ festivals are popping up all over the place.