Do you love to be read to?

The Ubud Writers and Readers Festival ran from the 24th to the 28th October 2018. It was their 15th festival and I was there every day. With three venues offering six sessions a day, we were spoiled with options. I write and wanted to be inspired so I selected sessions that focused on  authors, what makes them productive and the journeys they’ve taken to become published.

Daily, I attended The Big Read event from 1pm to 2:15pm where eight authors took turns to read a ten minute excerpt from one of their books. Like a bedtime story, they read to me. Just me. That’s what it felt like, but there were a couple of hundred in the audience. Spellbound, I listened to Jessie Cole, Gail Jones, Geoff Dyer, Guiseppe Catozella, Kim Scott, Anuradha Roy, Carl Hoffman, Gabriela Ybarra, Julia Pendergast and so many more.

I also listened to authors in panel sessions where they shared their personal writing secrets. And as I listened to them read from their books and share tips on writing and getting published, I scribbled notes and dreamed. ‘I’ll be reading from my book one of these days,’ I told myself. “Maybe 2019 or at the latest 2020,” I pledged.

All the writers were wonderful but I found three to be truly exceptional and generous in what they shared.

Jessie Cole read from her memoir, Staying. It’s a remarkable story that Tim Winton has described as, ‘A wounded, lovely, luminous book about grief, trauma and the strange healing power of words.’ I’m halfway through reading this book and every single word is powerful. Cole is an amazing writer.

Dervia McTiernan entertained us with a reading from her book The Ruin. And after this during the panel discussions she shared the details of her journey to publication. She didn’t make it sound easy, but she certainly inspired me to send off query letters to agents and publishing houses. As I glanced around, I noticed other writers recording every detail she shared.

Shrabani Basu is the author of Victoria and Abdul. This is one of my favourite films and I now have a copy of the book. I look forward to reading it and discovering all the bits that didn’t make it into the film. Her reading from her book was wonderful, but the way she described her research that led to the book, captivated everyone in the audience.

The 2018 Ubud Writers and Readers Festival inspired me and I’m already anticipating the one next year. It is on from the 24th to the 27th October, 2019. Why don’t you come and enjoy it too. Many people who come to the festival stay with us at Private Ubud Villas. Check out our site. Maybe our villas will suit you.

But I’m not satisfied to wait another year for festival inspiration, so in January I’m off the the Galle Literary Festival in Sri Lanka. I’ve been a few times before and have always enjoyed it.

What’s your favourite literary festival? Do they inspire you too?

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