DID YOU KNOW THERE IS A NATIONAL YOUNG WRITERS FESTIVAL THAT HAPPENS IN NEWCASTLE ANNUALLY? WE GOT TO CHATTING WITH ALEXANDRA, CO-DIRECTOR OF THE FESTIVAL, TO FIND OUT ALL THINGS #WORD RELATED. PS. YOU CAN FOLLOW HER ON TWITTER: @paper_bag_girl
With Alexandra Neill
By Kian West
Photo Credit: Alan Weedon
So Alex, tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m a writer and blogger. I like cooking, reading and Dungeons and Dragons. I do not like carrots.
I lived in Newcastle until early this year when I moved down to Melbourne (I know, traitor). I actually moved to Newcastle after going to the National Young Writers Festival in 2009. I fell in love with the place a little and decided to head there for uni. Melbourne is pretty ok but there’s a lot of things I miss about Newcastle.
What’s your role at the National Young Writers Festival (NYWF)?
I’m a Co-Director. There are three of us that share this role (me, Lex Hirst and Jessica Alice) and together we’re responsible for programming the festival. That means (put simply) we choose the people who’ll attend and decide what all the events will be. It’s an amazing job. I’ve had such a great time working with Lex and Jess to put together the almost eighty events across this year’s program.
We heard there is a ball, care to elaborate?
The ball is an NYWF tradition! It’s always a highlight. Held on the Saturday of the festival, it’s a chance for everyone to dress up and do some dancing. The theme this year is “Intergalactic”. Think glow sticks, stars, sci-fi and Davie Bowie. We will likely play a lot of David Bowie songs. It’s going to be a blast (rocket pun intended).
Assuming some people reading this will be kicking themselves realising they have missed the NYWF, If you could steer them towards checking out one young writer, who would it be?
This is such a hard question! I’m therefore going to cheat and recommend a publication instead of a person. If you’re interested in young writers, Voiceworks is the place to go. It’s a magazine which publishes writing and visual art from people under 25 and it’s consistently amazing. If you want to be that guy who brags about knowing the person’s work before they got famous, read Voiceworks. It’s bursting with amazing new voices.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
If you’ll allow me to be really corny, my biggest inspiration right now are the people I’m working with on NYWF. There’s this amazing bunch of people working their butts off behind the scenes to make this festival happen. Most of us also work or study full-time so NYWF is done in the moments we can spare. It’s a labour of love. Working with everyone has been such a privilege and I’ve been constantly inspired by their ideas, enthusiasm and passion. They are the best.
Anything else Novocastrians should know about you?
I once got a concussion at an art gallery because I walked into a statue.