Over the weekend, Queermance proved that in its second year, it’s a Literary Festival that will go from strength to strength. I was already told that this year’s was bigger than last year’s, and although it’s not yet commanding the numbers that certain overseas GLBTI festivals can boast, this little Aussie battler is in fine health.
One thing I loved was that although the festival is dubbed Queermance, the guests covered topics far beyond the genre of romance. In my panel alone, ‘Across the Genres’, we talked shape shifting queers, mainstream gay characters, and blended genres within the one book. Which is a great reflection of the success of GLBTI writing of all forms at the moment.
One of the coolest authors attending was C.S. Pacat, a local who started her writing career online, serialising her novel chapter by chapter. After readers demanded a print copy of her historical fiction about two princes in love (yes, with each other), a self-published version was released. After terrific sales, Penguin US offered her a contract.
Another author proved that the general public is ready for main characters not hiding in the closet, falling in love, or dealing with homophobia. Neil Bartlett is signed to Random House with a thriller about a missing boy, whose gay uncle is the focus, but his sexuality is not.
Other topics covered over the weekend included the Australian voice in GLBTI literature, erotic writing (Max Vos’ t-shirt alone on this panel was worth coming to the event), and those harder to define sexual identities. I learnt a lot from all but most from the latter.
The vibrant discussions were teamed with a night time Queer Cabaret and an Author Readings event at the Hare Hole, making it one fun and informative weekend.