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By Eden Faithfull

H.P. Lovecraft once wrote, “The process of delving into the black abyss is to me the keenest form of fascination.” Whilst the Sydney Writers’ Festival may not necessarily resemble Lovecraft’s notion of the black abyss, it certainly is a platform for those who wish to delve: into the minds of great authors, into their own preconceptions and partialities, into the cultural landscape that is Sydney’s literary scene. And a keen form of fascination it is, because never before has a cultural event so truly opened the possibilities that this Writers’ Festival has for me.


Today, I was given free range of the Hickson Bay Wharf to wander around and inspire my photographer-to-be. My inner Annie Leibowitz focused her lens on the faces of the audience members that were engrossed in a panel discussing the unpredictable future of the English language. My inner Steve McCurry was drawn to the glistening cerulean waters of the Harbour and the seagulls bobbing placidly on it. My inner Robert Doisneau snapped a clandestine kiss between lovers amongst the café tables of the food carts, and my inner Sally Mann caught the moment a young child held their first hardcover novel.

After my foray in and out of the photographic realm, I was lucky enough to share my time with the magnificent Clementine Ford, a writer, activist, journalist and mother of the most adorable ten-month-old to have ever dribbled on my knee. Having the opportunity to interview such a idol of mine was unspeakably spectacular, and certainly opened my eyes to a new perspective that I had been given the chance to so intimately attain.

As a Media Hub Intern, I have been welcomed to a space that undoubtedly provided me refuge – as is the theme of the event – and will continue to carry this literary sanctuary inside of me, as I browse my collection of Festival photos, or think back over the time I met a literary heroine. I could not be more thankful for this retreat into Sydney’s literary environment, a refuge and hub that I am truly appreciative of.

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