SWF Writer Overnighter
Posted On May 20, 2012
On Friday 18th May I was lucky enough to be part of the Sydney Writers’ Festival ‘Writer Overnighter’ at the Powerhouse Museum, and what fun it was. I’d never been to the Powerhouse before – a sad gap in my vast store of museum love – so I was nearly as excited as the fifty or so young people who came along for a night of food, activities, talks, demonstrations and exploration, with the bonus of being able to choose their own special place to sleep in a museum. The whole museum was alive with magnificent steam power, with so much whirring, rocking, rotating, hissing and clanking that it was a Steampunk writer’s dream come true.
So much fun was packed into our time there, from steam-driven balloons to excited ping pong balls to steam-driven ice cream makers. When my turn came, I was able to explain why history is so useful to a Fantasy writer before going on to demonstrate how Steampunk is such a sublime blending of history and imagination. After that, of course, we all got down to write and I was staggered at the creative outpourings from everyone there. In a short time, we had imagined enough explorers, scientists, engineers and spies to populate a thousand Steampunk stories, and all of them had elaborate Steampunk vehicles, ranging from submarines to pogo sticks. I don’t care how well reinforced that old turbine room was, I think we were only a handful of ideas away from blowing the roof off.
When I left, the whole crowd was settling in to watch a movie before bedtime. The movie? Steamboy, of course!
Many thanks to Michael and Helen and all of the Powerhouse staff who put on a superb show. Their friendliness and professionalism was first class.