Telling tales

Books and stories don’t necessarily sell themselves. Occasionally writers step away from their desks and say a few words in public.

On May 2 2012, Vin hosted a sports-writing panel at the Williamstown Literary Festival:

Write Line Fever: Willy Lit Fest sports panel. Wednesday 2 May 2012

The local footy clubrooms might seem an odd venue for a literary function but the Williamstown CYMS clubrooms in Osborne St proved the perfect venue for this year’s sports panel, featuring Willy Lit Fest regulars Gideon Haigh and John Harms, and local scribe Vin Maskell.

To a discerning audience of 40 – just the right number for the venue – Haigh and Harms read short extracts from their books and riffed off each other while MC Vin Maskell directed traffic from the best seat in the house. The extracts gave glimpses into the writers’ knowledge and love of their sports, and also their flair for metaphor, humour, alliteration and rhythm.

The topic for the night, Sportswriting and the changing media, took in such matters as Twitter, changing sports news  values, and changing sports news sources.

Haigh recalled the 2009 Ashes incident of news of Phillip Hughes’ omission from the Test side being tweeted by Hughes’ manager before the official announcement. “Some of the crusty older journalists at Edgbaston wondered what all this tweeting thing was.”

The night coincided with John Harms opening his own Twitter account earlier that day. Haigh refused to be swayed when Harms suggested he too start tweeting. “I don’t think I could say enough in 140 characters,” said Haigh, who later in the evening treated the audience to an extract from a 56,000 word book he wrote in just a month, an appreciation of Shane Warne. (The book is yet to be published.)

The 2000 word extract was a rich and rhythmic and rapturous description of Warne’s bowling action, starting with Warne’s walk to his mark, his few steps to the crease and the surprising amount of energy and power he unleashes as he rolls his arm over. The audience was transfixed.

 The Willy Lit Fest thanks the Williamstown CYMS Football Club and Football Williamstown for hosting the event.


Vin has also been part of the following events:

State Library summer reading relay, March 2011

Williamstown Literary Festival, 2004 – 2010

Sunbury Literary Festival, 2003

Rotunda Community Writing Centre, Sunbury 1994 to 2004

State Library/CAE, October 2002

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