Brisbane Writer’s Festival 2017 Recap + Signed Summer Skin Giveaway

September 18, 2016 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | Books, Event Recaps, Features

Bloggers. Readers. Authors. Teacher librarians. Book sellers. It doesn’t matter who we are, we’re all united in our love of books, which was this year’s takeaway from the Brisbane Writer’s Festival. It’s always warming to see such love and support for authors and what they do, and the festival is always a highlight in my yearly blogging calendar.

My festival highlights are below:

MELINA MARCHETTA – Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil


My weekend started out with Melina Marchetta’s session on her new adult book, Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil. Featuring a Muslim character and talking about the impacts of bombings and terrorism in a family’s life, she broached the tough topics and talked about the importance of representation. Having written a variety of series in her career, Melina doesn’t shy away from the tough topics, and she wanted to write a book that highlighted racism and the problems of the world today.

I was so teary when I met her at the signing table, her first book, Looking for Alibrandi helped me get through high school. Moving to Australia with my Chinese family, there were no other books at the time featuring a teenager fitting into school while going home to her multi-cultural family. She’s as amazing, humble and inspiring in person as she is through her words.

JAY KRISTOFF – Nevernight


If you haven’t read Nevernight yet, be prepared for endless book pushing from me – 2016 hasn’t ended yet, and I’m pleased to say it’s my favourite novel of the year (find out why here). Hearing Jay Kristoff talk about his inspiration behind Nevernight (his love for ancient Rome, old heavy fantasy reads but also with a bit of humour) and his writing process was even more awesome in person. He wanted to write about a sympathetic assassin character, who is a villain but somehow remains sympathetic to the audience. He also wanted to inject humour and backstory into the story through his footnotes.

Nevernight is as bloody, brutal and violent as you’ve heard, and it also features a lot of racy sex scenes. Jay thought it was important to not gloss over these sex scenes, because “the idea of sex and violence in society is completely out of whack,” which is something he wanted to address in his novel.



If there’s any writerly duo that is more entertaining that these two – you’d be hard pressed to find them. I loved all the jokes and the insight into the Illuminae writing process during this session – it was the highlight of the festival for me! They first met over filling in impossibly difficult paperwork, and then Amie had a dream about writing a book with Jay and they got together to brainstorm it. It started out from chat logs and just them two having fun without ever thinking it was going to get published. But then it was a hit!

What I love about Illuminae, is that there’s a whole team of people behind it to fact check – spaceship designers, botanists, hackers, and most recently an astrophysicist. Jay and Amie have visited the movie studio of Illuminae and although they don’t have much direction over the script (because that’s up to the filmmakers), they said it’s looking to be awesome.

We can look forward to more shenanigans, spaceships and sci-fi space opera in Gemina, and many early reviewers have already said that they love it more than the first book. I CANT WAIT GUYS. October 18, 2016 – mark it in your diaries.




When you think about psychopaths, you often think about mass murderers – but perhaps the scariest thing about it, is that there are psychopaths who live among us. That’s what Justine Larbalestier wanted to explore in My Sister Rosa – psychopaths living dormant in society. What’s even scarier is that it’s inspired by the real life psychopaths – whether that’s an ex, a friend, or a stranger who just couldn’t exhibit any empathy or emotion. “Because psychopaths have no remorse or limits to their behaviour, a psychopath always wins.”

Writing from a male perspective, Che was actually quite a challenging character perspective to write about, but Justine thought it was important to explore the cycle of abuse from his little sister.

One of my favourite things about the novel is how it featured diversity so naturally – and that’s just what people in New York look like. Each and every one of her characters in My Sister Rosa could be found on the streets. As someone who has lived in New York herself, she thought it was important to represent the vibrantly diverse landscape of the neighbourhood. Check out my review for the book here.




Having flown in from LA, I was super lucky to meet Caroline Kepnes and to hear about her inspiration for Hidden Bodies. Joe is noble psychopath, if there ever was one, and he actually believes by killing people that he’s doing them a favour. As Hidden Bodies is set in LA, it’s actually inspired by some of the outlandish personalities she’s had to encounter in the movie making business. But in this sequel, Joe explores what it means to find love, to explore a career and a greater sense of purpose.

The whole series was planned from the start, with Caroline wanting to name the three books – You. Love. Me. which gives some interesting insight into what we’ll encounter in the next book. She’s currently working on her new series, a supernatural thriller about unrequited love and about missing people. Caroline is so lovely and bubbly in person – you’d never guess she writes about psychopaths!



Outside of these sessions, I also met up with Kirsty Eagar of Summer Skin, whose sessions I couldn’t attend due to the overlapping sessions. It was so lovely catching up and talking about writing, blogging, feminism and the festival. Sometimes you meet someone and you just click and meeting Kirsty was definitely a highlight of the festival.

I also got to meet David Levithan, Jaclyn Moriarty and more authors at the Love YA Festival at Brisbane Libraries! My full recap of the festival will be linked here when it goes up.


Justine Larbalestier, Meleika, David Levithan, Me, Maddie 


With Kirsty Eagar


Here’s all the books I got signed over the course of the festival – I had a suitcase on Day 2! Who said bookworms don’t get any exercise?



I had so much fun hanging out, fangirling with and meeting up with other bloggers and readers during the Brisbane Writer’s Festival! We had such a fantastic YA line-up this year and I’m currently suffering from post festival blues. If you ever get the chance to attend a festival, I completely recommend it! I’ll definitely remember this experience always.

GIVEAWAY – Signed Summer Skin by Kirsty Eagar

You might have noticed THREE copies of Summer Skin in the picture above – Yes, one of them is for a lucky reader of Happy Indulgence! Everyone must read this awesome kickass feminist read (Review here)!

Giveaway is open internationally and ends 2 October 2016. Shipping may be by ground mail.

Verified entries only, winner will be contacted via email and announced on the widget. No cheating – we can tell!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have you been to a writer’s festival before?


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Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Twitter @happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

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33 responses to “Brisbane Writer’s Festival 2017 Recap + Signed Summer Skin Giveaway

    • YESSSS I hope you get the chance to read Summer Skin, it's such a fantastic feminist read! OMG Caroline Kepnes was the loveliest person ever <3

  1. It sounds like you had an amazing time at this festival! I hope I can attend a bookish convention/ festival once. I haven't read any of Jay Kristoff his books so far, but you do make me curious about his books and I've heard good things about his books. And you got a great haul from the festival! I see This Shattered World which reminds me I still need to read that one.
    My recent post Review: Jace by Alisa Woods

    • It was amazing Lola, I'm so lucky that there are events like this in my city! Oh my gosh I love Jay Kristoff's books so much. I've read most of them and they are A-MAAZING. I LOVED This Shattered World!

  2. writofwit

    Awww I love this recap. I've been to only one writers' festival and it mostly featured authors I didn't know. This recap made me feel like I was living vicariously (sort of) through your experiences. Your live tweets/tweet recaps were awesome too!

    • It was so much fun Cyn, even though it was a lot of books to carry and a tiring day. I loved Nevernight so much. Thank you, I was wearing Stila Beso!

  3. I find it so, so awesome that you can attend these kind of events. I wish there were events like that where I live, but sadly there isn't much, and not for the kind of books I love 🙁 It sounds like you had an incredible time, meeting authors, and getting to know more about their books. I haven't read Illuminae yet, but I recently bought it and I can't wait to know what all the fuss is about. The book looks absolutely gorgeous and SO original, I am wondering just how I'm going to read this and experience this story. 🙂
    My recent post The Real Neat Blog Award

    • I'm definitely lucky I was able to attend and there were so many authors there! Oh my gosh, I can't wait to hear what you think about Illuminae, it's one of my favourites!

  4. I'm so insanely jealous Jeann, it looks like you had an amzing time! And you. Met. Marchetta. Did you swoon a little? Tell me your swooned. Who was your favourite? I swear, I'll eventually meet Kirsty Eagar and propose. Hasn't Justine Larbalestier got killer hair? I can't even. I'm so excited and thrilled for you, it looked so amazing and so many incredibly Aussie authors too!

    PS. Did you manage to get any Gemina insider news out of them?
    My recent post Empire of Storms

    • It was really amazing Kelly! I'm so lucky that we had an amazing line up this year. Yes I was teary so I think that helps too lol. They didn't talk about Gemina much, only that lots of early reviewers loved it even more than the first one and it had even MORE action and space ship sequences. I can't wait to read it!

  5. Ahhh it was so awesome Cait, I loved the event and definitely had to recap it to relive it. Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff were the highlight of the festival, it was so fascinating hearing about how it was all put together! YES I loved My Sister Rosa too, it's interesting to hear that it was based off people she knew. I cannot wait for you read Nevernight!

  6. Ahh this sounds so amazing, Jeann!! Meeting Amie & Jay and Caroline Kepnes would have been so cool!! It must have been really interesting hearing everything that went into writing the books. I'm so glad you had such a great time and got to meet so many cool people ♥ And thanks for the giveaway too!!

  7. Emily

    This festival sounds amazing. I'm glad you had a great time – and all those signed books ahhhh. I've never been to a writer's festival before, but this recap makes me want to go to one so badly. And I'm excited to read all these books 😀
    My recent post Partial disappearings // Updates

    • It was so amazing, I loved meeting the authors and getting the books signed! I hope you get the chance to go to one! So many great books to read.

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