Lara Shprem, BWF's Adult Programs Coordinator, has been busy setting our fantastic program into motion over the past few months. We caught up with her to talk about this year's Festival. Hvala na Vašem vremenu Lara!
Which event at the Brisbane Writers Festival are you most looking forward to attending?
- I’m looking forward to the Salon event – A World Without Writers. The lineup for that event is absolutely stellar and I’m so excited to dive into the Orwellian dystopian idea of what a world without writers would be like. Creativity is often at the heart of change and in scary and uncertain times I’m so excited to hear from the best fiction, and non-fiction writers.
Tell us something about you we don’t already know…
- I’ve been learning to speak Croatian for the last 4 years. Moj hrvatski je još uvijek loš!
From the artists attending at this year’s Brisbane Writers Festival, who do you look to for inspiration?
- Krissy Kneen is an endless source of inspiration and amazement for me. She is easily one of Australia’s most exciting writers. I will always hold with me the beautiful and devastating moment that I started reading her poetry book, Eating My Grandmother.
Is there a particular book that you have read which still remains with you today?
- The first book that I loved and carried with me until the spine fell apart and the pages stayed together by the will of god and jammy fingers, was Window by Jeannie Baker. As a child it taught me that there is more than one way to tell a story, as an adult it reminds me of the importance of Australian Writers and the Australian publishing industry.
People who attend the Brisbane Writers Festival will be able to hear many stories that will be thought provoking, where do you seek your ideas from?
- We are so lucky to have a hugely vibrant, hilarious, and incredibly talented writing scene in Brisbane. I’m inspired by the people in Brisbane who are constantly creating content, whether it’s writing funny things for Pedestrian TV, or essays for Griffith Review.
The power of a story can create conversations, what are you hoping for people to be talking about after BWF this year?
- This year’s program is packed with challenging and inspiring conversations. We are talking about how we can change just one thing and make the world a better place. We are talking about feminism and race, equity, equality and taboo. I hope after the festival we are not only talking about these conversations, but we’ve also learnt something new about how we are talking about them. That our thinking has evolved.
What book are you next looking forward to reading?
- My reading list is long and full of many perils. I’m looking forward to rereading so many of the books for this year’s festival that I had to fly through. I’m most looking forward to Pachinko by Min Jin Lee, Down the Hume by Peter Polites, and To Become a Whale by Ben Hobson.
What do you like most about working on BWF?
- Did you know a big part of my job is to talk about books? Can you believe that’s my job? I’m so lucky that I get to talk/think/program books all day, if I was in another job I’m sure I would be getting in trouble for all the hours I would spend thinking about books I’ve read, artists I admire and releases I can’t wait to read.
The UPLIT team is a great group of people. We all have varied background and approaches to life. I’m blown away by the creativity and ingenuity of the people I get to work with.
What is one thing you cannot resist?
- Poking fun at myself and others.
And finally... Can you offer any tips on how to fit in more reading into our busy lives?
- Cut yourself some slack, just because your reading list requires chapters, or you started 4 books and didn’t finish them doesn’t matter. Reading is meant to inspire/challenge/delight you - if it’s not doing that then you need a break. Come back to it when you want to!