Jes Layton is a Creative Producer for us this year! As a writer, reader and lover of all things literary, she is currently working tirelessly on the EWF 2016 program that you will get to see on Tuesday 10 May. She’s managed to set aside her books and pens for a moment to kindly answer some questions for us about what’s exciting her about the upcoming festival, a little about her experience in and outside the office, proving to us that she’s carving her own path through Melbourne’s literary scene.
What was the first thing about becoming a Creative Producer that stood out to you the most and made you want to apply?
I volunteered for the Melbourne Writers Festival last year, and since then I’ve been searching for a way to get an even more ‘behind-the-scenes’ experience within a writing festival. The Creative Producer position with the EWF seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to branch out, try and stretch my writing and professional skills, and since it is aimed at emerging writers, it felt like a pair of exhilarating yet welcoming arms to fall into. The Emerging Writers Festival is an inspiring and rewarding event in and of itself, who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?
How are you finding the experience of being a Creative Producer so far?
So far my experience has been invaluable. I feel more connected with my fellow Melbourne artists and creators than ever before. Getting the chance to work on a project/s and seeing them start to come to fruition (after weeks of work and prep) is just something so rewarding. It has been an experience entirely distinct from any other placement or volunteering I have done before. Being surrounded by like- minded people, witnessing first-hand how many opportunities are available for emerging writers (such as the Monash Prize) and how I can have an impact on that is utterly awesome. There has been a great deal to enjoy about the position so far.
What aspects of the Emerging Writers’ Festival are you looking forward to?
Being in an environment so charged with ideas and creativity, forging new connections, I’m really just excited for all of it! I’m particularly looking forward to all the panels, the readings and the workshops, especially getting the chance to work more behind the scenes and meet some other fantastic creators.
Can you tell us about the last book you read and loved, and what’s currently on your to-read pile?
I recently finished Bone Gap by Laura Ruby and was absolutely blown away by the subtlety of her writing, weaving magic realism, character study and its grounding underlined in myth. It’s a hybrid work of unparalleled intimacy that I greatly enjoyed getting lost within. Plus, the cover art by Seas Freeman is stunning. I’ve been having an obsession with bees lately and their cover just captured my attention right off the bat.
Also, my Autumn issue of Voiceworks “Bang” just came in the mail today so I am very excited to delve into that, it’s bursting at the seams with some awesome fiction by writers under 25 so I can’t wait to see what’s inside. I’m also looking forward to reading Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey I’ve been meaning to pick up this book for a while and finally got around to doing so, it was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award in 2010 and winner of the Indie Book Award in 2009, so I’m eager to see what all the fuss has been about.
Have you got any advice for other emerging writers/creators?
Get involved as much as possible with your literary community, join writer’s groups, attend workshops, and subscribe to lit journals and magazines. Also don’t be afraid to share your work, whether it’s fanfiction online or poetry and prose at open mic nights and readings, or submitting your work to journals! Just try and get your work out there, and comment/read and share others creations as well!
Lastly, can you give us three words that best describe the event/s you’re working on?
FANatical, diverse and thought-provoking (come ‘on, there’s a hyphen there).
Jes Layton is a veteran fanfiction writer and emerging Queer novelist. Melbourne-based, though born and bred in the small town of Yeodene, she intends to make her mark in the YA genre, finish her degree and travel to undecided countries in the pursuit of mythic inspiration. Jes is currently editing her debut novel, a review blog ‘with a twist’ launching in July, and bucking up the courage to try her hand at short fiction. Her first short story Airport Pick-up was published in Others: an Anthology of Creative Writing earlier this year. She tweets from @