Q&A with Will Dawson, EWF16 Creative Producer

Emerging Writers' Festival  
November 30, 2016

It’s that time of year again and we are on the lookout for the next round of amazing individuals to join us as Creative Producers for EWF 2017. We chatted to Will Dawson, one of our awesome Creative Producers from EWF16, about what it was like to be a part of the Emerging Writers’ Festival team.

How did you find the experience of being a Creative Producer?

I had a total blast being a Creative Producer for EWF16. I’d done internships before but I will always remember coming in on my first day at EWF and having Michaela (the 2016 Festival Director) ask me what I wanted to do. It was a bit daunting at first, but being able to have total control over your own part of the program was such a thrill. And of course all the staff were so helpful every time we had questions or issues. I got to work with some of Melbourne’s best literary journals to program two late night literary salons, working closely with their editors and contributors to put on a couple of rollicking nights of words, film and art (and cake). Being able to see your events right through from inception to execution and actually see the fruits of your labour was a huge learning curve but incredibly fulfilling.

What are some of the things you learnt in your time as an EWF Creative Producer?

Where to start? Just the sheer amount of planning that goes into a festival like EWF was eye-opening, especially when it’s done by such a small team. Having your own events means you’re in control of everything from budgets to marketing to production elements, but thankfully you get to work really closely with the EWF staff who were such pearls of wisdom. I’ve worked with larger organisations before where everyone has their own roles and jobs, but when there’s only a few of you it was amazing to see everyone go above and beyond their job descriptions to bring the festival to life.

In addition to my two events I also looked after the Monash Undergraduate Prize for Creative Writing, managing the call-out and sorting through the 400+ entries to the competition. I’d never been involved in any kind of literary prize before, so it was quite a shock when we all had to read about 50 entries each to whittle it down to the shortlist! But it was great getting a chance to read so much wonderful writing, even if it was incredibly difficult to only pick a couple of entries for the shortlist.

What were some of your highlights of the festival experience?

There’s almost too many to mention! I haven’t lived in Melbourne for that long, so working closely with the literary journals and getting to know their editors and contributors was awesome. Witnessing over 100 people sit in total silence listening (and watching) Justin Wolfers ruminating on the filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami in perfect sync with the film in the background. Sharing cake with Voiceworks editors, contributors and fans at Midwinter Nocturne, which doubled as the launch of their new issue. But really, just being surrounded by so many talented people, both writers and festival staff, was incredibly inspiring. That’s the power of a festival like EWF – and the best bit is that as a Creative Producer you are an integral part of making it happen.

Applications for our Creative Producer roles for EWF17 close 5pm Friday 16 December 2016. To apply download a job pack here.