Beauty takes time (some reflections on Writers’ Week)

writers week plants

Writers week poster

The Writers’ Week poster for this year – featuring an image of some of the plants in the display

I’ve been at Writers’ Week this week, and have had a great time again. I love hanging out in the sunshine (the weather’s been fantastic), and listening to writers talk about their books. A lot of work goes into the whole thing – including among many other things getting the writers there, organising the tents and the toilets, the shade sails, the food, the water tank, the rubbish and recycle bins, the sound and the seats, the book tent filled with books and with its assistants and technology so we can pay for them, the interviewers who have to read the books and prepare the questions, the writers who have to turn up and tell us things, and this year the gorgeous plants decorating the screens behind the stages, at the entrance and around the signage and at the info desks.

It’s these potted seedlings that I want to focus on here for a minute. There were apparently 4000+ of them grown from local native plant seeds collected by Trees for Life volunteers and grown at their nursery at Brooklyn Park over the past 8 months or so. They looked stunning, and were a tribute to everyone concerned, from the seed collectors to the growers, to the folk who thought of the idea at Writers’ Week, and to all those who got the partnership going that made it all happen.

The plants were arranged fantastically – tall grasses at the top, their feathery fronds floating in the breeze, little chunky plants further down. Many of them even flowered as the week went by. They looked very cute in their little rusty pots, hooked over the lattice work backing. Now that the event is over, they are going back to the nursery at 5 May Terrace, Brooklyn Park,  where they will be sold to the public.

We were talking about all this at dinner the other night, and Katrina made the comment that beauty takes time. This is very much the point here. The writer’s work takes lots of solitary effort. The books they make are the result of years of individual concentrated work, plus that of the team producing the physical product, and then those distributing the books, and on it goes – so many people working over time to bring us the wonderful time those of us at Adelaide Writers’ Week have each year. The plants are a kind of symbol of all this – the time individually and jointly put in to produce something beautiful, and the quiet and moving impact it had.

So, thanks to all those at WW for putting the program together and organising the many logistics to have a smooth running, stimulating and happy event, and to all the volunteers and workers at Trees for Life for the beautiful plants that graced the event and that reminded me that beauty takes time and is enriched by the contributions of all those who play their part in creating it. Thank you thank you thank you…

For more on the logistics of setting everything up for WW click on the link to the writers’ week blog below for an update on the plants and also all the other myriad of jobs that were being done just a few days before the show got on the road!

For more on Trees for Life click on the link below. It is an amazing organisation…


Some of the plants on the archway entering the WW site


More little pots of plants at the entrance


A small cascade of greenery


Sam, the Bush for Life Field Officer from Trees for Life, was there with other staff and volunteers giving away little packets of seeds (ruby saltbush) for us to take home and grow ourselves


A close up of some of the plants – note the little pink flower too


Jenny Uglow (who wrote the book about Bewick’s birds featured here a few weeks ago) (on the right in the pink) being interviewed by Claire Wright. Note the backdrop of plants.


More writers in conversation, and can you see that the plants on the backdrop have grown since the start of the week?


Plants surrounding part of the sign for the Book Tent


A view of the crowd at one of the tents on the last day


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5 Responses to Beauty takes time (some reflections on Writers’ Week)

  1. Mandy says:

    Sounds beautiful 🙂

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