The Fetch Blog

The best events and reads for professionals

Top 10 writers festivals around the globe — February 23, 2014

Top 10 writers festivals around the globe

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What makes a great writer’s festival?

Regardless of size, location or theme, a great writer’s festival provokes discussion and debate, encourages creativity and reflection, and showcases inspiring writers and thinkers. It celebrates its local literary culture while also facilitating discussions of global importance. And most importantly, it’s fun. Here are a few of the world’s best to add to your bucket list.

1) Jaipur Literary Festival (India)

The air I breathe is filled with words – Mahasweta Devi 

The Greatest Literary Show on Earth – or so its organizers call it. And when you’re sitting in a huge tent surrounded by a very vocal audience of Indians and travellers from all around the world, it’s hard to deny that the Jaipur Literary Festival is one of the most vibrant. Founded by charismatic British author Will Dalrymple, this festival blends music and fun alongside thought-provoking and lively debate.

January each year – http://jaipurliteraturefestival.org

2) Digital Writers’ Festival (everywhere) 

Are we live? –  Sam Twyford-Moore

Aimed at connecting emerging writers around the world to talk about their writing lives, the Digital Writers’ Festival is an innovative online event that takes place in real time via Twitter and Google Hangouts. The extensive program overcomes time zone challenges to present international discussions that are experimental, challenging and informative.

February each year – http://digitalwritersfestival.com

3) The Bookworm International Literary Festival, Beijing (China) 

I’m told that laughter is the highest wisdom of the human race.  – Li Er

At once cosy and a bit chaotic, Beijing’s Bookworm bookstore hosts several exciting weeks of bilingual literary events and fascinating discussions about the Asia region. The lantern-lit on-site café is a great place to order a cup of tea (or wine) and strike up a conversation with ex-pats and Chinese students alike.

March each year – http://bookwormfestival.com

4) PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature (USA) 

The creative act requires not only freedom but also this assumption of freedom. –  Salman Rushdie

Aligned with PEN, a social justice organisation giving voice to writers around the world who have been silenced, this impressively diverse festival is one of the most important on the global literary calendar. Each year World Voices features an impressive selection of challenging and thought-provoking events across New York City to inspire discussion, reflection and debate.

April to May each year – http://worldvoices.pen.org

5) Etonnant Voyageurs, St Malo (France) 

And this brings us back to literature’s ability to relate the world. – Michele le Bris  

Etonnant Voyageurs (‘Amazing Travellers’) has taken the idea of a festival of travel writing and stretched it to become an exploration of world literature in French. Set in a historic city on the beautiful Brittany coast, the festival of mostly-free events attracts a lively international roster and throws down some challenging sessions. It also offers exhibitions of French graphic novels, a film festival, and a huge book market. Allez!

February or March each year – http://www.etonnants-voyageurs.com

melb-writersMelbourne Writers Festival

6 ) International  Literary Festival  of  Paraty (FLIP), Brazil 

Fiction transforms memory and imagination into language – Milton Hatoum

Throughout its five-day duration FLIP holds, amazingly, over 200 events, including debates, shows, exhibitions, workshops, film screenings and school presentations. The main events are presented in unique round-table style, making it an engaging experience for writers and the audience alike. The enthusiasm of Paraty’s residents adds to the good vibes surrounding this unique festival.

July to August each year – http://www.flip.org.br

7) Edinburgh International Book Festival (Scotland) 

Thank you for your excellent questions. – JK Rowling

It’s hard to go past the oldest and largest literary festival in the world. Year after year, the Edinburgh International Book Festival attracts the biggest names in writing for serious literary discussions. The Festival takes place in an elegant tent city in Charlotte Square Gardens and its on-site bookstore is astounding, with separate shops for grown-ups and children.

(And a bonus festival tip: be sure to pop into the Book Fringe at Word Power bookstore, part of the Edinburgh Fringe, bringing writers and activists together for lively readings and discussions.)

August each year – https://www.edbookfest.co.uk

8) Book Passage Travel Writers & Photographers Conference, San Francisco (USA)   

Here’s how I lost my voice and found my vision – Don George 

Part-conference, part festival, this four-day intensive is the destination for aspiring travel writers. Chaired by legendary travel writer Don George, the weekend features talks, workshops and industry networking events. It’s an illuminating and informative weekend but most of all, as you would expect from a killer lineup of travel writers, a conference filled with good parties and remarkable stories from the road.

August each year – http://www.bookpassage.com/travel-writers-photographers-conference

9) Ubud Writers and Readers Festival (Indonesia)

Books opened the world to me. –  Ahmad Fuadi

Sunny days, balmy nights, open-air venues and lush tropical views make Ubud Writers & Readers Festival in Bali one of the world’s most appealing literary destinations. Long-table lunches and sundowner cocktail events make this festival highly sociable, and if the fun gets too much there are plenty of places to escape for a quiet swim, relaxing pedicure or a spot of peaceful yoga.

October each year – http://www.ubudwritersfestival.com

And of course…

10) Melbourne Writers Festival (Australia)! 

Meaning lies in the magic of the coincidence that you should come across work at just the right time. – Tavi Gevinson

I’m proud to be a part of a writer’s festival that holds its own alongside the world’s biggest, best and brightest literary events. Melbourne Writers Festival is the literary festive season to Melbourne’s busy annual calendar of writing events. Whether you like your writer’s festivals to be intensely thought-provoking or wildly fun – or perhaps a both at the same time – we have you covered.

August each year – http://www.mwf.com.au

Subscribe to The Fetch in your city for reminders about the festivals and other related events throughout the year.

About our contributor // Lisa Dempster is the Director of the Melbourne Writers Festival. She travels widely in search of literary and other adventures. Follow her on Twitter via @lisadempster.

Image credit: Melbourne Writers Festival and sloeginfizz.

Featured job: Online Communications Specialist, Callaghan Innovation, New Zealand — December 27, 2013

Featured job: Online Communications Specialist, Callaghan Innovation, New Zealand

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Are you a communications specialist who feels at home in an online environment?

If so, this is an opportunity for you to build Callaghan Innovation‘s online presence from the ground up – a new organization with the mission to take New Zealand innovation to the world.

Working in the Communications team, you’ll source high-quality, inspiring content that tells Callaghan Innovation’s story and helps New Zealanders build their understanding of our work in the innovation space. Your focus will be on providing a strategic direction for our online engagement by scoping, developing and managing appropriate online channels, and providing innovative, fresh ideas in this environment.

Callaghan Innovation is a new organization, so this role is a blank canvas for the right person. They help innovative New Zealand businesses build their capabilities by linking them with organizations that offer the expertise and facilities they need. They work closely with investors, research organizations, economic development and government agencies, and other stakeholders.

You’ll need to be passionate about the online environment and social media, and very comfortable working in this area. You’ll have plenty of experience in corporate communications, and a relevant qualification in communications is desirable. You’ll also have extensive knowledge of the various online channels, and experience in their development and management. You’ll be successful in the role when the up-to-date, relevant, and inspiring content you’ve created generates a sense of ownership across the whole organisation.

This is a content role like no other – it’s a rare opportunity for you to use your online skills and experience to play a vital role in how a new organization portrays itself and is perceived. This is your chance to help us grow and make a name for ourselves, both in New Zealand and internationally.

Applications for this role will be processed after January 6 2014.

To apply please visit the Callaghan Innovation Careers Site and click here for the position description.

Image credit: BusinessWeek

The Fetch seeks contributing writers — October 27, 2013

The Fetch seeks contributing writers

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We’re massive lovers of content at The Fetch – be it creating, curating, consuming or sharing – and now we’re looking for external contributing writers.

We’re seeking a handful of contributors at the local level to produce interesting and relevant posts across the US, Europe and Asia Pacific (Australia/NZ). This is a cool opportunity for freelance writers and professional content creators to become our ongoing go-to contributor in a region. And yes, writers rejoice – these are paid contributor spots. 🙂

You’ll be recognised on The Fetch as the local contributing writer and your work will be read by a ever-growing community of professionals. Pieces will be published with a byline and any links you desire.

Writers should be:

  • Currently working as an independent writer, editor or content producer
  • Able to contribute at least two long-form (~800-word-plus posts) essay-style pieces and one short-form (curated lists or multimedia-driven) posts per month
  • Dependable, consistent and turn around copy on time
  • Completely across trends in digital, creative, startups, marketing, web/mobile, city happenings, career hacking, productivity, work-life happiness, urban geekiness and so forth in their region
  • Not too into themselves and a lover of high accuracy – this isn’t the place for loosely-researched opinion pieces
  • Fun, intelligent and insightful – we like to educate and entertain
  • Set-up to take payment from a US Inc. (payment will range from $50 to $150 per post depending on length and time)

Please email the following through to kate@thefetch.com:

  • Your website, Twitter, LinkedIn and portfolio
  • Links to examples of your three best published articles
  • Three example headlines of stories you would submit
  • Thee examples of brands, startups or individuals doing great things in your area
  • Your location and what regional contributor spot you’d like (this needs to be within our current city regions viewable at thefetch.com)
  • Why you want to be a contributing writer at The Fetch

We look forward to reviewing them there! We’ll do our best to respond to all applications and appreciate your time. 🙂


Image credit: Marie Campbell

Interview: SF Local, Sandi MacPherson of Quibb — June 13, 2013

Interview: SF Local, Sandi MacPherson of Quibb

This week Eliza interviews the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Quibb.com, Sandi MacPherson. Follow Sandi on Twitter via @sandimac.

Sandi MacPherson
Sandi MacPherson

You are the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Quibb. What is it about your job that gets you out of bed and into the office every morning?

Sometimes when I tell people I’m working on a news product, they roll their eyes and say ‘…another one?’. That attitude is exactly what I think makes the job fun, interesting, and challenging. News is a busy space with no clear winner and it’s a huge market. It’s an established product category with a lot of room for innovating, and plenty of challenges to keep the work exciting.

Beyond that, it really is all about the people. I’ve spoken to so many Quibb members that have had really positive experiences (both online and offline) that wouldn’t have occurred without the product, and it’s amazing to be able to help those interactions occur and relationships develop. My experience with Quibb has also been a bit self-serving, in that I’ve built the perfect learning tool for myself. I’m new to the tech/startup world, and Quibb is a professional news product. This means that it allows me to easily find and read about exactly the topics, trends and news that I need everyday. The first thing I both need and want to check in the morning is Quibb, which is perfect!

Some would describe Quibb as a Reddit for professionals. Why do you think this kind of platform is so appealing? 

There’s so much content available to professionals (especially those of us that work in tech/startups) and it’s getting more and more difficult to find really great content. It’s even more difficult to have interesting discussions around that content with topic experts and professional peers. Through the simple idea of ‘share what you’re reading for work’, Quibb allows professionals to share all the great content they’re reading – and with a basic follower model, others can also get a feed packed full of great content, directly from people within their industry. The initial Quibb membership is focused on tech and startup professionals (i.e. designers, founders, VCs, developers), and will eventually allow professionals from any industry vertical to see what experts and thought leaders from their particular niche are reading and what they think about it.  The role of industry journals and trade publications hasn’t evolved at the same pace that social sharing has, and I think there’s a big opportunity to learn from sites and communities like Reddit, Tumblr, Hacker News, and others – but with a context that is 100% professional.

Do you think the popularity of news/content aggregation will continue to grow, and do you have any predictions for the future of the content sharing website?

There will always be a need for professional news. I believe that great content will win, irrespective of where it comes from.

Traditionally, news organizations have been about vertical integration of content, ads, and distribution. Now this ecosystem is becoming fragmented, where each of those 3 is its own ecosystem. Great content will increasingly find distribution because all of the aggregators and various curation products exist and are seeking that content out – they’re making it easier for people to find it

In the past, the editor-curated model was the most popular – someone within a news organization was responsible for determining (based on a variety of factors) which content to promote. Today, people are more enabled to seek out content that interests them. Running this experiment over the past few years, it turns out that sometimes this leads to more funny cat pictures and less serious journalism. The news market will grow and become more efficient over time. Similarly, I believe that we’ll create and people will find much richer and fragmented ways for both distributors and creators to monetize their audience via many different publishing platforms across many different monetization models.

All of this means that everything is becoming more complex… but that’s what an efficient marketplace looks like, that’s what progress in this space will look like.

You’ve been a leader in ensuring transparency between the Quibb and its users throughout the site’s development. What do you see as the benefits of transparency, and what advice would you give to young startups looking to be proactively transparent for their user base?

I’ve written lots of posts on Quibb – everything from why I’ve added new features, to explaining what I’m working on at the moment and why. Personally, I don’t really think of it as a novel approach, and don’t really understand why I wouldn’t act this way! Part of the reason why it makes sense specifically for Quibb (and potentially other products in this product category) is that the product itself is the members – it’s built on their connections, the content they share, the discussions they partake in. It would be silly for me to not initiate a relationship with the members. Also, I often say that I view all Quibb members as ‘mini-advisors’. My background isn’t related to tech or startups, while almost all Quibb members have expertise in an area that touches the product (e.g. interaction design, email deliverability, community management, etc.).

The fact that I’m so open is a way to initiate discussions with members whose opinions and thoughts I really value, and can learn a lot from as I try to make the product better.

You previously spent your career as a climate change and cleantech professional. What do you attribute as the cause for your move from the environmental sector to the startup world?

It’s complicated 🙂 I worked for Environment Canada (Canada’s federal environment department) directly out of school, followed by positions with a few smaller climate change non-profits. After realizing how hard it is to actually have an impact and create change through those types of organizations, I decided to go back to school and get my MBA, focusing on Corporate Social Responsibility. I was very disappointed when I realized that all of the things that I was learning about there wouldn’t be very impactful either. Since 1/2 an MBA is both useless and expensive, I decided to finish my 2nd year – but I shifted my classes to align with my personal Plan B, which had always been entrepreneurship, specifically something tech related. It’s then that I started going to some startup events in Toronto, and got a taste for all of the things I could potentially work on and create. I started by working on a professional volunteer matching product, but never made it very far. I realized pretty quickly that while the Toronto startup ecosystem is full of talented, super smart people – the quickest and easiest way to de-risk any idea or product that I would work on in the future would be to move to the valley. So I did.

Which Bay Area events or communities are you involved in?

Honestly, not very many. The community that has developed on Quibb has provided me with more connections with great tech and startup people than I could ever hope for! I’ve hosted a few Quibb member-only events too (one in Palo Alto, two in SF, and most recently one in NYC) which have gone over really well. I’m hoping to do more of these in the future, as I think that connecting with Quibb members that you meet online is really important, and helps to strengthen those relationships.

Blue Bottle or Philz?

New Orleans Iced Coffee from BB – straight black (…which I have to convince them to serve to me, most occasions).

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About our contributor // Eliza Dropkin is a lover of live music, good food, and beautiful places. Connect with her on Twitter via @elizadropkin.

Link Love Roundup — June 10, 2013

Link Love Roundup

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The next time you take a 10-minute break, check out these 10 reads we’ve gathered this week.

  1. Ignore The News by Stef Lewandowski
  2. On Online Communities, Burnout, & Feeling Like Not Enough by Meighan O’Toole
  3. Cutting The Bullshit by Chris Yeh
  4. Stop Trying To Be So Human by Gareth Kay
  5. We Are All Internet Addicts by Jared Keller
  6. Don’t Sell Your Time For A Living by Andrew Chen
  7. Email Is People by Whitney Hess
  8. Choose Collaboration Over Competition by Courtney Carver
  9. The Quiet Ones by Tim Kreider
  10. Beyond Money And Power by Arianna Huffington

Thanks to Melbourne Curator Kat Loughrey for link contribution. 

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