Literary speed daters speak

Over the weekend we hosted two literary speed dating events on Friday and Saturday night. Both nights were busy with flirts and folios flying. Where else would you be able to hear a newly met couple saying “Do you really like Tim Winton?”

One male participant who works in a book shop told us on the way out that he “had a blast. I’d never done anything like it before and I went in with some trepidation, but everyone was very open and it was lots of fun.” While he sat down opposite a dozen women with very different books, he found that while he may not have read all the books he was able to talk about most of them. “I’m lucky in a bookstore that no-one brought a book that I hadn’t heard of so even when I hadn’t read it I could ask some questions about it.” And he left optimistic about hearing from some of his dates. He said “I hope to. I have no idea if they’ve chosen me so I’ll just wait for an email or not.”

Veteran dater and Emerging Writers Festival director Lisa Dempster blogged about her dates. When faced with the end of the night scorecard, she “had a bit of a meltdown”. The scorecard asked whether you wanted to see each date again either romantically, platonically or not at all. Dempster writes “I was ridiculously weirded out by putting romantic options down but after a stern talking-to from Michael Williams (‘take a chance on romance’, ‘be bold!’, ‘if you feel a little spark then put your heart on the line’)… I ticked a few boxes!”

As head of programming at the Wheeler Centre, Williams is already looking forward to the next event. “We will be offering a same-sex dating night. This weekend reinforced the idea that the best events allow for the most participation. We’re thrilled by the success of Literary Speed Dating and look forward to more in the future.”