Matera Women's Fiction FestivalI’m writing this in advance, as I’ll have my hands full attending the annual Matera Women’s Fiction Festival when this is posted. This is my third year attending, so I know what an (enjoyable) hectic pace it is.

Here’s what I’ll be doing when this goes on-line:

First, I’ll be busy eating and drinking well. This is Italy, and Basilicata, like every region in Italy, is proud of its local culinary traditions and wines. What kind of visitor would I be if I didn’t try them out? I almost got lynched in a Matera bakery a few years back when I asked for ‘Altamura bread’, named for a small town in Puglia and known by this name throughout Italy. The owners and customers educated me about the fact that in town it is ‘Matera bread’, and you can be sure I’ve never made the same mistake twice.

Matera, ItalySecond, I’ll be out exploring beautiful Matera, as I do every year. That means walking up and down lots of stairs (which is particularly good after all the eating and drinking).

Third, I’ll be meeting lots of fantastic writers, translators and readers and discussing books and writing. That, in itself, makes it worth the trip (but #1 and #2 aren’t bad incentives either).

Fourth, I’ll be learning lots at the various seminars: How the industry is changing, the shifting role of literary agents, digital promotion, e-presses, screenwriting for novelists, self-publishing, everything about poisons and murder for thriller writers, and revision tips. I’ll be sure to share the highlights with you when I’m back!

And fifth, I’ll be live-pitching to literary agents and small presses. I did this the first time last year, and really enjoyed it. This year, I decided to add more pitch sessions, and to complicate matters by pitching two separate novels, the first to one set of agents and the second to another, depending on their preferences. It’s either an incredibly brilliant strategy or an incredibly stupid one. I’ll find out soon enough… : )

So, readers – warm greetings from the Matera Women’s Fiction Festival. If you’re women writers or female or male writers of women’s fiction – hope to meet you in person next year in Matera.