A promising start to the Melbourne Writers' Festival. The morning session had publishers, editors and a literary agent up on stage with three first-time writers relating the route they took to successful publication. They sure spelt out the hard road ahead yet gave some useful hints and pointers - enough to emerge encouraged rather than daunted. I by-passed the afternoon session, which promised more of the same but this time for newspaper, magazine and feature writers with which I have already had my fill. Today, it's lunch with some of the visiting authors at the North Fitzroy Star pub. Not sure who will turn up so it could a lively lunch or as dreary as Dullsville.