Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Sydney Writers' Festival 2015

At the podium, day two
Last week I was a guest at the Sydney Writers' Festival. A four-day program with twenty-two sessions, my schedule was unusually busy.

My humble schedule
I again hosted the 'Curiosity' lecture series. This is an intellectual yum cha, offering audiences a taste of varied ideas: dinosaurs and cinema, archaeology of Cambodia (and climate change), pandemics, non-monogamy, Elvis' hips and the primal in music, and more.

Festival-goers could drop into the Pier 2/3 stage, grab a coffee or wine, and nibble on facts, theories, impressions and stories.

My highlights were:
Podcasts of all the lectures will be available soonish.

While most of my time was taken by the 'Curiosity' lectures, I was able to briefly say hello to Claire Tomalin, author of the excellent Jane Austen: A Life. I draw on her biography in my Philosophy in the Garden (Voltaire's Vine in the UK), and it was gratifying to finally thank Claire for her work. Apparently her life of Dickens is outstanding.

Devo ninjas: with Krissy Kneen
I also had some excellent chats with Andy GriffithsKrissy Kneen and Anthony Mullins, David Henley and Alice Grundy, and Antoni Jach. Ariane Beeston endured a graphic vasectomy primer from me and James Fry.

And on Saturday night: a gobsmacking Thai dinner in Surry Hills with James Bradley and Mardi McConnochieGeordie Williamson and Frances Williamson, Ashley Hay and Nigel Beebe, and Delia Falconer and Richard Harling. If you ever need an explosion of critical loquacity, do ask Geordie about Australian hip-hop. Never follow Ashley into a shipping crate.

Man and marker at market
My twenty-one hosting gigs over, on Sunday I dropped into Dymocks Books in George Street, and signed some copies of My Nanna is a Ninja and My Pop is a Pirate.

It turns out Dymocks in Sydney is enormous, and also has a stationery shop, which led to some unintentional reinvestment in the bookshop industry.

My final Sydney Writers' Festival event was Sunday afternoon: a reading of my kids' books in the cosy Enid Blyton clubhouse.

Pirate and tiny buccaneers

No comments: