Friday, September 2, 2016

Melbourne Writers Festival 2016

People in glass houses...should still read well
This week was the Melbourne Writers Festival.

For me, it began with a conversation in the Dumbo Feather caravan, chatting about The Art of Reading and Philosophy in the Garden in their gorgeous mobile cafe. If you get the chance, do drop in.
Caravan of courage conversation
Next was "Why I Read" with actor and author Magda Szubanski, chaired by Antoni Jach. The event, held at Federation Square's light-filled Deakin Edge theatre, was sold out--a nice high-five for readers and reading.

HUNDREDS OF READERS NOT READING (Photo: Text)
We spoke about our childhood reading. I mentioned The Magic Faraway Tree, with its adventure without authority (echoes of philosophy there), maturing into Sherlock Holmes and Batman. The Victorian detective helped me see myself as a reader, the World's Greatest Detective as something hopeless but perhaps beautiful.

"And when I do this, it means I"m Batman..." (Photo: Text)
We touched briefly on the bible (no love there from Magda), the huge worth of libraries and librarians (to rightful applause from the crowd), the moral power of Tolstoy's War and Peace, and so much more.

Antoni chaired the panel deftly with his usual erudition and enthusiasm, and Magda was a charming and generous interlocutor. All in all, a lovely way to spend an afternoon.

Thanks, as always, to Lisa Dempster and the MWF gang for their hospitality. Special thanks to the MWF volunteers, who really do make things easier and more relaxed.

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