Last week I travelled to New South Wales' southern coast for the inaugural Kiama Readers Festival. I was invited to launch the festival, talking about The Art of Reading.
I arrived in the afternoon, and shuffled off to the surf beach for a dip. Tenderised and salted by the waves, I air-dried, cleaned up, grabbed a sushi plate, then headed to my gig.
The library quickly filled and, after an awards ceremony for local writers, I gave my talk. I began with the hunger of Albert Camus: for sea, sun, food, adventure -- and reading. My point was simply that reading is not merely a cognitive pursuit; not somehow opposed to the pleasures of physicality. The same joy of life seeks games and pages.
I then discussed the value of reading, and the importance of the reader's responsibility: without us, the texts are just lumps of paper and ink, or glass and plastic. We have to render these worlds -- and do it well. This introduced virtues of reading, and I spoke of two: courage and curiosity.
After some good questions from the audience, I signed books for a while, sipped some shiraz, collapsed into my cabin, then flew home the next morning.
An all-too-brief introduction to a gorgeous town. Many thanks to everyone from the Festival (including Ken, who picked me up), and congratulations to Michelle Hudson.