Anticipation (2)

Some may feel I have exceeded my Don McGlashan mentions for the year and now it’s just getting creepy  but surely anyone who has a ticket to one of his sold-out shows at the New Zealand International Festival of the Arts is entitled to a bit of a gloat. Or a lot of a gloat. So gloat gloat gloat.

The New Zealand Post Writers and Readers Week 15 event Concession Pass is a good deal but it does mean I’m seeing a lot of people I haven’t read. Still, Arts Festivals are not about sticking with what you know you like, they’re about finding new things to like. Or loathe, so you can feel superior to fellow festival-goers who were impressed by some crashing bore you saw through immediately.

In the already like category:

  • Chloe Hooper. The tall man is one of those books read with a mounting sense of horror but a fierce desire to know what happens next. It is the story of Cameron Domagee, who died in police custody on Palm Island, one of Australia’s biggest remote Aboriginal communities. Hooper manages to get far beyond the bald facts of the news story to the reality of the lives endured in this place “15 minutes from the mainland…in a Third World part of the country”.
  • Audrey Niffenegger. On a far more superficial level I’ll be restraining myself from coming over all Joan Rivers when she was still allowed on the Red Carpet and shouting ‘who are you wearing’ at that fabulous red-head (if she still is one) .  Her fearful symmetry contains the immortal line” How can you be bored? You live in London! You’re breathing the same air as the Queen and Vivienne Westwood!” Do Her Majesty and Viv occupy the same level in the Niffenegger  pantheon? Does she consider the novel to be deeply immoral, as a Christchurch City Libraries colleague does? Should these questions be asked if the opportunity arises?
  • Susanna Moore.  The festival programme talks about the women in Moore’s novel’s negotiating “twilight worlds of sex and identity”. In the cut and The big girls were very sexual and more dead of night than twilight. It’s really difficult but fascinating to imagine what Moore will be like in the flesh.
  • Charlotte Grimshaw. Always provides a nice little shiver when anticipating just how prickly she might be.
  • Emily Perkins. Where does she store her internal organs in that tiny frame?

The fine art of fiction – the writer’s adventure playground

coverFive very different writers will open the New Zealand Post Writers and Readers festival at the Embassy Theatre tonight. We’ll be bringing you a report of the action (as seen from the comfort of seat 569) later tonight. It promises to be a writer’s adventure playground: scrambling across form, genre, character and voice to get a glimpse of how these writers approach their work.

  • Kamila Shamsie wrote Burnt shadows, which was short-listed for the Orange Prize. Born in Pakistan in 1973, she  splits her time between Karachi and London. Shamsie says she “always wanted to be a writer – it’s an inextricable part of my life”.
  • Audrey Niffenegger is an American author whose popular novel The Time Traveler’s Wife has recently been made into a movie.
  • Gil Adamson hails from Canada, and wrote The Outlander, which has been billed as a ‘literary western’.
  • Thriller writer and scriptwriter for Spooks television series Neil Cross will hopefully read from his book Burial, but might talk about the memoir he has written, Heartland.
  • Chloe Hooper has had to stay in Australia – no word on her replacement yet.
  • Kate de Goldi – a reliable narrator if ever there was one for an event like this -will take the chair.

If there’s a burning question you’ve got please share it, otherwise look out for tonight’s report and whet your appetite with some of the images on our photostream.

Words, between the lines of age

One of the great things about the New Zealand Post Writers and Readers Week is the way it makes people interact with words. From yesterday’s Once Upon a Deadline to the two-metre cube that sits in Civic Square to the large literary quotes dotted around the city, there are words everywhere. Not that surprising  for a town that runs on paper, but refreshing to see so much writing on display.

NZ Post are also running a competition at I’ll be posting a few entries this week – why not have a go yourself? Here’s my first effort:

Sizzle me hopeless love,
send my skin a spinning
Simple joke burns home
close, rare, dark, uncomfortable

You’ll see the weekly and monthly winners on the Inspiring words site.