As a very innocent and new minted teenage reporter, a now defunct newspaper sent me to interview a famous concert pianist. I can’t remember what I asked or wrote but I do remember shaking his hand and receiving the most terrible limp handshake. Of course the poor man was probably protecting his livelihood but it really threw me at the time.
Now I’m one of the excited, nervous, lucky people going to Auckland Writers and Readers Festival 2010 and I’m hoping like heck all the literary luminaries I might get to interview are nice to me. I’ve put my name in the hat to interview Thomas Keneally, Colm Toibin, Sarah Thornton, John Carey and Tui Flower among others – phew. Two famous writers I admire very much, a writer on contemporary art for the Economist, the Emeritus Merton Professor of English at Oxford and a pioneer of New Zealand food writers. I feel a panic-stricken ummm coming on if I’m in the same room asking questions.
So lots of reading and preparation beforehand. All those people who are taking the five book challenge – I’m sort of doing a festival five challenge. I’ll be out of my comfort zone writing for you the discerning blog audience, interviewing some of the big names, reading some of the books beforehand, going to a work in progress public reading of a new play (Dave Armstrong’s General Ward) and doing justice to all that I see and hear at the festival in the audio roundups.
One of the books I’ve read for the festival is John Freeman’s Shrinking the World; the 4,000 year story of how email came to rule our lives. I thought it was going to be a bit dry but I persevered and it made me think a lot about communicating in the age of Twitter, email, Stalkerbook (sorry Facebook – I got that from my family) and txting.
If anyone has questions you would like me to ask my interviewees please let me know.