Age Is No Barrier


This has been an eventful day – up the SkyTower (my chosen venue to prepare for the William Dalrymple interview), a walk to Lionel  Shriver’s hotel so that I know where to go tomorrow and 45 minutes with  David Levithan reading from two of his books:  Will Grayson, Will Grayson and Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. What strikes me after just three Festival events is how multi-talented writers are. Not only is Levithan a writer of renown, but he is also a lively speaker and a kind man who responded to the questions from the young audience with sensitivity.

Truth to tell, it was hard to ignore the audience attending this event as the group immediately in front of us was made up of thirteen beautifully kitted out young students who arrived late, fussed terribly about who they were going to sit next to, took giggling to a whole new level – to the point where their teacher who had given up glaring at them actually (and I never thought I would see this) threw a book at them – well a notepad, but still.
They were responsive to the point of irritation yet it was clear to me that were loving every minute of Levithan’s racy dialogue and sexuality. When he read from Will Grayson, Will Grayson, they mimed the tender scene with the shoulder massage. They knew the book alright.

And here’s the thing, although Levithan’s books are classified as Young Adult he freely admits that he does not write with that specific age group in mind and instead sees age as a continuum. This made me feel much better about the fact that I am now determined to read some of his works – and we all know how old I am.

A strange thing is happening to me at the festival – doors that had remained resolutely closed, like children’s and young adult fiction are swinging wide open and refreshing blasts of newness are blowing my mind. The next bastion to fall will be Zombie books but I’m still holding firm on that. I’ll leave it there as Bronwyn will be giving you more detailed coverage of this event and the interview that she is having with Levithan even as I tap away at the keyboard in my room.

10 thoughts on “Age Is No Barrier

  1. Sandra 13 May 2010 / 3:53 pm

    If you want a really good young adult read try Thornspell.

  2. janna russo 13 May 2010 / 5:19 pm

    Thanks for the interesting, humourous and informative blog Roberta. Brings to mind my Science teacher in the 70s who threw dusters around the room like missiles….

    • robertafsmith 13 May 2010 / 6:13 pm

      Did one ever hit you? Great to hear from you on the blog – look forward to more comments – especially if you don’t agree!

  3. Chris B 13 May 2010 / 5:37 pm

    Well Done Roberta!

  4. Chris JAFA B 13 May 2010 / 6:10 pm

    Fab report – What’s the best cocktail bar in town?

  5. Allison 13 May 2010 / 6:34 pm

    You’re certainly breaking new boundaries. Loved your description of the unruly arrivals. Good luck with Lionel Shriver Can’t wait!

  6. Elspeth 14 May 2010 / 9:34 am

    Great to hear that there were some young folk attending. I’m sure this will inspire them to further reading.How about a skydive from the Auckland Tower just to make the trip more memorable? Have a great time.

    • robertafsmith 14 May 2010 / 10:19 am

      I do not have a head for heights, was nervous even to be near the window! I can’t even blame my age for this, I was always a womble about this type of thing! So great to connect with you on the blog.

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