There is a bug doing the rounds and I have got it again. No worries though, because this is The Festival Bug and it is a good bug – strikes once, lasts forever and engenders feelings of terrific euphoria. What is more, you can get it too!
This time it is The Press Christchurch Writers Festival that has me all a-twitter. I learnt that I was to be part of the library team covering this event whilst sitting in a hot, dark, funky little internet cafe in Durban with a backdrop of blaring township rap.
In the mood to celebrate my good news, I bounced out of the cafe and straight up to Musgrave Centre where I sat myself down with a cappuccino and my best holiday read – the latest Barbara Trapido novel – Sex and Stravinsky. Famous for her first book Brother of the More Famous Jack, I cannot wait to meet this author at the Christchurch Festival. We grew up in the same city, lived in the same suburb, attended the same University and studied in the same faculty. Then she went on to become rich and famous. Say No More.
It was then that I was struck by how often I have read books in the places where they are set. And we are not talking Lonely Planet travel guides here either, but books like The Bone People by Keri Hulme which I read while on holiday at Okarito and The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, read in the atmosphere of Norwich Cathedral. A large part of Sex and Stravinsky is set in Durban and I had a clear view from the coffee shop of the very escalator that is mentioned on page 148 in the book. Talk about being in the right place at the right time. I am curious to know if any of you have experienced this with books and how it affected you?
The festival has a great line-up and Atlantic: The Biography of an Ocean by Simon Winchester is also high on my list. In the spirit of reading books on-site I asked Greg how he felt about a little Atlantic cruise, with me on deck sipping G&T’s whilst paging through Winchester’s book. His look said it all. I am lucky apparently, but not that lucky!