Recent necrology, April 2012

coverA list of notable people who have died recently

  • John Arden, 1930-2012
    Playwright best known for Serjeant Musgrave’s Dance whose works often left audiences baffled
  • John Birch, 1929-2012
    Cathedral organist who commissioned Leonard Bernstein to compose his celebrated Chichester Psalms
  • Christine Brooke-Rose, 1923-2012
    Experimental novelist who translated German decrypts at Bletchley Park but left her own readers puzzled
  • Harry Crews, 1935-2012
    Former bartender and jailbird who wrote gritty novels about America’s freaks and outcasts
  • Levon Helm, 1943-2012
    American rock multi-instrumentalist and actor who achieved fame as the drummerand frequent lead and backing vocalist for The Band
  • William McAloon, 1969-2012
    One of NZ’s greatest art writers, curators and art historians
  • Miss Read, 1913-2012
    Writer who delighted post-war readers with nostalgic tales of village life
  • Grant Tilly, 1937-2012
    Kiwi actor and artist Grant Tilly, well known for his stage and TV roles

Grand adventures

Oh how I envy you! Not everyone has the chance to face the unspeakable terrors of the great unknown …

It really is the last minute now – the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival proper starts on Thursday night with a Gala evening, and before that the schools’ programme is presenting two whole days for kids and teens, with a brilliant line-up of national and international talent.

I’m lucky enough to be going up early to cover the schools’ programmes, and I’m really looking forward to starting off Wednesday morning with a session featuring bestselling Irish author Eoin Colfer, creator of Artemis Fowl, evil boy genius, closely followed by an interview with the man himself.

Over the course of Wednesday and Thursday, I’m also checking out sessions with Emily Rodda, Paula Morris, Oliver Jeffers, Hinemoana Baker, Anthony McCarten, Fleur Beale, and a whole lot of other multi-talented writers, poets and performers.  And that’s all before the main Festival even starts on Thursday night.  It’s no wonder that Owl’s song from the Disney movie Pooh’s Grand Adventure has been constantly in my head for the last few weeks.

Today’s the day – in only a matter of moments we’ll all be on our way.  What lurks around the corner not a soul can say; but I can guess, more or less: hidden dangers, great duress … Ah, the moment of glory is close at hand – It’s gonna be grand!

Right, I’m off to finish packing my bag, checking my notes, making sure I know where all the sessions are, AND leaving you with these final words from Owl:

That’s the beauty of adventure, the trembling and the dread!  Oh I can’t think of another thing I’d rather do instead …