Observations from the 2016 New Zealand Festival Writers Week
- Every person I sat beside had a fit bit thingy instead of a watch.
- Science sells – by far the biggest attendance at any of the sessions I went to was at Adam Rutherford (no relation). The person I sat beside there went to sleep immediately and stayed that way for the entire hour. Perhaps her fit bit was able to tell her if it was REM sleep or not.
- Some sessions featured Sleater-Kinney T-shirts and Lea DeLaria haircuts, most did not.
Things some of the writers love
- Ted Dawe loves librarians – “they are my heroes”. He was reading A Little Life and he couldn’t put it down. On the strength of this recommendation I bought it at Wellington Airport and now I can’t put it down but sometimes I can’t hold it either, due to sobbing.
- Cornelia Funke loves David Almond and Neil Gaiman and The Once and Future King. Her favourite movie is Pan’s Labyrinth.
- Sally Gardner loves The Great Gatsby – “one of the great tragedies” – and Meg Rosoff and Holes.
- Mariko Tamaki – Alice Munro and Stitches and Margaret Atwood – “every man should read The Handmaid’s Tale“.
Good things some of the writers said
The power of a story teller is to build a shelter. (Cornelia Funke)
A geneticist is a ‘gel jockey’ and origin of life research is a fractious field full of people who hate each other (Adam Rutherford)
There is nothing better than a painful childhood for a creative life (Mariko Tamaki)
- Joe Bennett resisted the impulse to bow down before C K Stead, the Poet Laureate, when they shared a lift.
- I resisted the urge to ask Joe Bennett “How did it go Joe?” when passing him as he left his sold out session.
- When you ask a question, care about the answer – not how clever you are being when you ask it.