Novel ideas from novelists

Rachael KingThe Press Christchurch Writers Festival event A novel idea at Christchurch Arts Festival was a corker. Author (and Christchurch Writers Festival literary director) Rachael King talked to novelists Stephanie Johnson, Sarah Laing, and Carl Nixon.

The authors read from their latest books. It worked well; each author was quite different in style and personality. They also had a lot to say about the creative process of writing.

Here are some quotable quotes:

There are more people writing novels than buying the bloody things. (Rachael)

Writing novels is like being a piece of fly paper. (Sarah)

Novels enable you to inhabit another person’s space … your own personality becomes richer and more informed. (Carl)

It is good to be struggling to find time to write. (Stephanie)

I have the rhythm of stories in my head. (Sarah)

Writers should have a really good bullshit detector. (Stephanie)

How about a quote from a character in a novel? Here’s Merle, from Stephanie’s novel The writing class:

The beauty of the novel in full sail will never be lost even though we are choking in a plume of electrical soot.

Sarah Laing, Carl Nixon and Stephanie Johnson

Cover of The Writing Class Cover of The virgin and the whale  Cover of The fall of light

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Lloyd Jones, I am ready to be heartbroken

Photo of Lloyd JonesLloyd Jones is talking about A history of silence, his memoir, on Wednesday 11 September.  This is a Press Christchurch Writers Festival event at the Christchurch Arts Festival. I’m going and hopefully will see plenty of you are too.  Why? Because Lloyd is one of New Zealand’s top writers. And also because has written about us Christchurchy people and our earthquake experiences as well as himself.  Text Publishing says:

A History of Silence is a book about a country and a broken landscape. It’s about the devastation in Christchurch, after the 2011 earthquake. It’s about how easily we erase stories we find inconvenient.

Cover of Mister PipLloyd is also in the news as the movie version of his popular Mister Pip (starring Hugh Laurie) is about to hit cinemas.

I didn’t know we had an interview with him!

Do you have a nickname and if so what is it?
As a kid I was known as ‘Jones the bag of bones’!
What was your most embarrassing moment?
There are too many to remember. Covering Philip Rush’s Cook Strait swim as a reporter, and eating by mistake his bananas and biscuits rates highly.

I’d recommend also reading a pair of excellent recent interviews in The Age and The Press.

More Lloydia

PS The title of this post derives from a favourite song (by Camera Obscura) Lloyd, I’m ready to be heartbroken which is an answer song to Lloyd Cole’s Are you ready to be heartbroken? A whole lotta Lloyd.

A night at the opera

cover of Imagining Don GiovanniI’m off to the opera! I haven’t been to a live opera for a long time so it will be a special occasion. The bonus is that it is my favourite opera Don Giovanni.

Rather to my surprise my daughter expressed an interest in going. Somehow these days I think of opera as a grey hairs preserve. It is often expensive to go to and doesn’t get much exposure to younger people. This is a shame as the music is beautiful and the stagings are often spectacular. Also the days of “messy sopranos” of large size are well gone. Opera stars are pretty glamorous – think Teddy Tahu Rhodes (sigh). Kiri Te Kanawa was stunning in the Joseph Losey movie of Don Giovanni  and continued to fly the flag for glamorous divas. Who can forget that outfit at the royal wedding as she warbled Let the bright seraphim. Now she is about to star as Dame Nellie Melba in Downton Abbey.

Kiwis have made a strong contribution to international opera over the years – we  have many recordings. Here are just a few:

Don Giovanni is a fabulous opera. I was seduced by Joseph Losey’s film version. I’d recommend watching that if you can get it. Since then I have listened to the music many times and watched the film over as well. That is one of the joys of opera – there are many DVDs of different stage performances and we have a large selection at our libraries.

The venue this time is the CBS Canterbury Arena, not the most sympathetic perhaps but the time is not that far away when the Theatre Royal will again be available for performances.

Of all the beautiful operatic arias do you have a favourite? Is there one opera which stands out for you?