I got on the bus only to find I had left my current reading (FAN MAIL by P.D. Martin) at home, so had to resort to the book tent on arrival. There I bought A MAN'S GOT TO HAVE A HOBBY by William McInnes. In her review my friend Sunnie described it as a "feel-good" book, and 45 pages in, I can affirm that. It's sub-title is Long summers with my dad and it is a collection of anecdotes from William's childhood about his family and his father in particular. I grew up in a country town and can easily visualise the incidents he describes. No wonder it has been a hit. It's a cross between Nino Culotta's THEY'RE A WEIRD MOB, and Alan Marshall's I CAN JUMP PUDDLES, and soemthing that is quite uniquely William McInnes. Give it to your Dad for his next birthday, borrow it from your library, or, best of all, read it yourself.
The freeby that attended my purchase of A MAN'S GOT TO HAVE A HOBBY was two-fold. First of all book bag (hessian with shoulder straps to put my purchase in), and then a copy of TALES FROM THE LOWLANDS, edited by Joed Elich and Malou Nozeman, an anthology of Dutch Writers who have appeared at Adelaide Writers Week 1988-2008. It contains 11 stories selected by the Dirk Hartog Foundation, and distributed free due to the "generous support of the Dutch embassy in Canberra." The cover appears to be a photo of the Australian Bight. The writers include Cees Nooteboom, Arnon Grunberg, Adriaan van Dis, Tessa de Loo, Margriet de Moor, Helga Ruebsamen, Lolo Houbein, Tim Krabbé, Moses Isegawa, Stefan Hertmans and Marcel Möring.
For those who don't know of the Dutch connection with Australia, Terra Australis was on the route of Dutch merchant ships on their way to the East Indies from the late 1500s. The idea was to come around the Cape of Good Hope, strike out to the east, and then carefully judge when to turn north. Sometimes they made a mistake, came too far east, went too far south, or simply managed to scrape along the coast of Western Australia. On their maps Terra Australis Incognita, was a coastline being filled in, and became known as New Holland. When Dirk Hartog's ship was stranded on Houtmann's Abrolhos in 1616 he left behind, nailed to a tree, a pewter plate with an inscription.
South Australia's first encounter with the Dutch appears to have been explorer Pieter Nuyts, who came about 1500km too far east in search of Batavia, turning around about Streaky Bay. Dutch names serve as reminders on our coastline.
It is generally agreed that Gulliver's land of Lilliput is actually this area, that Jonathon Swift based his choice of location on Nuyts' map of 1627.
AWW takes place in 2 very large and open tents, with seats also outdoors under shady trees, and I estimate there was probably in excess of 3,000 people there today. The temperature was promised to be 34C and while we came home before it reached that, it was warm enough.
The audience today were really roughly the retired, ex-teachers, intellectuals, writers, readers, and a sprinkling of university students. Most people my age are now retired, so that is probably the category I am in, but some like me (still working) will have taken holidays to coincide with the week.
The mild-mannered jostling for seats in between sessions is amusing to watch, unless of course you are one of those looking for one. Once you have found one, you might, like me, you may find that the white plastic chairs do not allow for much overhang...
Article on opening day in Sydney Morning Herald.
Writer's Week News - Adelaide Advertiser
Short List for AWW awards
$15,000 Award for Children's Literature
Don't Call Me Ishmael (Michael Gerard Bauer, Omnibus)
$15,000 Award for Fiction
The Ballad of Desmond Kale (Roger McDonald, Vintage)
$10,000 Award for Innovation
Someone Else: Fictional Essays (John Hughes, Giramondo)
$15,000 Award for Nonfiction
Sunrise West (Jacob G Rosenberg, Brandl & Schlesinger)
$15,000 John Bray Poetry Award
Urban Myths: 210 Poems (John Tranter, UQP)
$10,000 Jill Blewett Playwright's Award for the Creative
Merger â€“ art, life and the other thing (Duncan Graham)
$10,000 Award for an Unpublished Manuscript by a SA Emerging Writer
The Second Fouling Mark (Stephen Orr)
In addition, John Tranter won the South Australian Premier's Award for his poetry collection, Urban Myths: 210 Poems.