I should explain that there are 2 sessions happening simultaneously throughout each day, and what I am describing here are the sessions that I attended.
Session 1- In Conversation, Peter Carey with Matthew Condon
The focus of this conversation was really on Peter Carey's latest novel HIS ILLEGAL SELF. Condon began by reading the first paragraph of a complimentary New York Times Review (which I have not been able to find - it certainly wasn't this one)
Carey admitted that some of the novel is based on his own experiences of living on a commune in Queensland 30 years ago.
This is the first of his novels with American characters and that worried him at first. Eventually in the process of writing, he forgot to worry.
Carey believes that readers plug their own imagination into a book, and experience things that the writer never envisaged. He says the glory of writing fiction is to enter worlds you did not know. Writers are magicians - we don't always know where things have come from. The reader's disappointment may be the author's moment of blinding triumph. (referring to the ending of OSCAR & LUCINDA)
Other sites to look at
- Blog posting over on Matilda
- Sydney Morning Herald review
- On The Age
- Katharine England's review
- Deborah Bogle's review
- Random House Promo of HIS ILLEGAL SELF
Graham Tulloch is professor of English at Flinders University and a specialist on Sir Walter Scott, James Hogg and Robert Louis Stevenson. In the 19th century, Graham's specialist area, Scottish writing had its own voice, which included dialect and dialogue, and references to Scottish history.
Denise Mina told us that crime writing is enormous in Scotland with many female writers.
James Meek said that Scottish writing in recent decades has been characterised by wave after wave of new writers who have re-defined the genres.
Session 3 - Book Launch - THE DRESSMAKER'S DAUGHTER by Kate Llewellyn
See News Review
Kate Llewellyn's #19 book, a memoir, but not a conventional success story, rather an illustration of an uneven movement through life, full of arresting images. Tumby Bay girl, poet, one woman's story, in many ways the story of many South Australian women.
Session 4 - Meet the author: Barry Jones
The Hon. Dr Barry Jones is a writer, broadcaster and former Labor member of both the State and Federal parliaments. He was Australia’s longest serving Science Minister (1983–90) and served as National President of the Australian Labor Party from 1992 to 2000 and again in 2005– 06. He is a Vice Chancellor’s Fellow at Melbourne University and serves on six medical research boards. His biography A Thinking Reed was published in 2006.
As always Barry was entertaining. National Living Treasure, ex-quiz champion, ex-president of the Australian Labor Party, Barry believes his politics came from his childhood in post-depression Australia. Writing his autobiography A THINKING REED was most difficult and most painful. He strongly believes in the importance of seeking knowledge, internalising it, and then disseminating it.
Barry believes (like Peter Carey) that no two people read a book the same way. Some tell him that they have found A THINKING REED hilarious, and some have found it "anguish from beginning to end."
Barry was never exactly sure who the target of his book was - not sure that the primary audience wasn't himself. He thinks he was too political to be an intellectual, and too intellectual to be accepted as a politician.
His talk ended with an affirmation that he is after all a political person, and demonstrated why he is still a national living treasure.