One of the writers I really wanted to hear at the recent Adelaide Writers’ Week was Nicholas Drayson (pictured above).
He has worked as a journalist in Australia, Kenya and the United Kingdom. He was a professional student for many years and so he has a string of degrees in an interesting array of disciplines. He has worked in the Australian National Museum and some of his works can often be categorized as nature writing.
Just over a year ago I bought a copy of his gloriously humorous book, A guide to the birds of East Africa: a novel. With a title like that I just had to read it, not realising that, despite it being a romping good yarn, it is a love story, albeit with a twist or three, not to mention some mysteries. I reviewed this book here.
Until I listened to Nicholas at Writers’ Week I hadn’t realised that he had written several other novels, including Love and the Platypus and Confessing a murder. After his intriguing and highly entertaining address – he even sang a wonderful song about the bumble bee – I raced to the Book Tent and purchased his book Love and the platypus which I then proceeded to line up for him to sign. Katharine England, book reviewer for our local daily paper “The Advertiser”, was lined up behind me. I struck up a conversation with her, telling her that on the strength of her review of A guide I went to buy it. She had also chaired the session with Nicholas.
I can’t wait to have the time to read his other books.
Adelaide Writers’ Week 2010
Last week I attended three days of the week long Adelaide Writers Week. This biennial event is an integral part of the Adelaide Festival of Arts here in South Australia, one of the leading such festivals of its kind in the world. The list of guest speakers is often a who’s who of the writing world. This time was no exception and the impressive parade of talented writers throughout the week was very inspiring. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
But where were the writers for children?
They were conspicuous by their almost total absence.
Only Markus Zusak could be said to be a writer for children – a debatable point as his audience is best described as Young Adult.
Australia has an impressive number of world class writers for children. They lead the world in their chosen field. They are acknowledged around the globe for their talent and many outsell their adult counterparts. Why, then are they totally ignored festival after festival?
Is this a case of literary snobbery on the part of the organising committee? Or ignorance?
Adelaide Writers’ Week 2010
On the first morning of this year’s Adelaide Writers’ Week I was suddenly struck by the importance of the opening session. The panel on stage was a who’s who of Australian literature. Chair of the session was novelist David Malouf. The keynote speaker was novelist and historian Tom Keneally. The chairman of the Writers’ Week Advisory committee was South African born but now Adelaide resident, novelist and Nobel Prize for Literature winner John Coetzee. And finally there was renowned poet Tom Shapcott, who received the honour of the whole week being dedicated to him. His latest book of poetry was launched soon after the opening.
What a line up of talented, prominent writers!
It was inspiring to be in the company of such eminent men of letters.
Some things really rile me. They get under my skin and irritate me like the itch of a hundred mosquito bites.
Today is a public holiday throughout South Australia for the running of the Adelaide Cup.
Ridiculous if you ask me.
The Adelaide Cup is, at best, a second rate horse race when compared to say the Melbourne Cup. It interests only a few thousand people and for that a whole state grinds to a halt. It just shows how morally bankrupt our state has become. It is a ridiculous excuse for a holiday in an era when our state should be doing everything possible to be productive.
But then – the same thing could be said of many of our public holidays.
I hope you have a wonderful day, and if you live here in SA, enjoy your break.
Last week I attended three days of the six day Adelaide Writers’ Week. This is an important and integral part of the Adelaide Festival of Arts held every two years. This festival attracts readers and writers from all over Australia, as well as a glittering gathering of international writers who come as guest speakers. Each day starts at 9:30am and runs until 6pm so it is quite a marathon effort for organisers and attendees as well. The sessions are all free (except for several evening sessions in the Town Hall). The sessions vary from panel discussions on writing, reading and literature through to book launches and meet-the-author opportunities.
Three large marquees are set up in the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Gardens a five minute walk from the CBD. The East Tent and the West Tent host sessions concurrently while the Book Tent is housed in another tent in between. This shop features books written only by authors present on the programme. All authors are available for book signings too.
On the first day of the festival there was a special session to announce the winners of the Festival Awards for Literature. This was done by the Premier of South Australia, Mike Rann. In all there are ten awards ranging from plays, children’s books, non-fiction to unpublished manuscripts. The cash awards are very generous and I applaud the state government for supporting our writers in this way. May it continue.