Saturday, September 15, 2007

Brisbane Writers Festival

Today we went to the Brisbane Writers (no apostrophe) Festival. I think this is the first time we haven't tried to drag the Noodle along since the week before he was born, except for the time I chaired a session at the school's section last year, and that was only because it coincided with a kindy day. He spent today with his Nana instead, and we have carrot cakes to prove it.

The highlight (apart from being unemcumbered by a resentful and hot baby/toddler/pre-schooler) was Damon Galgut. I never read The Good Doctor, but I can tell you I will as soon as possible, which will be when we get to Canberra and unpack all the books. A pleasant side effect is the reduction of the 'I hate all my stuff' feelings I've been having all week as I pack it away into boxes. Wanting something out of one of the boxes reminds me that I will want all of the stuff again at some stage. But Damon Galgut was not only good because he's solved one of my domestic anxieties, oh no. He was serious, considered, thoughtful and reflective, without once being dull. The fellow interviewing him got a bit stuck on the difference between personal and political experience in novels (feminism must have passed him by I guess), and he also kept 'yepping', 'mm-hmming' and interrupting before Galgut was finished. This was irritating, so I ignored him by writing a novel in my head (which was great because I got to imagine killing off my teenage nemesis in a car crash, which is something I haven't done since I was actually a teenager. It was fun, I recommend it).

The launch of the David Unaipon winner for 2006 was also a highlight, because the book, Me, Antman and Fleabag, is so hilarious. The story about Aunty Pearlie, and the one about the mum and dad going on a luxury train trip are some of the funniest things I've ever read. I first heard Gayle Kennedy read them on Radio National earlier in the year, and my husband was laughing so hard that he almost had to pull over and park the car.

Otherwise I listened to my excellent poet friend Carmen Keates read some of her work, which was filled with the most unexpected and perfect metaphors. She is a metaphor queen, no doubt. I can't wait until she gets her work published.

This year I did not embarrass myself in front of any famous authors, and even when introduced to David Malouf I just said 'pleased to meet you' in a quiet and polite kind of voice, and smiled in a non-stalkerish kind of way. Other parents of 5-6 year old children who we have seen dragging their offspring to various festivals in recent years were noticeably absent, but the new mothers were happily breastfeeding their children into quiet submission, and were happily unaware of the years of writers' festival conflict yet to come into their lives.

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