Friday, 23 August 2013

Tony at the Melbourne Writers Festival (Prelude)

It's not often that I get up at 6.20 (and even less often that I do so with a spring in my step), but that was the case today as I headed off to the big bad city to attend the Melbourne Writers Festival - for the first time ever!

The early start was so that I could get myself a parking space at the station, saving my wife the hassle of dropping me off before the school run, but it did mean that I arrived at Federation Square, the scene of the festival, at about the same time the cleaners rolled up to make the place tidy for the day...  Still, it gave me a chance to catch up on some reading :)

I had pre-ordered tickets for two events, leaving myself ample time to relax in between.  The first, at 10.00, was with Laurent Binet, the French author of HHhH, and while I wasn't completely convinced by his book when I read it earlier this year, I was interested in hearing him discuss the book and the background (and justify his choice of style!).

My real goal was attending my second chosen event, Andrés Neuman discussing his great novel Traveller of the Century, and I was also hoping to catch up with him for a quick chat after the event.  Did I manage it?  You'll have to wait and see ;)

Predictably, though, the long wait (and the inclement Melbourne weather...) brought a change to my plans.  While I was twiddling my thumbs at 11.30, wondering what to do with myself for three hours, I noticed a line of people waiting outside one of the studios, so I asked a helper what was on.  It turned out that it was an Edinburgh World Writers' Conference session on the future of the novel, featuring (among others) Teju Cole - and it was due to start at 11.45... after a mad scramble out of the centre to find the tiny box office down by the main road and purchase a ticket, I arrived back at the room, sweaty and panting, but ready for another session.

Which is why I'm going to leave you now - I need some sleep!  But Tony, I hear you cry (I have *excellent* hearing), were the sessions any good?  Well, that's a tale for another day; for now, you can just look at some pretty photos instead :)