Saturday, May 26, 2007


Sadly this event was held at the same time that Reed Publishing were marking their centennial at a big bash for authors, trade and former staff at the wonderful St.Matthews-in-the-City and this resulted in somewhat reduced audience numbers.

However I was a good lad and (albeit somewhat reluctantly) slipped out of the Reed party and sped across two city blocks to the Aotea Centre.

Gosh was I glad I did too, Friday Night with the Stars, was a cracker.

From Paula Morris' skilled job as Chair to each of the five author stars reading their work and then responding to Morris' thoughtful probing it was rivetting stuff and before we knew it the hour was up.

Carrie Tiffanny, Vikram Chandra, Xinran, Rachel Seiffert, and Richard Ford - not a dud among them. Fortunately they all have individual "An Hour with..." sessions so we can hear more from them at those.

I have come to believe during this Festival that five major authors on a panel is at least one too many.

After all that only gives each panellist 12 minutes and if you take out time taken up by introductions then time per author is probably closer to 10 minutes, during which time they are expected to read an excerpt from their book and then field questions. Not long enough,

And while on the subject of introductions, these are invariably far too long. We have sufficient biographical material about the authors in the programme so why some Chairs feel the need to re-present that material, and add more (!), is beyond me.

I like the Denis Welch approach to intros, "you know who these people are so let's get on with the show."

And for those of you outisdde the New Zealand Herald's coverage area here is Arts Editor Linda Herrick writing from the Festival yesterday and Martha McKenzie-Minifie on Joanne Harris who is on stage at 12.30pm today.

Must fly, I'm off to hear Pico Iyer. More later, ciao.

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