Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Who knew? Clive James wants to be invited to the Sydney Writers' Festival.

At the Melbourne Writers' Festival at the weekend James made plain his feelings regarding this oversight.

On Saturday the poet Craig Sherborne interviewed him about his poetry. The subject turned to whether James, a winner of Australian poetry's great honour, the Philip Hodgins medal, might still be considered by some as primarily an "entertainer". He agreed, before turning to the audience and saying good humouredly but incredulously: "I still haven't been invited to the Sydney Writers' Festival. Not once."

Not that he thought Sydney did not recognise his merits. "It's not ideological, it's because I was born there," he said. "I'm from Sydney so they don't want me."

Rosemary Cameron, in her second year as the Melbourne Writers' Festival director, suggested that "sometimes, as a director, you don't invite someone because you don't expect they will be able to. No one ever sends an invite to J.K. Rowling, for example. Maybe one of us will one day, and she will come. It's the same with James. And it has to do with timing with his publishers as well. I don't think there's been a plot against him."

Read the full story from the Sydney Morning Herald

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