Let me say straight off that this was great week littered with literary figures from around the globe and across the country. A truly terrific mixture of writers across all genres.
I was not there for the last two days, and of course I couldn't attend every session on the days I was there, but I managed to fit in a good number and I came away feeling entertained and educated.
Here are my ratings:
Best Performer - Christian Bok (left)
Biggest audiences - Joseph Stiglitz (1900 people in the Michael Fowler Centre), Gala Opening Night (full house at The Embassy).
Biggest sales of books - Ian McEwan - more than 80 people in queue after his address
Most entertaining - Ruth Reichl
Most unexpectedly entertaining - NZ scientists Bernard Beckett, Lloyd Spencer Davis & Hamish Campbell
Biggest star performer - Garry Trudeau (right)
Most appealing speaker - David Mitchell
Best chair - hard call because without exception they were all good but I'll give it a three way tie between Kim Hill, Lynn Freeman and Sean Plunkett
Most effective message deliverance - Alexis Wright & Patricia Grace
Best speech - Owen Marshall at launch of Fiona Kidman's memoir
Bouquets & brickbats - Bouquet to the staff of the Embassy who were pleasant & helpful & provided a good range of quality food & drink at reasonable prices. Bouquet to Unity Books for a well-stocked temporary bookshop and to their knowledgeable staff. Brickbat to the organisers for not having wireless internet available at the main venue.and for not allowing punters into auditorium until a few minutes before each session began thus causing long queues and preventing access to comfortable seating where we could have been quietly reading while waiting. But hey, it was a great week. Hats off to the team responsible and a special mention of Anne O'Brien the former Writers & Readers Manager who put much of the programme together before departing north. I plan to be back in two years time.