Friday, May 16, 2008
THE NEW ZEALAND LISTENER OPENING NIGHT - AUCKLAND WRITERS & READERS WEEK
What a line up ! One of the greatest of living writers in the English language, the very private J.M.Coetzee, left, (double Booker Prize winner, Nobel Prize winner), along with current worldwide favourite Junot Diaz, (Pulitzer Prize), Sarah Hall, (Commonwealth Prize), along with New Zealand favourite , the much awarded Witi Ihimaera. And of course chaired by the queen of the airwaves, Kim Hill.
Each author read from their work and was then quizzed by Hill, except for Coetzee who famously does not give interviews of any king, he only reads. Hill is our undisputed premier interviewer with her Saturday Morning show on Radio New Zealand having a huge following.
It was somewhat curious then to find her rather lose the plot last evening. The show was scheduled to last one hour fifteen minutes but Hill seemed to get bogged down with the first author, Sarah Hall. After Hall's quite long reading Hill put a long series of questions to her, the answers to which were interesting but half an hour into the event and we were still listening to the first author and still had to hear from the other three which led to the audience became decidedly restless and in the end several punters called out to remind the Chair that there were others we also wanted to hear from.
Witi Ihimaera was up next and delighted us, (understatement, he stole the show actually), with readings about his clearly much-loved Dad, Tom Smiler. Then came Junot Diaz who read a very funny piece from his sensational The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. And finally the master himself who entertained us with a superb piece of reading from Diary of a Bad Year and left us wanting more. Much more. I'm off to buy the book.
It was a great night, the ASB Theatre was bulging at the seams, and we went home with smiles on our faces.