An Hour with Martin Edmond
He started by reading an excerpt from his latest book, The Supply Party, and then went on to talk about his writing life – his approach & technique for writing, researching for non-fiction titles and the influence on his mother , NZ poet Lauris Edmond, on his writing and early attempts at writing verse.
A quiet, thoughtful session.
He talked warmly of his Mother’s influence on his early reading life with their regular visits to the Hutt Public Library.
One went away having had an interesting look inside the intricacies of a writer’s mind.
Excellent session, superbly chaired.
The group was introduced by one of their own, Rhonda Sherman, director of The New Yorker Festival, who started by saying that 98% of readers say they first look at the cartoons before reading any of the articles and that at the magazine they reckon the other 2% are lying. We were then treated to 20 or so superb cartoons projected onto a big screen behind the panel which drew forth much laughter.
The magazine celebrates its 85th birthday this year during which there have only been five editors. Each panelist talked of major stories they had written, other writers in the magazine, past & present, that they admire, the rigors of the editorial and fact-checking procedures and how they assume that their readers want to read what the writers want to write. There was interesting discussion on the importance of the magazine in launching fiction writers and how some went on to become major American writers.
It was entertaining listening to these articulate and erudite folk but I went away with the feeling that it might have been more effective if they had used an outsider as the Chair rather than one of their own.
She read two passages from her latest book, In the Kitchen, and then talked about the book and her research for it, on Britishness and citizenship tests, writers whom she admires, on being a working Mum and how she initially wrote when her two children were sleeping but now they are at school she has more time although when the school holidays come around she only writes in the evening after they have gone to bed.
In response to a question from the audience she explained that her father is a Bangladeshi and her mother is English and that she has lived in the UK since she was three, growing up in the Lancashire former mill town of Bolton but she now lives in London with her husband and two children
She gave thoughtful and respectful answers to the audience questions..
Monica Ali is a star and the audience went away impressed, liking her and pleased they had made the effort to be there.
And full marks to NZ’s most travelled author Paula Morris who is always thoughtful and well-prepared.