Friday, May 14, 2010


I say this every year I know but five authors on stage together is too many, at least two authors too many. It doesn't matter who they are, how famous or talented they are, five just doesn't work.
 As in previous years this again proved to be the case last night  when chair Mark Sainsbury was given the impossible task of shepherding five authors through readings within an hour. The inevitable happened and the event ran 20 minutes overtime.
Don't get me wrong, this was an imptressive lineup - Colm Toibin, Emily Perkins, Thomas Keneally, Lionel Shriver and William Dalrymple - but authors almost always read longer than the time they are allocated - and this group's writing is so disparate that the event became disjointed, far too long and frankly dreary.
Can I again urge the organisers of this otherwise splendid Festival to have a good hard look at their showpiece opening ceremony. If this format is maintained I for one will not be attending next year's opening night.

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