Thursday, May 13, 2010


It seemed like every college student in the greater Auckland region was trying to get into the Aotea Centre when I arrived here at 9.30am. The first two days (yesterday and today) is the schools programme which has grown into a highly successful adjunct to the Festival but with so many students arriving at the same time, and many teachers present to, the Aotea Centre staff sometimes had trouble handling the resulting chaos.
Then to add to the woes there was a venue swap which resulted in large numbers, including me, arriving at the wrong theatre and not realising that until the speakers were introduced, more chaos as we scurried out of there to the correct venue.

Finally seated in the back row of an almost full ASB Theatre just in time to hear John Carey being introduced I could relax a little. Carey is an Emeritus Professor of English at Oxford University and is THE authority on William Golding and his celebrated novel, Lord of the Flies. I think it is fair to say that the man is a walking encyclopedia on all matters Golding. He has a slow, quite appealing grandfatherly style of presentation. He spent 40 minutes talking about Golding, how the novel came about, what influenced him in his writing, his long career as a school  teacher at Salisbury, and  the influence of his editor Charles Monteith on the final shape of the book. Carey has read Golding's original manuscript which he says is profoundly different from the final version largely as a result of Monteith's editing. He regards the final work as working much better than the original and pinted out that the book has sold 20 million copies worldwide.
A good opening session for me although the absence of a Chairperson meant that Carey was not kept to time and as a result he rambled on a bit long at the end, then had trouble controlling the questions, causing the next session to start late.

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