Friday, May 20, 2011
SYDNEY WRITERS FESTIVAL - THE FINKLER QUESTION
The quite new and most impressive three level City Recital Hall was packed (seating around 1300 plus standing room at rear) to hear Man Booker Prize 2010 winner Howard Jacobson in conversation with Rick Gekoski.
This must have been one of the easiest chairing roles Gekoski has ever performed as he hardly had to ask a question before the brilliant, articulate and very funny author would launch into an entertaining account on any subject at all - literary prizes, his earlier novels, his Jewish mother's influence on his early life and attitudes, reviewers, life in Australia (he lived and taught here 40 years ago), Wolverhampton Polytechnic, Indian curry, his claim to have vindaloo instead of blood in his veins, his Dad the taxi driver, seeing himself as the Jewish Jane Austen, literary influences on his writing life - Dickens, Austen, Lawrence,Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, The Finkler Question selling more than all his other books combined, (he did a reading from it by the way), Cambridge University, and the night he won the Man Booker, (as he said "that most coveted of all literary prizes"), plus much more too.
Howard Jacobson is a born entertainer, I could have listened to him for hours.
This is one of the greatest Festival occasions I have ever attended. My thanks to both men on stage, the one who talked endlessly and with such style and the one who knew when to keep quiet. Brilliant stuff.
I am going home to urge the Auckland Writers & Readers Festival to get this author as their guest, he would fill the capacious Aotea Centre.