Big names for Byron Bay Writers Festival
Rosemary Sorensen From: The Australian , May 29, 2010
JENI Caffin is going out on a high at the Byron Bay Writers Festival, which takes place from August 6-8.
The festival director has announced that not only will it have Fatima Bhutto there to talk about the devastating story of Pakistan's ruling family, but also the not-so-enfant terrible, Bret Easton Ellis, following the release of his new book, Imperial Bedrooms.
IT would be really good if those who ran awards could be bolder when things go off the rails, which is easy to say, I know, when you are not the subject of either public or governmental scrutiny at such moments. If you read it for nothing else (and there is much more to enjoy), Ian McEwan's delirious chapters in Solar remind us how being the scandal-du-jour must feel like being in a vicious, erratic, swift-moving hurricane.
When feisty publisher Matthew Richardson took on the judges of the Northern Territory Chief Minister's History Award, he had an important point to make: told that Halstead Press's Wild Cattle, Wild Country by Anne Marie Ingham and four out of the other five books entered were not eligible because they were based on oral, not archival, history, he pointed out how that "disparaged everyone whose experiences won't be counted as history just because they didn't generate written records". Nowhere is this a more valid point than in the NT. Peter Grose's An Awkward Truth, about the bombing of Darwin in 1942, was eventually
awarded the prize, but it would be good to see the challenge made by Richardson taken up by the NT State Library and perhaps the criteria modified (or clarified) before next year's award.
More Queensland book news at The Australian.
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