Saturday, May 15, 2010


Unsurprisinglythe Aotea Centre was bursting at the seams with a richness of choicesamong the 10.00am events.  The cavernous ASB Theatre was full, and eventually there was standing room only, to hear arguably the biggest name author at the Festival, Colm Toibin, (photo above - Murdo Macleod).

What a good choice this proved to be as Wellington writer/academic Damien Wilkins drew the great contemporary Irish writer into a most interesting discussion about his writing life.
Wilkins introduced our guest as " an Irishman who speaks Spanish, is gay and writes beautifully". Initially he pursued the question of Toibin's gayness which drew forth a couple of memorable comments,  "your book is for your readers not for you" and "you go wherever the story takes you".
Toibin porved to be an easy interview subject who supplied long, interesting and thoughtful replies to questions put to him. Among the subjects he covered were the importance of time & texture in writing, American charm, Irish weather, Jane Austen and particularly her Mansfield Park, Henry James and especiallty his Washington Square, the importance of home and family, Irish weddings, Irish melancholy, the mass emigartion from Ireland especially to the US and the contribution the Irish have made there.

He also read, beautifully and briefly an extract from his latest and simply marvellous novel Brooklyn.
Suddenly the hour was over and long lines formed out side to buy his books and have them signed by the great man.
A real highlight.

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