Friday, October 08, 2010


The Waiheke Book Festival
8-10 October, 2010

One of our smaller book festivals, the Waiheke Festival got underway today at Artworks in Oneroa on Auckland's little gem of an island. Travelling across on the ferry, a 40 minute journey from downtown, on a gorgeous spring day is a pleasant experience althought today I was buried in my book, (I'm re-reading an early Maurice Gee title, Games of Choice - 1976), so didn't notice the blue Pacific or the various islands passed along the route.

First up was New Novelists  Charlotte Grimshaw and Sarah Laing.

Now personally I wouldn't describe Charlotte Grimshaw as a new novelist as she already has four novels to her credit and at least two collections of short stories.

Sarah Laing, perhaps best known at thist stage for her graphic design work, on the other hand definitely is a new novelist with her first book, Dead People's Music, being published in 2009. Incidentally she did the cover and interior design of her own book, a fairly rare event in the publishing world.
Chair John Daly-Peoples introduced the two authors and their books and then conducted quiet, thoughtful interviews with both.
Charlotte Grimshaw is of course something of a Festival veteran and took this pretty much in her stride while Festival greenhorn Sarah Laing, possibly in her first outing in such a setting, was not quite so comfortable but handled the chairman's gentle probing well.
Both read from their books, (The Night Book in Grimshaw's case), and  discussed a whole range of topics including the difference between short and long fiction, the writing process, where they get character's names from, using their experience of living overseas in their fiction, the writing day and managing their time between family, writing and other commitments.

Then came what some wit in the audience called the "three grumpy old men" show. Loving all of it was the official sesssion name which of course is also the title of Gordon McLauchlan's book published earlier this year in which he collected together some 32 eminent New Zealanders all 65 years of age and above and persuaded them to write an essay about growing old.
On stage with McLauchlan were two of the contributors, Hamish Keith and Brian Edwards, and for the next hour they entertained us in occasionally raucous but always hilarious fashion.

Then the punters all happily headed off to the official gala opening across the way in the Waiheke Community Art Gallery which also doubled as the opening of Martin Hill's exhibition of limited editions of his superb photography.
The Bookman will be there agin tomorrow, it has been an excellent start to the weekend.

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