Wow, what a week!
On Monday afternoon I fell off my bike, gorifying one knee, but it is starting to heal up. Unfortunately my bike is still f**ked. The front brake is in love with the front wheel and won’t let go of it. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to get it looked at soon.
On Tuesday evening I saw Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I haven’t been to the movies for aaaaaages, and that’s insane for me. Seems a lot of the fans were disappointed but I enjoyed it. Got quite lost in it and didn’t want to come back to the real world. But that might say more about my tired and busy state. I still hadn’t caught up on sleep from the Overland workshop and party the weekend before.
On Wednesday night I met up with Michael Williams, head of programming for the new Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas. I will tell you more about him and the Centre tres soon… Oh, but while we’re here, let’s fantasise a little. Readers – if you are in Melbourne or could come to Melbourne for an author event at CBWI with any living writer, who would it be? My quick answer was Michael Cunningham – share yours! (You never know, the head of programming might be paying attention…)
On Thursday I popped out of work for the Melbourne Writers Festival program launch. It was great fun! Director Rosemary Cameron had us all get on the City Circle tram (it was packed) and then stumble out at Fed Square for some impassioned speeches and delicious lamingtons. On the tram and afterwards I caught up with Joel Becker (Victorian Writers’ Centre director and recent game show star), David Astle(writer, teacher, cryptic crossword creator), George Dunford (writer, traveller), Steve Grimwade (MWF associate director, curator, writer, editor), Ronnie Scott (writer, editor, publisher, brow-lifter), Chris Flynn (writer, editor, publisher, falcon), Bel Monypenny (editor) and many others. I also swallowed my shyness and introduced myself to Chris Wallace-Crabbe, who I’m a huge fan of. He was lovely! There was just one thing wrong with this morning – when I opened the MWF program, my name had been changed to ‘Angela Meyers’. Steve Grimwade was very quick to tell me it was a compliment – because I do so much, there are obviously two of me. Oh no, the SECRET IS OUT!
On Thursday night – the highlight of my week – I got to launch Josephine Rowe’s How a Moth Becomes a Boat at Willow Bar in Northcote. There were readings by Jessica Anne Friedmannand Chris Flynn (reading Chris Currie’s stories and his own). Because I introduced Jess as ‘effortlessly glamorous’, I decided I should mention Chris Flynn’s appearance, and I said he ‘may even be wearing 3D underpants’. This was a little in-joke from a prop party where Chris wore 3D glasses and told us where they came from. Well, turns out he had them on! And we all got a peep. Sean M Whelan was also a fantastic DJ. Fleetwood Mac = awesome. Josephine’s reading from the book of course had us all mesmerised, and she very sweetly read my favourite story ‘Work’. My other favourite is ‘Leak’. Chris Flynn made a public prediction that Josephine would win the Miles Franklin Literary Award sometime in the next 20 years. I think he might be right. Buy How a Moth Becomes a Boat here.
This weekend I have refused to leave the house, because I am so behind on reviewing and writing. Unfortunately I missed the Voiceworks and The Lifted Brow launches on Friday night – if you made it, please do report. I did get a copy of the Brow which has been added to the 30-something book pile. I just accidentally wrote ‘book pie’ then. I like that.
Here are some linky-dinks:
A novella written by Mary Shelley a year before Frankenstein (one of my top 10 fav books) has just been re-released, called Mathilda (funnily enough, via Matilda). Looks like there are other versions available, too, on Booktopia. Stuck for ideas? Here’s a good blog for writing and/or art prompts, which you can choose to share back on the blog: The Monday Project. Gotta love it when your boss sends you hilarious things during work hours… have you seen all the adaptations of that angered-Hitler scene? Well, this is one of the best: ‘Hitler finds out Michael Jackson has died’ (via Tim Coronel).
This week was also a big week because the final report was released from the Productivity Commission re the parallel importation of books (and many in the industry were NOT HAPPY Jan). My editor Matthia Dempsey wrote up a great (and easy to understand) news story for the Weekly Book Newsletter. My publisher Tim Coronel has been keeping track of all the links in his Delicious account. And this was one of the best author responses I read – by James Bradley – ‘Rethinking Parallel Importation’. Here’s a sample:
I don’t want to waste my time engaging with the Commission’s risible suggestion that greater public assistance would produce better outcomes for Australian creators. I don’t want a handout and I don’t know any writer who does. But I do think it would be useful if we stopped talking about this issue as a contest between economic rationalism and cultural nationalism. Because for as long as we do we’re missing the real point, which is about the capacity of Australia and Australian creators to succeed in a global knowledge economy, and about ensuring we harmonize our policy settings with those of our major competitors overseas.
Now, back to the question above – which living writer would you choose to see?