I fear with my opinion piece in Crikey the other day I may have misconstrued or misrepresented the words of one of my favourite authors, and someone I respect very much, Alex Miller. I think I raised some valid points (and I am certainly not the only one to have written on literary awards in Australia – see this great piece by Sam Cooney) but perhaps I shouldn’t really have raised them in Miller’s name. I guess his comments – which I only received second-hand, just got me thinking. I used them as an offshoot, but I realise now, that by doing that I skewed his words and his message a little. My article was basically a bunch of questions, and a prod, and I think that the general discussion happening is a worthy one. I definitely stand by my suggestions re the Booker Prize being a good model. And that the criteria of the Miles Franklin perhaps needs clarifying? Loosening? It is a good discussion to have and we’ll keep having it in the next few years, I’m guessing. But really, I prefer reading, writing on, and discussing the books themselves, and I’m going to try and keep that my focus.

So, books! And bookish events!

This coming weekend:

willyWilliamstown Literary Festival.
Here’s the full program.
My event is:

Literary Blogging. Sunday 2 May, 12.30PM – 1.30PM. Williamstown Town Hall. ‘Two blogs are created every second of every day. It’s not easy to stand out from the pack. But Angela Meyer and Lisa Dempster do.’

emergingThen, on 21 – 30 May is the Emerging Writers’ Festival. There are tons of great events. The program is now online, so check it out.
My event is:

Writing about place
‘Our writers discuss the importance of location in their writing. Is a sense of place important, how do you capture it, and do you have a responsibility to represent places or times in certain ways? And what if the place you’re writing about doesn’t even exist …?
With — Patrick Cullen, Leanne Hall, Sean Riley and Jenny Sinclair. Hosted by Angela Meyer.’

endgameI’m currently reading and loving Joel Magarey’s memoir of travel, fear and love, Exposure. The author will also be appearing at the Emerging Writers’ Festival. I read Samuel Beckett’s Endgame with my boyfriend on the weekend, in anticipation of Waiting for Godot (starring Sir Ian McKellan) next week. We LOVED it (There’s something dripping in my head. [Pause] A heart, a heart in my head). Next on my list are Colm Toibin’s Brooklyn, as I may have the opportunity for an interview, and John Fowles’ The Collector (for book group). And festival prep reading for EWF & others soon to be announced. And all the rest

possessedsmallIf you’re anything like me, you will love a book being released in Australia today, The Possessed, by Elif Batuman (Text). It’s a passionate, personalised journey through Russian literature, its authors, and the people who read and write about them. Definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year – warm, smart, sweet, poignant, even slightly eccentric. Quite captivating, especially if you’re already passionate about literature. I’ll be interviewing the author on the blog soon, too!

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