lizabelle: (Book and sea)
[personal profile] lizabelle
I have more to post (David Mitchell! Fatima Bhutto! Michael Cunningham!), but I wanted to post a bit of a round-up while everything's still fresh in my mind. Take all of this with a pinch of salt. :)

Number of events attended: 16 (out of 330)

Number of events I queued for and failed to get into: 2 (The Fascinator - Delia Falconer, Ashley Hay and Gail Jones sharing their fascination with Sydney and Desert Flowers - Indigenous writers talking about and reading from their poetry)

Number of bookloving friends and acquaintances bumped into: 8 (seriously, how does this happen among so many thousands of people?)

Number of David Mitchell events attended: 2

Number of David Mitchell events that the boyfriend attended on my behalf: 1

Most mind-blowing moment: Fatima Bhutto, Ingrid Betancourt and Aminatta Forna talking about power, politics and personal responsibility. Their standing ovation was much-deserved.

Number of books bought: 6* (1 as a gift)

Number of books added to to-read list: 34 (I wish I was joking)

Favourite new discovery: Kei Miller - self-deprecating, quietly intelligent, hilarious and lovely.

Biggest fangirl moment: The Big Reading - Kei Miller reading from his first novel (he's a wonderful reader - if there are any audiobooks of his work, he needs to read them, please); David Mitchell reading from his work-in-progress; Téa Obreht reading from The Tiger's Wife; Kader Abdolah telling a heartfelt story of giving up the language of his birth (at least for writing purposes); and Michael Cunningham reading from his work-in-progress. Five wonderful writers, and I came out completely starry-eyed.

Number of awesome women spotted on various panels: Too many to count, but a few that spring to mind are Fatima Bhutto, Ingrid Betancourt, Aminatta Forna, Amanda McKenzie, Kirsten Tranter, Sophie Cunningham, Sonya Hartnett, Anna Perera, Kelly-lee Hickey, Mardi McConnochie, Mandy Sayer and Elizabeth Stead.

Favourite evening event: Spoken Four - inspiring performers telling it like it is.

Panellist with most enthusiastic, delighted audience: David Mitchell (although Kei Miller comes a close second).

Favourite random panellist: Steven Gale, who offered a lovely foil to Kei Miller in the first session I attended, and whom I lated spotted on several occasions browsing the books and looking like any other festival-goer.

Number of worlds ended: None

Number of glasses of red wine drunk: 4 (pretty restrained, I feel).

Number of hours spent queueing: About four.

Saddest moment: Ingrid Betancourt talking about learning of her father's death while she was in captivity.

Most inspiring moment: Amanda McKenzie explaining clearly and calmly how we can help to save the environment.

Funniest moment: Pretty much anything Shamini Flint said.

Sweetest moment: David Mitchell telling the "small person" in the audience to make as much noise as he liked.

Happiest moment: The general realisation that there are many people out there (in Sydney, even) who think the way I do about many things, and who, when they do not agree, are willing to enter into thoughtful, respectful discussions.

Most memorable moment: Aminatta Forna, Fatima Bhutto and Ingrid Betancourt in one room talking about power, politics and our personal responsibility to stand up to oppression. Unforgettable and important.

* The Last Warner Woman by Kei Miller, The Diamond Anchor by Jennifer Mills, The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna, The Old School by PM Newton, Family Album by Penelope Lively and A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley.

I'd love to hear from others: what were your memorable festival moments?
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June 2014

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