Mar 6, 2012

“It's as if I've taken [festival] heroin, and now I can't ever have it again.”


Such is my feeling towards the Adelaide Festival.  I was able to take one day off work and take a 6 hour round trip in travel time, to get to hear one of my favourite authors and Queen of the Festival, Margo Lanagan talk. 

I could have stayed the entire week (indeed I am contemplating doing that next year).  I very briefly entertained the thought of camping in the park.  Such is the power that being around writers and book loving folk.

Kudos to the organisers who set up the sound stages at the Pioneer Women's Park, there were two stages, not 100 metres apart going all day and no feedback or interference whatsoever. 

My only other recent experience of author talks was at Brisbane Supanova where authors were tucked away in an alcove under the main hall, it had the acoustics of a concrete car park.

Some photo’s taken of the festival by the multi talented Cat Sparks. Thankfully without me in them.

Coffee and the best day ever

So my morning began having coffee with the soon to be famous Cat Sparks1 who kindly bought me coffee and who just so happened to be sharing a table in the park with Margo Lanagan, and Kelly Link.  So for about the first 10 minutes I was having an internal dialogue with myself that went something akin to:

Sean: “Hey it’s Cat Sparks, Margo Lanagan and Kelly Link”

Sean2: “Shut up I am trying to listen to the conversation and sound intelligent”


and then I got over myself and enjoyed the conversation.  Thank you Margo and Cat.

Cat had to leave to catch a flight home, but before she did she introduced me quickly to Kate Eltham of the Queensland Writers Centre (who doesn’t look as blue as her Twitter avatar) and a tired English chap who had been kept awake by a snoring Ian Mond. Rob was his name.  Such a gentleman, very concerned about the fact that I might be perspiring and about to faint - I was wearing a jumper (it was mild day but by English standards, probably close to the temperature of the surface of the sun).

Halfway through the conversation I realised I was talking to Rob Shearman of Dalek fame.  I had missed out hearing he and Ian Mond talk at the sold out Dr Who talk. So I was stoked to have a quick chat.

Mid morning we learned of the passing of Paul Haines, a wonderful man, a superlative writer, a human being, that from all accounts was taken too soon.2

With Margo’s talk set for the afternoon I listened in to the various “literary” authors speaking before chuffing off to the city for some lunch.


Upon my return I was ushered by a usher for standing in the isle – apparently blocking peoples exit.  But as Michael Cathcart finished talking to Alan Hollinghurst I ploughed through the crowd to steal a chair in the centre.

And who should be behind me but Jason Nahrung and Kirstyn McDermott.  So after a blinder of a talk by Margo Lanagan and Michael Crummey (you should get his latest book : Galore) I enjoyed bookish talk with some other authors who I admire.  We passed through the book tent whereupon our wallets and purses got lighter and our book laden arms got heavier.

And now, I know it’s a writers festival and it’s not that far fetched to expect to bump into writers, but upon exiting the tent we bumped into the Dr’s Brain or more commonly known as Dr Angela Slatter and Dr Lisa Hannett

A very entertaining mauling of the Twilight series was begun with some improvised hand puppeteering by Kelly Link’s husband.  Unfortunately all good things must come to an end and I had to rush off and secure some flights to England before I could hear the end of it.

I bumped into the lovely Kelly Link, later on King WIlliam Street and she very kindly signed the Steampunk anthology she had edited3 . Authors are the coolest people.

It was an absolute blast of a day.  A big thank you to the authors I met who shared their time and thoughts with me.  I have some treasured memories. I feel honoured and privileged to have shared your company.



Post Festival Rehab

1. Well she’s famous to us in the specific community but going by her awards alone she deserves to be known more widely – check out her bio here 

2. Paul had been suffering cancer.

3. Somehow I missed the entire table devoted to her novels

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