I got an email out of the blue on Tuesday night, asking my five picks for the Sydney writers festival. Only catch, they needed them before work started the next morning.
I dashed out the following, and a sub-edited selection of three made it into the Spectrum section, in today’s Herald, alongside an interview with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
The other picks were from Susan Wyndham (SMH literary editor), Elizabeth Ann McGregor (MCA director), Sandra Yates (SWF chair of the board), Susan Hayes (OzCo literature director). Illustrious company, maybe they were after gender balance.
(Alex Ross – taken from Stop Smiling interview)
Alex Ross in Conversation with Ramona Koval: Hip-hop and Pere Ubu and Sonic Youth helped New Yorker music critic Alex Ross see classical music through a different window, and as an outsider to that world, it really changed the way I listen to music.
From Hot Copy to Hard Cover: Asa Wahlquist has spent plenty of time on the land as a reporter; her writing brings a dry, pragmatism to the environmental debate.
Rock’n’Roll Lives: Don Walker’s poetic reflections. Stephen Cummings’s tell all shock. In between, the warm Mark Mordue. Does it get better?
The Inside Out of Book Design: I know, I shouldn’t. But as a design lover, the cover catches my eye long before I open the pages. Shapes my opinions. I’m looking forward to an insider’s view.
Penguin Plays Rough: In a Newtown sharehouse, a clutch of Sydney writers and readers meet every month to read and rant their work. It’s wild and wonderful and this time the readers are Craig Silvey, Eddie Sharp, Lexi Freiman and Pip Smith.
Out of the Box with Christos Tsiolkas: OK, so I’m also doing something at the festival, which I’m nervously looking forward to. I’m interviewing the fantastic writer, Christos Tsiolkas, via his records. I’m comandeering the format of another FBI radio show – Out of the Box – to do it.