Observations from the festival podium

Big sigh of relief as my first-ever Sydney Writers Festival panels came and went without a major hitch, and I even managed to sell quite a few copies of my book. A cast of loyal supporters (including my mother, my publisher, my editor, and a few dear friends) came to provide ballast for my session with Debra Adelaide and Susan Wyndham. Having studiously avoided cliche in all three books, it was more difficult in the session itself, unfortunately titled “The Final Journey”. The facilitator forgot to introduce us, perhaps assuming the audience knew who each of us was. But we got over that hurdle and eventually launched into some interesting to-and-fro between panellists. One interesting question at the end was whether our attitude to dying had changed as a result of our experiences / writing our books. My reply – that while I would prefer it not to be any time soon, I was not afraid of dying – made it into the next day’s “Festival News” rag.

The next day – Friday – I was on with Kate Jennings, in a conversation about “Personal Journeys” facilitated by Susannah Omundsen of Macquarie University. This was a daunting prospect given the regard in which I hold Kate’s novel Moral Hazard as well as her ability to forge an independent path as a writer in New York for the past 28 years. There was no need for my nerves, though, as Kate was lovely and generous, and our panel a lot of fun. We had good rapport on stage, and there were plenty of laughs, which is always entertaining for the people who’ve complimented us by choosing to attend ours of all available sessions.

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