Day 1 of the festival was off to a flying start. Early into the city by bus to the lovely Women’s Pioneer Memorial Gardens for the first talk at 9.30.
There are trees, so lots of shade and a big book tent for sales and of course lots of coffee.
The daily program is posted on a board. It changes depending on people’s travel and covid restrictions.
So much to choose from. I started with Kate Mildenhall, a lovely Melbourne author. She has had her second book The Mother Fault published and was speaking about it today. I haven’t read it – it’s described as a fast paced thriller! It’s her first one I’d like to read. Skylarking. An historical fiction novel set in 1830.
Next up was a session with Emily St John Mandel from NY and Laura McKay from NZ. So it was in the big screen. I was keen to hear Mandel. I’ve just read her book ‘The Glass House’, an unusual book about a Ponzi collapse and a missing woman! I enjoyed it. now I want to read her book Station Eleven about a Pandemic.
Laura McKays book The Animals in that Country. Both authors have written about a pandemic. Written before covid had started it provided lots of discussion. Both interesting speakers.
I took a break and walked up the hill past Government House to the State Library, Museum and the Art Gallery. Beautiful buildings.
Next up. The hugely popular Julia Gillard. Her book on Women in Leadership would be a good read. Since stepping away from politics. this former Prime Minister of Australia is making an impact in the area of Women empowerment. She spoke extremely well and had the huge crowd on their feet.
Richard Fidler was next. I feel I know him , though I’ve never seen him live! His Conversations program in ABC radio is a favourite – he is a fantastic interviewer. Our own David Frost.
He was a band member of the Doug Anthony All Stars a very popular musical comedy band in the 80’s. He now writes books. Good books about places. His first two books , Saga Tales, is about Iceland, Ghost Empire, about Constantinople and today he talked about The Golden Maze about Prague.
As the sun moved I did too. Up closer to the stage. I’m amazed how many people are here. And with covid we are supposed to be social distancing but it’s difficult and many are left standing as seats have to be left vacant.
The last speaker – at 5pm is the energetic, enthusiastic, likeable Trent Dalton from Brisbane . What a down to earth charmer. A journalist now author, readers loved his first book Boy Swallows Universe. His new book All Our Shimmering Skies is receiving slightly mixed reviews from people I know who have read it. So I have put off reading it so far. I love his writing so much I want him to talk about it and then ………
Well, he has persuaded me to read it. He talked about the characters. How & why he shaped the story as he did.
He told some great stories Both about his book and people who have encouraged him. A great one about a mid 60’s pocket rocket at a book signing in Adelaide. During his book chat he said he was doubting his ability to write another book after Boys Swallows Universe. The lady stood and said ‘I have no questions. I just want to say get on with it. You can write. Just do it’. He later found out it was Mem Fox !
The session finished and I walked from the gardens along North Terrace to the area where the Fringe Festival takes place. Two separate park areas. One called Gluttony the other the Garden of Unearthly Delights.
In theses area there are lots of tents , small and large where a huge range of artists are performing. Amateur singers, comedians, burlesque dances……. you name it they are here. We needed tickets to a show to enter and most were already sold out. So Marg, my sister in law and I got the last two tickets for Evan Demarais. His show called ‘ A Canadian stuck in Australia’.
Aren’t we all stuck in Australia? He came out last year for the festival and has been here ever since! The first 29 mins were funny but after that he needed fresh material! Lots of fun poking at the audience!
After the show we sat in the garden bar / eating area and enjoyed the music and the atmosphere.
By now I was more than tired so headed home. I’ll be repeating it all tomorrow. Lucky me.