A slower start this morning.
One of my favourite authors, Maggie O’Farrell is on first – but live streaming from the UK. You could pay a small fee and watch from home. So that’s what I’ve done.
Tonight we’ll watch from the comfort of the lounge with a glass of wine in hand.
I was on the bus by 9.55 for the 20 minute run into town. Marg lives in Highgate and it’s a quick run into the city. It’s a lovely area. Lots of trees, parks, sturdy houses with stone work and great gardens.
Again, a good choice of speakers. I started with Dr Julia Baird. She’s on The Drum and is a fine author. I read her biography of Queen Victoria but it’s her book Phosphorescence she was talking about today. It’s a memoir of finding joy when your world turns dark. It’s been described-as a book of wisdom and wonder when things don’t go right.
I’ve read it and loved it. So much to think about. It’s a book you would return to over and over.
Julia presents as a down to earth woman, obviously intelligent and a survivor of a terrible illness.
I loved her talk.
Next up was a choice of Malcolm Turnbull or Meg Mason.
I thought I’d heard enough over the years from Malcolm – though he is a fine speaker. I wanted to hear Meg Mason.
I’ve just finished her book Sorrow and Bliss. I’ve chosen it for BookClub so was keen to hear her speak.
She and fellow speaker Luke Horton spoke about their books where their main characters have mental health issues.
Luke Horton’s book The Fogging is about the disintegration of a relationship where the main character suffers from anxiety.
Megs books character, Martha has an undiagnosed mental health illness. She’s a complex character who is likeable but frustrating.
Meg read aloud from her book. It’s funny despite it’s subject. She talked about her character Martha, and I understood a little more about her.
The next session was about words. I read Pip Williams book The Dictionary of Words and loved it. It’s about Esme who is present in Oxford while her father and other lexicographers prepare the very first Oxford English Dictionary Set in 1901 it’s a fascinating tale of what goes into the dictionary and what is left out.
The other speaker Sue Butler worked for many years as editor of Australia’s Macquarie dictionary and saw the inclusion of many new words.
A great discussion. I should point out I regularly listen to a podcast called A Word in your Ear with Brisbane’s Roly Sussex. It’s a great discussion of words.
By now my afternoon of books was over. I was off to The Spire. My niece Vashti was performing in Saxism, a saxophone quartet. We had an hour sitting in a beautiful church in Beulah Park listening to great music. From Bach to John Denver.
A great afternoon. Then home to listen to the live streamed interview of Maggie O’Farrell. Her book Hamnet, a story of Shakespeare and the son he lost in the great plague. Such a wonderful book. And the discussion with Maggie led by Anton Enus a newsreader from SBS was great.