Brisbane Writers Festival – Day II

9 Sep

The literary fun continued on Saturday with the Brisbane Writers Festival. In the morning I got down to the State Library area. It certainly was less congested than the day before. Seems writers don’t like early mornings like the rest of us. I went to see two conversations. The first: Why I Read What I Read. Rolland Sussex was chair and in discussion with Sue Wolfe, Gerrard Gosens and Boori Monty Pryor. There was much talk of enjoying the “voice” of the book or its personality, even if the plot is not enjoyable. It was interesting to hear from Gerrard Gosens as he has been blind since birth and the description of environment is very important to him. He related the story that he never knew that elephants were hairy until he was in his 30s as no one describes them in enough detail. Even the sculptures he had felt over the years never portrayed them hairy. When he was in his 30s he went to a circus and had the opportunity to ride an elephant. He exclaimed – “they’re like a giant scrubbing brush. I’ve never experienced a more hairy animal!”
Gerrard also said that for him books are like vitamins. You take a certain book and read it to help in one aspect of your life. I like that.

Next up in the giant red tent is a conversation with Nick Earls. Every chance I get to experience the stories of this man I do. I love him. He’s so free and easy in front of a crowd. He’s a brilliant speaker. Once again he inspired me to buy his book and after get it signed by him. He’s so friendly and easy-going in real life and one-on-one too. I had to rush off so not much time to make conversation but we exchanged words about the difference between this year and last and how we all froze on the Terrace. Then I had to scurry off for my next appointment.

In the evening I returned with my brother for the Great Debate – the subject in question: Reading The Bible Is Good For You. Among the guests to fight their points – Germaine Greer and Bob Katter – both on the one side – in favour of the proposition.
We found the arguments without good basis, they were getting off topic a lot, and getting the Bible mixed up with religion. Where was this great debate that we were promised? It just wasn’t passionate and intelligent enough. Still, very interesting. In the end the team against the proposal won as the outcome was decided by the audience.

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