A pair of

Ragged claws

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Books - Stephen Romei

YOU’D think three weeks would be loads of time for a chap to win lotto and re­tire to a life of Woos­t­er­ish ease, wouldn’t you? Well, I’m here to tell you it is not. I men­tion Ber­tram W. be­cause the most en­joy­able book I read dur­ing my break was P.G. Wode­house’s 1946 novel Joy in the Morn­ing, which the au­thor rightly thought his fun­ni­est work. That I was read­ing it only for plea­sure en­hanced the ex­pe­ri­ence, as did the early dawn of cock­tail hour. Be that as it may, I defy any­one not to laugh at this sort of ex­change be­tween Jeeves and Ber­tie:

‘‘ There is am­ple time, sir ... I think it would be best for me to stop at Mr Fit­tle­worth’s res­i­dence, apprise him of what has oc­curred, de­posit the lug­gage and warn him of your com­ing.’’ ‘‘ Is ‘ warn’ the word?’’ ‘‘ ‘ In­form’ I should have said, sir.’’ But to re­turn to the present, or in­deed the near fu­ture, the writ­ers fes­ti­val sea­son kicks off in Perth in less than a fort­night so I thought I’d men­tion it to­day for those readers who may be weigh­ing whether to go west for a few days. Of course, those for­tu­nate readers in situ (I like Perth) need only to de­cide which tents to pop into on the splen­did grounds of the Univer­sity of Western Australia. The fes­ti­val starts on Thurs­day Fe­bru­ary 23 and the open­ing ad­dress will be by the in­domitable Ger­maine Greer. Her topic is ‘‘ Eco-fem­i­nism then and now’’ and at the time of writ­ing I was told tick­ets were sell­ing well. The fes­ti­val’s pro­gram man­ager, Danielle Benda, said other early sellers were events in­volv­ing Michael Kirby, Wil­liam Mcinnes, Peter Fitzsi­mons, Janette Turner Hospi­tal and the Nor­we­gian crime writer Jo Nesbo. That was pleas­ing to hear as I will be do­ing ses­sions with two of those writ­ers and it’s al­ways good to have a crowd. On the Fri­day I’m tak­ing part in ‘‘ The Sports­writer’’, a panel dis­cus­sion with Fitzsi­mons and novelist Mal­colm Knox, who has also writ­ten some of our best­selling sports bi­ogra­phies. I’m there for far more mod­est sportswrit­ing ef­forts, mainly on equine ath­letes, but I’m look­ing for­ward to packing down with the big boys. The next day, I’m do­ing an in-con­ver­sa­tion with Turner Hospi­tal, to dis­cuss her new book, Fore­cast: Tur­bu­lence, among other things. Later that day I’m join­ing lo­cal writ­ers Char­lotte Wood, Mandy Sayer, Craig Sher­borne and Amer­i­can vis­i­tor David Le­vithan to talk about love in lit­er­a­ture, which could get in­ter­est­ing. Some of the ses­sions I hope to drop in on are ‘‘ What’s the Prob­lem With Po­etry?’’ (I trust they’ve sched­uled a cou­ple of hours for the au­di­ence Q&A on that one), ‘‘ Has Mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism Failed?’’ and ‘‘ Is Read­ing Over­rated?’’. And I must catch my col­league Ge­ordie Wil­liamson talk­ing to Sher­borne and nov­el­ists Steven Car­roll and Nick Earls about ‘‘ Fa­thers and Sons’’. The full pro­gram is at www.perth­fes­ti­val.com.au/en/ Perth-writ­ers-fes­ti­val/


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