The Southbank Centre is hosting the London Literary Festival in May. I have attended a number of events, I listened to authors reading excerpts from their novels for World Book Night, its so interesting to hear from the horse’s mouth how the words and phrases sound.
Mark Haddon read from his novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, I also saw the play recently, a masterpiece of staging and acting. I have also seen him perform a monologue “Swimming and Flying”, he spoke for an hour, moving from memoir to pithy comment, to voicing of fears and witty remarks with a flow and sense of everything fitting together that is remarkable. He performed a new piece at the Hay Festival this week too, I wish I had been able to go.
Last Monday I went to an evening of readings by the 10 authors short-listed for the 2013 MAN BOOKER INTERNATIONAL PRIZE. The authors read in their own language, a fascinating to hear words, sounds and accents so unfamiliar, and then actors read the same text in English.
Peter Stamm read his piece in both German and English, so interesting to hear the same voice in both languages.
The actor Pip Torrens read for several authors who could not attend in person, he has a marvellous rich mellifluous voice.
Lydia Davies was announced as the winner on Wednesday at a ceremony at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Her stories are marvellous fragments of vitality, she conjures up complex witty scenes with just a few sentences. She is at the forefront of a new movement in short story telling. The form has certainly come back in from the cold. I feel encouraged to write more. . .
Yesterday, I spent the whole day at the Southbank Centre, attending three events. Roman Krznaric’s How to Find Fulfilling Work, was all about finding that place where our talents meet our values, he led us through a kind of 10 point plan, and I discovered that I had indeed followed that plan instinctively and unknowingly during the last decade.
Aleksander Hemon – The Book of My Lives, was born in Sarajevo, he was visiting Chicago in 1992 when war broke out and has not been able to return. He told us of how it feels to start a new life in a different language and country. He is a very witty man and warm man. I can’t wait to read his other books too, I bought The Lazarus Project.
In the evening was an Audience with Rupert Everett, he is such a wit and has perfect timing. He is a delightful writer too, his books are filled with snippets from his life eloquently portrayed. He was also the perfect gentleman when it came to signing books, I was third in the queue for my first signing, then I went back again for a second, right at the end of the queue (which was at least 45 minutes long) and he was just as attentive and solicitous as the first time.