07 March 2008

It's hot in March, so it must be Writers' Week

"Cooler on Monday with a maximum of 37", is the local weather forecast according to ABC News just now. I've never heard Adelaide's weather described that way before, but if the predictions for the next few days turn out to be correct then the statement will be accurate enough.

After a relatively cool February March has kicked off with a fiery vengeance. Today has been the third day on the trot where the temperature has nudged or surpassed 38 degrees, and no relief is forecast for a few more days. I'm not counting Monday's 37 as "relief", but will try to be endure whatever nature has in store for us. I'd willingly put up with a few more hot days if we could have some good soaking rain.

As always seems to happen, the hot weather has coincided with Writers' Week, an alfresco series of talks, book launches and panel discussions held in one of the greener sections of the parklands where the shade is augmented by several marquees.

Attending the whole six days requires considerable
planning ( to choose the sessions which are most likely to interest you) and fortitude (to endure the heat) but it's always possible to refresh yourself at the bar and food stalls or to duck away for a while to the airconditioned State Library, Museum or Art Gallery.

The weather and other commitments precluded me from attending the whole week, but I did attend sessions on most days (today was just too hot). Here are my personal highlights:
  • Ian McEwan launching Peter Carey's latest novel His Illegal Self with an elegant and succinct assessment of Carey's qualities as a writer.
  • A panel discussion on sport with Gideon Haigh, John Harms and William McInnes.
  • "The lure of war", a session with individual contributions from Geraldine Brooks, Richard Holmes, James Meek and Henry Reynolds
  • Peter Godwin, a white Zimbabwean in exile (if I understood him correctly)
  • A conversation between David Marr and Gideon Haigh which ranged over several topics including the Australian media and business reporting.

In the past some of the sessions have been broadcast on the ABC. I asked at the information counter if this was going to happen again but nobody there knew. Despite this I hope that as much as possible of the event is made available to a wider audience (as well as to those like me who would like to hear some of them again) .

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