Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sydney Writers' Festival

What fun! Yesterday, five hundred kids high school kids (some of whom were either actually in primary school, or pupils from Our Lady of the Sacred Oompa-Loompa) streamed into the amazing Sydney Theatre to hear Randa Abdel-Fatah, Garth Nix, Mal Peet, Isobelle Carmody and me talk about our books.

And today, slightly fewer (but still several hundred) kids flocked to the gorgeous Riverside Theatre at Parramatta for the same program.

My talk was titled Of Truths, Towns and Elephants (or why I'd have made a crap engineer) and it seemed to go over OK. I even sold a few books afterward.

But I have to say, that Garth Nix is a bit of a rock star. Yesterday, Garth wasn't even on stage yet, and the MC said, 'Our next speaker is Garth Nix." And the place went crazy. Seriously 'Oh-my-God-I-think-I'm-going-to-faint-someone-fan-me-before-I-completely-pass-out-OH-MY-GOD-IT'S-GARTH-NIX!' crazy. Unbelievable.

I got my own cheer, but it wasn't pre-emptive like Garth's - it was only by slagging off Twilight. A girl in the audience asked me what I thought of Twilight, and I said, 'I think Stephenie Meyer has singlehandedly set the liberation of women back by forty years.' The questioner asked me why, and I said, 'Because she tells us that someone like Edward Cullen can be as much of a prick as he likes to a girl like Bella, and she should just take it, simply because he's all shiny.'

I was slightly surprised when the place went crazy with applause, and to be honest, I felt just a tiny bit of my faith in the discerning nature of teens beginning to return.

(Photos: Jamie Simpson)


Pizza said...

I'm a big fan of Garth Nix. I wish I could have seen him.

Misrule said...

Speaking to your last two paragraphs in this post: this is why we lurve you, Mr Roy!

Marita Thomson said...

Try adding Isobelle Carmody and her travelling fan club to the Nix magnetism. I sat outside this session at Walsh Bay on Sunday. Lucky the broadcast worked well. Wonder what they looked like...
Boys from my school were at Parramatta on Wednesday and "luvved youse all".[NB Lame humour - not a reflection of the standard of English at our school]