Monday, June 1, 2009

Reading Matters

I'd been looking forward to the Reading Matters conference in Melbourne for months. I love presenting at festivals and conferences anyway, but this one was especially exciting: not only does RM have a great reputation for quality and inspiration and meticulous planning, but it featured a wealth of presenters I was keen to meet, and to hear speak. And best of all, (like always) it was in Melbourne, my favourite Australian city.

I really want to thank Paula, Mike and Lili and all their many helpers (especially Erin, who MCed the student day) for inviting me to the conference, and for providing such an incredible and thought-provoking experience for everyone who attended. I can't imagine anyone went home even slightly disapointed.

I could go on and on for several pages, but I won't. Instead, for your edification, I'll simply list my highlights and lowlights of Reading Matters '09.

  • John Green's wonderful opening address.
  • The enthusiasm of the audiences, both adult and student.
  • MT Anderson explaining (with help from a live concert violinist) how he uses the cadence of 18th Century music to influence the pattern of his narrative.
  • Hanging out with Isobelle Carmody, who, despite accidentally applying a drop of superglue directly into her eye, managed to be a great deal of fun and encouragement.
  • Tony Eaton's blue hair, which somehow didn't distract from his excellent presentations.
  • The privilege of introducing overseas guests to the spectacle of 40,000 screaming Victorians watching AFL in an indoor stadium.
  • Tristan Bancks' polished delivery.
  • Shooting the breeze until well after midnight with the charming Mo Johnson, who somehow convinced the concierge to reopen the bar, just for us.
  • Spending time with the warm, generous Mal Peet and his equally warm and generous wife Elspeth.
  • The Hypotheticals session on Thursday night.
  • Riffing on-stage with John green in the closing session.
  • The calm professionalism of the Reading Matters staff, and their attention to detail. (They even stapled tram tickets to our program to help us get around town.)
  • Each of the sessions.
  • Everything else.
  • I lost a sock.


jonathan said...

Your various parts in the conference were great too James. That final session with you & John Green in particular was a big highlight and a great way to finish.

Tony said...

Bwah ha ha...

Your sock will be on ebay tomorrow - I expect to make at lest 5 dollars!
(The hard part was getting it off you during our panel session without anyone noticing!)

Seriously though, I echo everything you've just said. A great event. Thanks for your contributions, too.