Saturday, 19 June 2010


Sadly this is the last day. Weep, gnash, sigh. I don't wanna go home!!!

I did my reading this morning; I read the story 'Cowboy and Nelly' from my collection Nude - a story about two misfits who fall in love and what happens when one of them asks the other to do something almost impossible. It seemed to go down well - the audience were lovely. My fellow reader, Italian-Canadian Licia Canton, read a sad story about a young girl who has a baby and the consequences of that for her and the baby's father. We got questions after (the usual poetry vs short fiction question for me and also about being bilingual and its influence on writing) and, all in all, it was a very enjoyable morning.

I then went to hear Australian writers Sylvia Petter on smell and memory in short fiction, especially that of Janette Turner Hospital (v interesting.) And Paddy O'Reilly on disabilty and 'the stare' in short fiction, with particular reference to Flannery O'Connor's 'Good Country People'. Both papers were very stimulating and both were delivered in that lovely, chatty, intimate Ozzy style. Wonderful stuff. I couldn't stay to hear the final paper in that session as I started to feel dizzy and had to leave the room :(
I got food and came back here to the hotel to sleep. I reckon I am just exhausted.

So, now I've slept, had the requisite ice-cream (a Klondike Sandwich - mm-mm), tea and dark chocolate needed to recover from fatigue. Tonight is The Banquet (posh!) and I am going to go armed with a pile of books for writers to sign.

Last night was the BIG reading, mentioned yesterday. Juno, aged 1, was being a dote, shaking a plastic box of crackers, making small baby noises, but TWO women (they know who they are) continuously nearly broke their own necks to register their disapproval, so I left. I was MAD. The child was not disrurupting. We were right at the back and the place was HUGE. So, I missed Alistair MacLeod, who I wanted to hear the most. But I caught a bit of Peg, a bit of Bob and some of the questions at the end. Here are three quotes on reading from last night:

'I am an addictive reader.' Margaret Atwood

'As writers, we read the zeitgeist.' Robert Olen Butler

'My life would be very empty if I couldn't read.' Alistair MacLeod

After the readings, piles of us adjourned to a Mexican restaurant for delicious chimichangas, burritos and jugs of beer. I chatted with Liadain O'Donovan (Frank O'Connor's daughter who also lives in Co Galway) about her fascinating life and about the conference up to that point. We rolled home late, down a litup and warm Yonge Street. No wonder I am ruined!

Now, to get my dress and jewels (!) out for The Banquet. Talk soon!


Rachel Fenton said...

What is it with people and dislike of babies? BABY NOISE - I SIMPLY CANNOT TAKE IT ANYMORE! You should not have felt you had to leave at all!

I get similar treatment in the library - suggestions of go to the children's section - all fine and dandy for Reu but what am I going to find to read there? It doesn't register that the trip may be for me and I have no alternative but to take him with me. And besides, he loves the library - Virgo - he loves to tidy and arrange the books!

So - you and like THAT now I take it? Cross swords...sleeping fingers..hehe...would love to meet her and get her to write something very sardonic in my copy of The Edible Woman!

Safe journey home - glad you had (overall) a hoot!


Thanks Rae. You know, I thought it was just Irish people who hated children. Turns out it's everywhere!

Peg and I did not bond, sadly. I was too busy minding my kiddy-winkle who most people have said is angelic btw. The Two Disapprovers excepted, of course. Oh well. As my pal Kar would say about anyone nasty, they'll die screaming. Haw haw hee hee. (manic laughter!!!)

Anna May said...

It makes me wild when adults fuss about baby squeaks when they themselves cough, sneeeze, grunt, fidget etc etc.
Shine bright in those jewels tonight Nuala for all of us who'd love to be there.....
Anna May x

Niamh B said...

Oooh enjoy the banquet - and thanks for these reports, really interesting. Those baby dislikers sound awful alright, it's not like they never made noise when they were babies!?! I bet they were cantankerous as hell!!

Kar said...

I'm FUMMING you had to cut short your evening because of those two!! the cheek of them! narrow minded people like that...well, I'll keep it clean here but their day will come :-) soon I hope...

Aside from the 'pair' its sounds wonderful, I'd have loved to be there.