Friday, 18 June 2010

TORONTO - 'PEG' ATWOOD ETC.


It's another roasting hot day in Toronto and my two darlings are napping. I  - as usual - am wide awake. I was moderator at a reading this morning by Irish writer Billy O'Callaghan and Taiwanese writer Chang Ying-Tai. It was a very entertaining reading. Australian writer Paddy O'Reilly read Ying-Tai's work in English while Ying-Tai gesticulated and laughed and did matching actions. It was all very charming and not a little bizarre!

Billy read from his 2009 collection In Too Deep, the story 'Syzygy', which is about the end of a relationship. Billy read beautifully - very low key and convincing. Alistair MacLeod, who is one of his literary heroes (and mine) was in the audience. What an honour.

I went to a panel on nostalgia in short fiction which looked at stories by three writers I love: Elizabeth Bowen, Mavis Gallant and the aforementioned Alistair. The papers were delivered by three young academics - all very articulate and capable.

Later, Bharati Mukherjee read to us from a brand new story as we ate lunch in the Executive Dining Room at York Uni. And later still Margaret Atwood was interviewed by Clark Blaise. I would have liked more chat about her stories, specifically, and about her relationship with the short story and even the writing world, or some such. I didn't stay to the end and maybe things got more interesting after I left, but I was fighting to concentrate so I snuck away. Talk to us of short stories, Peg! (The interviewer is a friend of hers and he calls her Peg.) Anyway, Peg is reading later with Bob (Robert Olen Butler), Al(istair MacLeod) and Li Ang. Should be good.

My reading is on tomorrow at 9am. Cruel. Particularly as tonight is the night us Irish are getting together to go out. Hope I can stay awake...

8 comments:

Miss_Úna said...

You are keeping very busy over there Nuala, sounds like short story heaven!
Enjoy your night out tonight & have a fantastic reading in the morning x x

Rachel Fenton said...

Ah, cool! It sounds like such an interesting place to be. My brain is crying out for some stimulation! Only so much toddler talk I can interpret in any given day!

Ossian said...

I don't think I've ever been so envious of any reported event. It sounds like a sort of heaven.

Elisabeth said...

How strange to read about a friend and contemporary Paddy O'Reilly reading in Toronto alongside the likes of Billy O'Callahan, Chang Ying-Tai and Margaret Atwood in Toronto. The writing world is truly global.

BarbaraS said...

Sounds like you're having a great time there. I hope you don't have the same jet-lag problem coming back - it's no fun.

lucy said...

Am sooooo jealous! Best of luck with tomorrow's reading! My advice is : stay up late every night, haven't you the rest of the year to catch up on your sleep! x

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

Thanks for your comments, guys. Appreciatio!

info said...

There's footage of the Atwood reading here

http://routepublishing.wordpress.com/