Auckland Writer’s Festival – The final hour of the final day.

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Day 3 – The end.

Yes, I realise it has now been two weeks since the official end. 

But I had such a great time it still only feels like it was yesterday.

I have just filled out an online survey for the Festival. It also took me straight back to that final last hour on Sunday afternoon. On this new Sunday afternoon I thought I’d share some final reflections.

Everyone looked the same. The rooms were filled with the same colour palette, the same drape of cloth forming an informal uniform for the festival audience. A sea of familiar faces, but not one face I recognised. We were a tribe of strangers all there for one purpose. To stand in line waiting patiently with a smile on our faces, a conversation with our neighbours. Together we stood and waited for our turn to buy a coffee, a book, get an autograph, walk into the next event, consider a coffee over a place in the next free event or whether we should flag it altogether for the loo and a leisurely coffee instead.

And, like every festival, those same questions were asked. But this time there were some great answers, especially from Haruki Murakami.

What is your process?

‘I just write’ 

Any advice for young people who want to write like you?

‘No. Good luck.’

Okay, never heard this before but loved it.

Do you have a spiritual connection with your cat?

‘No. It’s just a cat.

This question was by the chair of the panel session called The Art of the Novel. This was perhaps the most worrying question I heard all weekend. Fortunately the unanimous answer, which, if my memory serves me well, was given by all three members of the panel at the same time, reassured us all we were in safe hands.

Which authors do you turn to when you are stuck with a character? Or what books do you read?

‘None. I think about the character I’m writing.’ – Stephanie Johnson, Emily St. John Mandel and David Mitchell. Auckland Writers Festival 2015.

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