The title sort of says it all. Amazing final panel with Don Walker and Margot O’Neill, terrific “Conversation Hour”/radio session with Richard Fidler (a great in-depth interviewer – and very funny man), a quick detour to check out some Australian Rhodesian Ridgeback puppies (how could I not?), a trip to visit some wildlife, a brilliant outing to Brett’s Wharf where celebrity chef Alastair McLeod whipped up some croc n’ roo, then a quick jaunt to Sydney where I marveled at the opera house. You know how sometimes you get to a site or work of art you’ve been dying to see and it disappoints? Well, Jorn Utzon’s opera house is MORE staggering than I’d imagined. Tomorrow night I’m eating at Rockpool, then I’ll go back to the opera house to see Bangarra Dance Theater. Aida’s up as well (tempting), but I figured this would be my only chance to see this amazing dance/theater performance. I’ve lost my voice a bit from so many interviews, but I’ve found that drinking bourbon helps (sterilizes). All in all, a great trip to an amazing country. The interviewers are very involved and incisive, and the readership here is quite engaged. I’ve had a terrific time meeting readers from Australia, and many fellow authors as well.
Wrapped up New Zealand in a bit of a whirlwind, swinging through Christchurch and Wellington (and eating some white bait fritters). Then I zipped off to Brisbane, a stunningly beautiful city by any account. The book festival is wonderfully run and well organized, with a terrific range of authors – one of the best festivals I’ve attended. I had a great discussion with Lisa Unger – a terrific writer and person – and a panel on visual writing with Stephen M. Irwin (immensely talented Brisbane-based writer) and Louis Mowra (of Ice fame).And sneaking off between panels and speeches has provided plenty of fun, whether that’s riding the giant ferris (like the London Eye but not quite as big) or eating Moreton Bay Bug (mmmm…..bug). I’ve included a few pictures from the past couple days.