We often feel a certain closeness to an author having spent so much time with our heads in their books. As the reader, we gain an intimate access into their world through the words on the pages. But when the unique opportunity comes around to meet one of your literary idols, boy can it be rewarding! Here are some of MWF team’s stories of great encounters with authors we love.
“I loved hearing Christos Tsiolkas being interviewed by David Marr at this year’s Sydney Writers Festival. His responses to Marr’s very personal questions were as frank and honest as his writing. He spoke about his parents being unable to read English, which gave him the freedom to write about a side-of-life he’d never shared with them. Of course, now he’s published in many languages around the world including his parents’ native tongue, Greek. His account of seeing the film Head On (based on his semi-autobiographical debut novel Loaded) at Cinema Nova in Carlton was funny, terrifying and deeply moving. Tsiolkas told how his mother wouldn’t look at him at all for the entire film, although she thumped him hard in the chest with her fist during the scene when the lead character, Ari, injects drugs. After disappearing into the bathroom for an extended period of weeping post-film, the stoic Mrs Tsiolkas joined her son in the pub for several strong drinks and one of the best conversations they’d ever had.”
Georgina, Marketing & Development Manager
“I’ve always been a fan of Jackie Collins – I know – trashy, but I can’t help it. I went to hear her speak a few years ago at a lunch at Crown. It was very glitzy and glam and we had a full lunch and lots of champagne. When the meet-and-greet was announced I was gas-bagging to an old friend, so we ended up at the very very end of a long line-up to meet her. So I got a bottle of champers off one of the tables and a few glasses and we started having a line party. The only thing was, by the time we got to Jackie we were pretty much completely trashed. We launched ourselves at her and hugged her and kissed her on the cheek and basically made her very scared. Her publicist had Crown security come across to throw us out, but by then we were getting on like a house on fire. She signed my book: YOU’RE SO HOLLYWOOD! It’s a prize possession.”
Ash, Development Coordinator
“I have spent a lot of time at writers festivals over the years and seen a lot of writers that I love. Seeing David Shrigley at Edinburgh International Book Festival in 2010 was an event I still recall fondly. I am a long time fan of his work and seeing him speak was fantastic – he was as hilarious as you would expect, and very smart. I came away feeling energised and inspired. The best thing was he looked and spoke very differently to the mental picture I had, so it was a great insight into an artist that I adore. I saw him in the green room later but was too shy to say hi!”
Lisa, Festival Director
Which authors have you met?