Some favourite moments from the Sydney Writers Festival, which ended yesterday:

  • Jeannette Winterson’s fiery opening fanfare to the whole event at the Opera House on Tuesday
  • An esteemed expatriate writer advising me, as she signed my copy of her book, that “it’s all a crap-shoot” (in which “it” referred to the whims of critical and popular appeal);
  • Helen Garner’s charming lack of pretension during her conversation with Caroline Baum (who did an impressive job of all three “in-conversations” she led);
  • Being asked some tough and interesting questions by members of the audience in my two panel sessions (such as “What is your attitude to dying having written the book?” and “Have you experienced any moments of ‘magical thinking’ since being widowed?”);
  • Learning there’s a significant difference between food and “food-like substances”, that I might be guilty of harboring a few of the latter in my fridge and pantry (a food crime in the view of the magnificent Michael Pollan, author of Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defence of Food), and that I should get rid of them immediately;
  • Being well looked after by the Green Room Guru, Grant Poulton;
  • Being carefully tended by my publishers, including a leisurely feeding and watering at The Wharf Restaurant on Thursday.

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