Posted by: gillarbuthnott | August 18, 2012

Bookfest Blog #3: Two Hours of Bliss

I’m having difficulty keeping up with myself here, I’m attending so many terrific events…

Friday’s double whammy of delight started with the sublime Michael Frayn talking about his latest novel Skios, via many anecdotes about writing, acting, farce and, most of all, mistaken identity. He pointed out that most of us really had no idea if he actually was the genuine Michael Frayn, or if he had perhaps sub-contracted the event and was meantime living it up in Hong Kong. (Apparently this is what Little Richard used to do! Young people – ask your parents who he was…) In one of those ‘couldn’t make it up’ moments, I overheard the following comment as we were leaving after the event.

‘Well, that wasn’t who I was expecting to see at all. I must have got him mixed up with Michael Holroyd.’

The second course of my bookfest meal was Alexandra Harris and John Mullen, talking about their respective books, Virginia Woolf and What Matters in Jane Austen?.(Answer: absolutely everything)  I must admit to being pretty ignorant about Woolf, although I love Austen, and to listen to two authors so passionately in love with their subjects couldn’t have failed to be engrossing. Only having vague knowledge of the ‘misery/suicide’ side of Woolf, I was fascinated to find that she was a woman who delighted in life’s small pleasures, perhaps due to the intensity with which she observed them. Oh dear, so much to add to my must read list.

And now: an update on the Michael Palin stalker… Anonymous Acquaintance did manage to track him down, but in the signing tent, not the yurt and, perhaps inhibited by the more public space, failed dismally to give him a hug, settling instead for a handshake. POOR SHOW C*******! (That’s hiding a name, not a swear word.)


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