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The glorious contradictions of people

Apologies for not ‘live’ blogging on Sunday. The Wi Fi Gods dictated against it so I’ll put up the posts over the next day .. I watched the session where Sally Neighbour talked about interviews with profound and unexpected consequences such as that with Jack Thomas where the interview material was used as evidence against him for the Crown. And there was Ben Naparstek, the controversially, at the time of his appointment, young editor of The Monthly. He recounted a scene from his book In Conversation how Peter Handke picked up a knife and lunch and said he was going to kill him. Random conversations with people in the lunch region sparked mentions of ‘that gorgeous young man, so clever’. Some were old enough to be Naparstek’s grandmother. And speaking of grandmothers, Romana Koval mentioned she is one. She also mentioned it during her interview with Bret Easton Ellis on Friday (to be played on The Book Show on August 9). I don’t think BEE gave a … fig about Koval being a grandmother. Koval delivered her customary thoroughly researched Book Show style of questions and meanwhile BEE was pre-occupied by “this woman, Delta Goodrem” that he had seen singing and dancing on TV and noticed was ‘hot’. At first it seemed surreal as if we were watching a sitcom.

Interesting to hear each of their responses after the event. Koval said that when people derail interviews it’s often a sign of their lack of confidence in that forum and that people will decide for themselves when they hear the interview on Tuesday. She said that sometimes when people’s careers really take off when they are young they have not had time to develop substance!
BEE said that he had explained to Koval on the phone a few days before the interview that he sometimes went off topic!
What fun!
I heard it said a couple of times that this was his first writers/literary festival. Seemed odd to me for when in London last month and knowing he was to appear at Byron I read about him appearing at the London Literature Festival and another festival? Yeah, that seems like ages ago, he said when I spoke with him.
People are full of glorious contradictions are they not?
After the interviews panel, I listened to the session where BEE was interviewed by Simon Marnie, and learned a bit more than on Friday night. He talked about how his writing starts with wanting to express something about painful situations. (I will fill this in a little over the next few days).
BEE thinks it’s cute that Australia sells American Psycho in a plastic wrapper. He said he’d like a copy like that because his publishers never told him because it might upset him. He said he “likes Byron Bay – it’s just like LA isn’t it?”
He regrets agreeing to the cuts asked by his editor in Imperial Bedrooms. The editor said a section of text went too far. But what is too far? Why not go as far as you can, he asked, and he wishes now he did.
BEE’s only real parameter is authenticity. He talked about a beautiful description he had written of a silver wall in a restaurant that he tried hard to keep in the book but he had to let it go because the character Clay would never see or think about that wall that way.

Marian Edmunds


1 Comment

  1. Any views on BEE and the interview after hearing it on Radio National on The Book Show?

    My 2 cents. It was good to hear it again. I think it was a clash between Romana Koval’s formal style of interviewing and BEE wanting to have fun. BEE was entertaining and talked about much more than his admiration for Delta Goodrem. Sometimes it’s fun to let the subject take you on a bit of a mystery ride. You mightn’t get the answer to your questions but you might answers to things you never thought to ask.
    I like that BEE seems to know very well who he is – and who he is not.

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