Monday, 21 July 2008

Dartington day three: Monday 14th July (part two)

Appologies for the weekend lapse. Graduation went well, and I'll post some pics later on. For now, it's back to Dartington, and after the brief respite with carrot cake on Monday afternoon, I was thrown back into the great hall with Kay Dunbar talking to Rebecca Abrams and Poppy Adams .....

Kay kicked off proceedings by sending a frison of alarm running through the hall by announcing that one of the worst jobs of festival director was when people had to cancel. Fortunately for us it wasn't the event we were waiting for, although people who came to hear Sandi Toksvig's desert island books must have been a little surprised to find that she has morphed into John Sargeant. Such is literary festival life!

So, happily ensconsed in my window seat again, I espy Ian Mortimer and Simon Montefiore happily chatting in the third row. I like it when speakers come to other events.

This was an interesting talk where two first time novelists had merged their great scientific knowledge with fiction and produced works that were bound to get people thinking. The notion of being able to trust the narrator came into conversation fairly early on, with Poppy Adams describing how that security is taken from us as the novel progresses and how her English readers are more willing to forgive being mislead than her American readers - used as we are to eccentrics.
Rebecca Abrams' novel focusses on a flawed character too - a doctor so wrapped up in his career that his home life suffers. As the mothers who have just given birth start to die at an alarming rate, it is hiw world, rather than his narration that starts to become unreliable. Both authors have a responsibility to the fact, but the way in which they are presented doesn't always have to be the way that people would automatically see them.
Book buying time again, and by this point I was feeling disticntly guilty about this, so could only justify buying both by having one signed to my mother. It'll end up on my shelf after she's read it anyway!

By the evening my brain was completely wiped, and so a little relaxation was called for. Off I trotted to a poetry music caberet called 'Wondermentalist'. Who could fail to love something like that, when people come out with lines like 'I lost my heart by the river Dart', 'Where would we be without laughter...? Plymouth', and my ultimate favourite 'I've got nothing against Totnes. Anywhere twinned with Narnia is great.' There was also an audience poetry collaboration ... Kay has put it up on her blog and it will be my poem of the week, because it's wonderful!

Thus ended a very long, but exceptional day. Looking forward to tomorrows with Justine's events - now there's one book I won't have to buy!

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