If you’re wondering what Bret Easton Ellis' appearance will be like, literary agent Erin Hosier gives a wry wrap of her attendance at his book reading over at the Nervous Breakdown.
The first thing she spots at the reading is the icon-like status the crowd affords Easton Ellis. “Someone has crossed out the word “Ellis” from the poster on the podium so that it now reads ‘Elvis.’” It’s a younger crowd who Hosier decides are “mostly 20-somethings. Only a smattering of suited, plastic surgery failures litter the front.”
Easton Ellis launched into a brief reading from Imperial Bedrooms and he seemed nervous. Hosier describes it: “He puts his hand on the back of his neck as he reads, like a jock giving a book report. His voice is so sexy, I wish he would slow down.”
Then follow some questions – including some starstruck queries about his favourite rapper (Easton Ellis replies “Look, guys, I’m old, okay? I listen to The National.”) and writer’s block. Hosier finds it a tedious obstacle before the autographing. “Bret is exasperated. He is disappointed in the crowd and frankly so am I.”
And when the signing comes it’s all too fleeting. Hosier has pre-publication copy of the book about which Easton Ellis joked “‘I’ll just sign it where it will be worth the most money,’ he says, and does, too quickly. And then it’s over.”
From taking on Dickens, Ned Kelly and Alexis de Tocqueville, Peter Carey has never shied away from big subjects in his writing. In this Melbourne appearance, he talks about the “lack of value we place on education” and the lessons the French Revolution holds for contemporary culture. He responds to his Sydney Writers' Festival appearance and accusations of snobbery with a call for better education. “We can teach people to read,” Carey asserts. “We’re just not committed to doing it.”
The early results are in on our booked-out literary speed dating and we’re offering a sneak peek of what speed daters are bringing.
Unsurprisingly, Tim Winton fared well with 8 people bringing along one of his titles – Cloudstreet was the most popular though the more obscure short story collection, Minimum of Two also got a mention. The most popular single title though was To Kill A Mockingbird, which this year celebrates its 50th year and proved a favourite with more than 10 daters opting for their copy of the Harper Lee classic. Jane Austen also proved popular though one wag is bringing along the mash-up, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, to ensure brainy conversation with potential partners.
But with only one book to pick, some speed daters went for the unusual. One is bringing along William S Burroughs' The Ticket That Exploded, the beat grandfather’s drug-soaked, paranoia-infused, almost sci-fi text that has only recently been re-released. A few graphic novels – Watchmen and Buddha – made an appearance. But in the time-poor impress-quick world of speed dating, who could go past Twitterature: The World’s Greatest Books Retold Through Twitter?
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