Friday, October 24, 2014

Tim Winton appears at Vancouver Writers' Fest

Tim Winton signs his recent novel Eyrie at VWF event

For twenty years or more I have been a faithful attender at the Surrey International Writers' Conference, and I'm excited that it is starting in just two more days.

This year, the Vancouver Writers Fest was kicked off by the great Australian novelist Tim Winton. After growing up in a remote town in Western Australia, the independent-minded Winton has the distinction of having earned his living as a book writer for over 35 years. It was as pleasing to hear him as to read his evocative prose.

Through the year I attend writer events at St. Andrews Wesley in Vancouver. Run by the Artistic Director Hal Wake, these stellar evenings feature many of today's top wordsmiths.

In the past few months, I've seen David Mitchell, Louise Penny, and Khaled Hosseini. Ian McEwan has been featured there, as have the redoubtable Scotsmen Ian Rankin and  a kilt-clad Alexander McCall Smith. (This obliged me, when touching the hem of his garment, to resort to a shirtsleeve.)

Winton's talk sparkled with witty examples of the gallows humour Australians like to indulge in, as well as a captivating and poetic description of how the landscape of the world's largest island and smallest continent affects the psyches of its people. His enthralling words were completely off the cuff; they came in response to a question from the audience.

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