Monday, August 28, 2017

Light and shadow with Louise Penny and Hal Wake

Hosted by the Vancouver Writers Fest, Louise Penny greets fans after an interview with Hal Wake at St. Andrew's Wesley church, setting of many such literary conversations.

Less than a year ago, Penny lost her beloved husband, the original model for humane policeman Armand Gamache.

When an audience member suggested the author herself is the model for artist Clara Morrow, Penny did not argue. The inspiration for Ruth, she added, came from three other people. Once created, her characters develop on their own.

As always, skilled interlocutor Hal Wake asked beautiful questions, evoking seriousness and jokes and vulnerable self-revelation.

Penny shared an astonishing saga that revealed some cheering details about a famous fan. Hilary Clinton hosted the author at Chappaqua, and later returned with Bill (and a lot of security men) to visit her in Quebec.

An inspiring evening in a beautiful venue. Afterwards, descending the stone steps to the street, I was struck by a wall of nearly tropical heat, even though it was 9 pm and dark had fallen. Very un- Vancouver. If only we could relieve Houston of a bit of that crazy rain. But, as Louise Penny said tonight, life is full of surprises; we don't always get what we want or expect.

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