Sunday, November 16, 2014

Fun thing: part two

Having found our bearings, Fox and I ventured inland to explore the beautiful city that is Dundee.

 Who's the man leading the kids through the centre of town? Could it be the Bash Street Flasher?

It's only Desperate Dan marching past Caird Hall. Still, best to remain at the rear, just in case.

Then it was time for morning tea and lemon drizzle muffin at the Folk Cafe, thanks to Fox, followed by a snout through the second hand stores - oh, the delightful smell of fusty books! - before lunch, also courtesy of Fox, who also brought me shortbread and generally kept me well fed and in fine company until I went to hear Kevin Barry read.

Barry is a consummate performer and he read with great flair as I nervously sketched him because I was too shy to take a photograph and risk my camera making inappropriate noises. Imagine being the cause of Kevin Barry's embarrassment. Actually, you needn't imagine; let me describe it for you.

Here is Barry, dutifully and effectionately signing copies of his books - yes, plural, the man has multiples of proofs of his talents.

You wait in line only to realise you haven't your copy of his short story collection on you then dash to buy one and return, queueing long enough to appreciate the logo on the tablecloth. He seems affable, gregarious, though a tad more shy than when he was reading to a packed room. Strange, you think, there's only you left in the queue. Then what do you do? 

Do you ask him about depictions of patriarchy in his fictions and if he consciously and deliberately champions flawed women via the narrative voices of men who at first seem bent on scorning them? No. 

You rip a sketch from your day book and stuff it at his face, muttering something like:

"This is you."

And you don't win the Dundee International Book Prize, but you've got the biggest smile on your face at the gala dinner....

Perhaps I was smiling because Amy Mason was lovely, or because Stuart Kelly and Cargo Publishing said wonderful things about my novel and my reading, perhaps it was because one of my readings was broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland, or perhaps I was smiling because I had the honour of Jenny Brown's company at the dinner table.

....which is probably a good point to shut your trap.

But just before I do shut up, I'd like to thank Literary Dundee and the NZ Book Council once more for making my trip to the Dundee Literary Festival possible. I'd also like to thank everyone I met at teh gala dinner for your hospitality and warmth, and for al the encouraging and lovely things you each said about my novel. Thank you.


Lori said...

You look beautiful in that photo. Have they released more from the event? It's OK, I'll do a search online. Congratulations again for beings one of the stars of that evening. I'm sure you both shined as bright.

Rachel Fenton said...

I can't find any more photos online, Lori! Let me know if you find some.