It’s that time of year again, Writers’ Week, and I have been lapping it up these past couple of days. Beautiful weather, lovely setting, great organisation, fantastic people to listen to and their books to enjoy. I have highlighted in different years the plants, the writers (and more writers), the stimulation, the friends and time. This year I have particularly noticed what a difference the interviewers make to the sessions. These various folk have read the books from all the people they are interviewing, thought of questions, developed ideas and threads of enquiry, and then have the skill to leave space for answers, not make it too much about themselves, and bring the audience into the equation too. It must be difficult at times, juggling all this, but mostly they do a great job.
Yesterday one of my highlights was the interview with John Lyons, who was a Middle East correspondent for a number of years based in Israel, and Sarah Sentilles, writer of a fascinating book that has featured here a few weeks ago. It was conducted by Peter Mares, who used to work for the ABC, and whose work is consistently thoughtful and insightful. He had obviously done his homework thoroughly and for me the interplay and parallels between both the writers, as brought out by Peter, was really stimulating and invigorating.
There are many ‘behind the scenes’ people who go to making WW the wonderful event that it is, and some of them (the aforementioned interviewers, or chairs) are actually right up front and ‘on’ the scene after all.