Books By the Lake

JM Coetzee, the first man to win the Booker twice, spoke at the National Library of Australia yesterday. Once we got past a ponderous introduction from Australian Book Review editor Peter Rose, Coetzee’s melifluous tones made it a very pleasant way to spend 45 minutes. I’d been hoping he’d do a Q&A session (and indeed they had two armchairs set up on stage), but instead he only read slabs of text out from three of his books.* He did take a swipe at the start at Australia’s terror laws, but I don’t think he expected anyone to take it as serious political comment.

* I’d hoped to ask him the big philosophical question for any writer – why do you write? The friend I went with hoped to ask him the big geographical question – when you could live anywhere, why on earth did you move to Adelaide?

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