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I'd write more, like you said I should. If only, there was more to me.

Monday, July 16, 2007


It's Byron, so it can be nothing short of exciting.

I'm looking forward to all the discussions whether as a participant or as an observer. Though there's one in particular that's got me at the edge of me seat.

For one, its an exploration of the rise and rise of the media circus. Something I'm deeply interested in, being somewhere in the middle of it. There are several issues that I want to discuss and the festival organisers have unwittingly bestowed those powers on me, by asking me to moderate the session.

Couldn't have asked for more. It's the perfect platform to get the writers take on a host of issues. Topping my list are:
- Is the rise and rise of the media too much of a good thing?
- Is there a 'literary media'?
- Do writers miss the days when they wrote the book and it did the talking?
- Do they have any control over their appearances here, there and everywhere?
- What about the rigour of literary criticism?
- How often has their work been mis-read?
- Why do some critics only like the bad stuff?
- The Potterisation of the media. Great phenomena, but how much other stuff is ignored?
- The rise of the blogs. I'm all for them. I think several blogs do a superb job as they have the ability to go beyond the constraints - word limits et al - imposed by the traditional media. What do writers make of it?
- What about authors who blog? Demand on their time versus connectivity with their readers.

I've got a long list and my initial email to the panelists has got me all excited.

I can often tell how a session will turn out, by the sheer energy of the email exchanges prior to the discussion. And if this one, is any indication, it's going to be rocking.

There's actress and writer Barbara Ewing. Born and brought up in New Zealand, she trained at the Royal Drama Academy in London and is a familiar face having appeared in several plays and on television. Her first book Strangers was out in 1978. Since then she's gone on to write The Actresses (1997), A Dangerous Vine (1999), Till Murder Do Us Part (2001), The Trespass (2002), Rosetta (2006) and her latest The Mesmerist. Read a superb conversation with her here. What's got me intensely eager about the meeting is her comment that "a great deal of my life I have been an actress and see the two areas looking more and more alike!" Wouldn't you want to hear more on that?

Joining Barbara on the panel will be James Phelan. He's cracked me up with his opening salvo. He warns me its only the beginning. He's got a book load of tales to tell both as an author and a journalist. Get your note pads ready.

Telling tales comes naturally to dear pal Nury Vittachi. Expect the unexpected when he's on your panel. I can already hear the marquee reverberating with the sound of laughter. It will be music, trust me.

Completing the script will be Elizabeth Best, whose debut Eli's Wings was an instant best seller. It's got a four and a half star review on Amazon. And it's the message of the book that resonates with readers. She was inspired to write the book because she wanted to show other sufferers, their families and friends that anorexia can be beaten. She co-founded SHINE and has gone on to write her second non-fiction book The Year We Seized The Day.

I take the liberty, on behalf of the panelists, to invite you to this no holds barred chat. Get ready for the punches and make a date with us:
On Sunday, 29th July at the Petrac Marquee
From 10:15-11:45am

And don't go anywhere without checking the rest of the festival schedule. Lots happening, do make the time.

Well, if for some compelling reason you can't make it to the Fest and there's something you are dying to ask the panelists email me at

I promise to get the responses to your questions.

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