As the month of February rapidly approaches, my thoughts turn to convents. More specifically, they turn to The Abbotsford Convent, which hosts the annual Reader’s Feast Writers at the Convent festival, which for 2010 will be held on February 12, 13 and 14.
It’s a stunning location – great buildings, gorgeous gardens, leafy courtyards where you can indulge in an eco-friendly beer and a lentil burger while you meditate on which session to take in next. It’s probably these surroundings that give it a much more laid-back and friendly ambiance than the Melbourne Writers Festival, although the line-up at the Convent is seldom as impressive as the MWF.
This year, unfortunately, the line-up is… well… a little bit underwhelming.
Last year boasted philosophers Peter Singer and Michael Ruse (you can see my interview with Ruse here), The Adventures of Naked Man creator (and crime writer) Robert Gott, author of the Denniston Rose series Jenny Pattrick, Peter Goldsworthy, Robert Drewe… The list went on and on: it’s worth checking it out here just to compare it with what’s on offer this year.
My picks for this year are thin on the ground, but there should be a couple of little nuggets of goodness in there all the same.
Catherine Deveny: probably promoting her latest collection of Age columns Free to a Good Home, but she’s incapable of being anything less than a pisser in print and she’s even better in person.
Danny Katz: Katz and this festival go together. Simple as that. Always good value.
Danielle Clode: for the science nerds out there. Clode studies animal behaviour – which is a subject that’s always good for some jaw-dropping facts.
Gary Disher: Ok, The Divine Wind was shite, but Disher has over forty books to his name in a huge number of genres. Chances are he’ll have something interesting to say.
Claire Halliday: most recently published Do You Want Sex With That? No further comments required.
Nick Ray: for all those who liked the eco-beer and lentil burger in the courtyard so much, Ray will talk ethical supermarket shopping. Do dress in organic hemp only for his sessions, or you’ll look rather conspicuous.
Over three days those guys should be enough to be getting along with.
Oh – Matthew Reilly will be there. But no reasonable person would want to go and see that twat, would they?