I am going to have the great pleasure of talking to five brilliant authors this weekend, through my chairing duties at the Perth Writers Festival. (I love my job!)
On Saturday, I’ll be chairing a session called ‘Fantastic Tales’ featuring Paddy O’Reilly, Diana Sweeney and Porochista Khakpour; on Sunday, ‘In Isolation’ with Robyn Cadwallader and John Darnielle. I’m also taking part in a panel on ‘Art and Innovation on the Periphery’ on Friday, with Brooke Davis, Peter Newman and Griffith Review editor Julieanne Schultz; a story of mine, ‘Nullius’, is in the new ‘Looking West’ issue of Griffith Review. Session details here.
This snapshot is a brief extract from the beginning of John Darnielle’s wonderful debut novel, Wolf in White Van (Scribe, 2014).
On the wall to the right, as you head toward my room, there’s a small bookcase with a painting above it, a western scene: hills and trees, a lake. A blue and green vista near sundown, a silent place. But if you look harder, or happen to turn your head at the right moment as you pass, you see figures, human figures, on what you might otherwise take for an empty ridge. It’s like an optical illusion, this hunting party on the near hill, their curving hats dark in the orange dusk: they come out of hiding if you look at the empty scene long enough. They were always there on my journey, poppping up in the same place each time I’d drift by in my half-sleep. They never lost their power to surprise, just by being there, a little smoke rising from somewhere within their three-strong party, their brushstroke rifles resting lightly on their shoulders.