This week will be my first time at the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival. Our team, Richard, Roberta, Bronwyn and myself, have been preparing hard, settling down to some serious reading and starting to write blogs. This sounds like a great job for a librarian but I would have to say that some books and writers will take me outside my comfort zone.
Richard is the experienced hand and has been taking us through recording interviews using the libraries’ Marantz digital recorders, what questions to ask and what to expect during the festival days. Most of the interviews will take place at the Crowne Plaza hotel where the writers are staying, we will do the interviews in the foyer and we have been allocated 15 or 20 minutes to do the job. We’ll be trying to get a libraries and readers angle through our questioning. There is the odd out of venue interview – for example I’m off to interview Tui Flower at her home which should be fun. We will mostly transcribe the interviews, but if we get good audio segments we’ll be doing our best to get them up on the blog as soon as possible.
Events start happening on Wednesday and Thursday with a very strong programme for young people. Some of the big name writers are doing sessions with students – I think this is fantastic. We start to interview people during this time. We will also be taking lots of photographs and uploading them to the library Flickr in their own special set. (Richard did a great set of photos for the New Zealand Post Writers and Readers Week earlier in the year which captures the daily feel of the city during festival time). We will have completed two audio wrap ups by Thursday night when the official opening takes place. Friday it is all on for interviews and festival sessions and then we have Saturday and Sunday’s programming finishing with William Dalrymple’s session The Last Mughal which ends the festival.
At the end of each day the team does an audio roundup of the day’s highs and lows making intelligent and witty comments ( the standard has been set high by previous attendees). During the day we will try to keep up with blogging about events attended so that we are keeping you as up to date as possible. Sitting down to write to a deadline in an unfamiliar location could be a test but it should also be quite stimulating.
Donna and Simone from the web team will be keeping the home fires burning by helping with any technical matters for the blog and the library website where we have a Festival page.