Thursday, March 10
For this Writers Week event it was Anna Smaill in conversation with Kate De Goldi, discussing Smaill’s novel, The Chimes. Thoughtfully, De Goldi also included discussion of Smaill’s wonderful first book, her volume of poetry, The Violinst in Spring, prompting a reading from it to close out the session before audience questions. Apart from anything else, The Violinist in Spring speaks to the important background of The Chimes, a speculative, dystopian work where music becomes the force, the weapon, as well as the means of communication (plot-spoilers were well navigated around), because Smaill trained as a violinst. She dedicated her teenage years to musical study and when spent, drained, despondent, she turned to writing.
The talk – one of so many Smaill has given around the release, and now success of The Chimes, touched on her own abandoned musical career, and her almost whim-like move from poetry to novel writing. It did not, however – as was advertised – discuss the novel’s triumph as a surprise long-lister for the Man Booker, nor was their mention of it not being shortlisted for our local book awards.
These would have been interesting discussion points.
Still, it was a great session, because Anna is articulate and insightful, and Kate De Goldi was a warm and engaging chair, their rapport never seemed forced or phoned-in. The typical Q&A session followed, questions about process and inspiration, about finding time to write. And then the signing in the foyer.