Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Two for the price of one!

A few months ago I had the pleasure of attending Oxford Brookes for a creative writing lecture by Marilynne Robinson (author of Housekeeping, Gilead, Home, plus some non-fiction books which I hadn't read).  Marilynne doesn't need me to say that she's a legend in the literary world, her work speaks for her. Also she seems not to be fond of fans and their small talk. I found this out after I queued up to get her to sign my newly purchased copy of Gilead and didn't get any response from her to my inane babbling. In truth I was a bit star-struck and don't actually remember what I said to her, but it probably wasn't pretty. I wasn't offended by her lack of response though.  I didn't think her attitude was out of any preciousness or arrogance, it's just not her style and I can't blame her for not liking a fuss being made.

During her talk Marilynne spoke about where she grew up, how this influenced her work and some of the key inspirational creative sparks she'd had which made it in to her books. Marilynne emphasized the importance of the comprehensive research she carried out to ensure that her historical and geographical contexts would ring true. She alternated her talk by reading some passages from her work, which was wonderful to listen to.

Another literary whiz who attended the lecture was Phillip Pullman (author of His Dark Materials and many others). Mr Pullman was there in guest capacity and I was double star-struck by his presence. After the lecture there were complimentary drinks and nibbles in the foyer and I'm ashamed to say that I turned into embarrassing stalker woman and kept leering at him whenever I had the chance. At one point there was such a look of horror on his face when he passed me that my friends had to threaten to remove me from the premises. I just want to give him a hug I muttered feverishly as I watched him escape into the gents.

Two weeks later and I'm still a bit star-struck. I'm considering moving to either Oxford or Idaho, but please don't anyone tell Mr Pullman or Ms Robinson as they seem to scare easy...

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