After an absolutely joyful weekend away at the Clunes Book Festival with three other bookish friends, the week flew by and the suitcase was barely unpacked before I was cruising down The Range through the Lockyer Valley, bypassing Ipswich on the freeway and parking at Brisbane’s Cultural Precinct ready for a day at the Brisbane Writers Festival – Mother’s Day Indulgence to self!
First session saw the first real live audience since COVID restrictions turned us into online voyeurs. Felt great! Who better to open the Deadly Threads Festival than classic comedian, Jean Kittson! Her wit and wisdom meld in her book ‘We have to talk about Mum and Dad’ – a guide to parenting ageing parents. It appeared as if most of the audience members could relate to her anecdotes, but for me it was a wake-up call. I suddenly realised the dream run our family has had with our wonderfully well 90 year old mother might need reassessing. Having seen my sister and brother-in-law recently cope with his parents’ decline, I bought two copies of what is a cross between a manual for trudging through the maze of forms and flames of ‘the systems’ trying to get the best care available, and a gentle, funny personal account of Ms Kittson’s journey through the maze. One copy is for me when the time comes for Mum, and the other is for my sister.
The selection of diverse writers, conversations and book browsing of Writers Festivals is an annual highlight for me. 2021 had started with the Words Out West Festival in Dalby where this small regional Queensland town attracted a great cast of well-known and new names to a well designed program. I indulge my thirst for words and the different worlds they take me to, thanks to the blood, sweat and tears of these talented writers.
But back to Brisbane.
I loved hearing the stark realities of Andrew Boe’s life in the law, and found I needed the silence of a wander around the adjacent Gallery of Modern Art to process his words.
GOMA has always shared mighty exhibitions over the years, and I meandered through the rooms wanting more. Thank you Brisbane for the public spaces, and the themes that push our buttons.
The final session was a sell-out as the crowd hailed local Brisbane son and recent acclaimed author, Trent Dalton, who shared thoughts around his current best-selling All our Shimmering Skies. My day of indulgence ended with a smile.
Little did I know that only a few weeks later, I would need Jean’s book as the family now faces Mum’s hip replacement and recovery following a fall ………but she is doing well!
So the past ten days have been spent juggling time zones from Wales to join the online feast of the HAY Festival which has been an absolute total indulgence, a distraction from mundane days and a sheer delight to listen to the world’s best writers in the comfort of my dressing gown. My To Be Read pile continues to grow – and the Lifeline BookFest is coming up. Bring it on!