A few weeks ago I attended the Salisbury Writers' Festival at which one of the speakers was Olive Senior, a Jamaican born woman, former journalist and historian, and now successful publisher of fiction and poetry http://core.ecu.edu/engl/deenas/caribbean/senior.htm.
She was a fascinating and inspirational speaker and during the break, my friend Nina (who had accompanied me to the festival) and I introduced ourselves to her. Nina followed this up with a longer chat later in the day during which they arranged to meet for lunch as Olive (who now lives in Canada) was to be in Australia for several weeks.
Nina is one of those delightfully gregarious and charming people who have a knack for making friends wherever they go, and such was the case on this occasion. They had lunch, one thing led to another and Nina subsequently attended another function at which Olive was speaking and where she met yet another author, Ranjit Ratnaike. Ranjit is a Sri Lankan, retired Professor of Medicine at the University of Adelaide and now published author of his first science fiction novel,
"Saradasi: The Prophecy" http://www.booktopia.com.au/prod9780980491487.html.
The upshot of this was that Nina and her husband Peter hosted a lunch one Sunday afternoon for Olive, Ranjit and his wife, another friend, George, and I. As the photos above show, it was a great success and a veritable literary feast of delicious Malaysian food, fine wine and sparkling conversation. Many topics were discussed, including of course books, reading and, the trials of trying to write and get published, at which Olive is an expert and Ranjit has had recent success. If Ranjit's penchant for the science fiction genre ever palls, he could probably successfully take up humour as he had us all in stitches with his hilarious anecdotes.
Not that I'm any closer to publishing my first novel, but this was a delightful diversion and a fascinating look into the private world of that exalted breed (for us struggling wannabees) of the published author! Thanks to Nina (who will one day be one of that breed too I'm sure) for this memorable afternoon!