The writers and readers festival in Auckland the other weekend was very good. So was the weather there and the general traipsing about Auckland and riding the ferry out to Devonport (Devonport itself remains very pretty but kinda small and dull).
Michael Pollan was probably my personal highlight of the three things I saw at the writers and readers festival. I'd gone off him a little after what I thought was a weak ending to "The Omnivores Dilemma" but he spoke intelligently and articulately and entertainingly --- a rare trio of characteristics. A low point: perhaps Bernard Beckett in the science writers discussion --- he seemed more interested in trying to be clever an playing devil's advocate than actually giving decent answers. Well, I hope for his sake that's what he was doing. The alterantive is that he is as foolish as the ideas he was trying to hold up. The poetry reading was very good but very varied. Some stunning stuff (Douglas Wright, Kate Camp) and some that was less impressive. This happens though. At the end of the festival I had a new book (the Douglas wright poetry) and some new thoughts. You can't do better than that really.
More pictures here.