First of all, welcome to my new blog fans. It is time for me to report on this year’s From France to Freycinet Festival, to which I was invited to feature in a “Literary Lunch” at Piermont Retreat on Wednesday 9th May.
The festival was pleasant and gave me the opportunity to discover the East Coast and to start writing travelogues (posted to my blog) for Trouble Magazine. I also wrote 2 articles for Challenge Magazine, distributed in Nouméa.
The kickoff was given by Honorary Consul of France and Germany in Tasmania, Dianne Bye (see illustration) who made a speech after David and Jennifer Lathwell, the organizers.
There were puppet shows (“A Joey for Josephine”), music concerts throughout the 10 days, a twilight lantern parade, painting exhibitions, sightseeing expeditions, and the highlights: a literary lunch at Piermont Retreat. During the scrumptious lunch, French Mayor Bertrand Cadart (see other posts on my blog, in the May and June sections) asked me a few questions on my latest book, The Great Australian Novel – A Panorama, after giving me the opportunity to introduce myself to the crowd of merry gourmets that had Pan fried Tasmanian abalone on ceviche of fennel and candied chilli; Corn gnocchi, saffron popcorn & char grilled kernels; Venison back strap crusted in pepper & juniper berries, eggplant puree; Tasmanian market fish, tomato olive salsa and Caramel pannacotta in their plates.
So I commented on my potted literary history and explained why Simon Caterson from The Age, said that my “approach to the Australian novel has the intellectual playfulness associated with some of the best French critical writing”. I also discussed the way the French version fared (now out of print, though you may try to find copies over the Net) and how it was well received when it was released in Paris, even though one might say that there is not much interest in Australian fiction in France. I ended this lively conversation by telling the audience about my forthcoming projects: two books, a non fiction book on emotions, criticism and fiction (it will probably useful to the hysterical critics that try to debase me and my work) and a fiction: a postcolonial fable. Hopefully, both will be published in 2012.
Piermont Retreat is the venue where the highly successful Gala dinner for the 2010 Festival was held, attended by the visiting contingent from New Caledonia.
After the interview, I answered questions from the crowd and had a pleasant discussion with Australian novelist Arabella Edge who lives in this part of the world. I found out that she was fluent in French when she started reading excerpts from the French translation of her award-winning novel The Company (2000).
For copies of my book, The Great Australian Novel – A Panorama see http://jean-francoisvernay.blogspot.com/2011/08/great-australian-novel-panorama-brolga.html
A BIG THANK YOU to those who have purchased a copy of GAN. Your support is very much appreciated.
Special thanks to Martin Fieldhouse for providing the pictures under copyright.
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