I got back yesterday from a fantastic few days in Auckland for the festival. I would have liked to have stayed for longer, but I arrived late Thursday afternoon and left first thing on Sunday morning, and in that time managed to get to eight sessions and three parties and not a dud amongst them. Huge congratulations to Jill and Shona, Peter and Stephanie for the whole thing which was probably the best yet.
One of the things I love about the Auckland festival is the fact that there is usually more than one thing going on at once, and the half hour between sessions gives you ample time to buy books, get them signed, or mill around and catch up with people you haven't seen for a while.
While everything was great for me, highlights include Sarah Hall (smart, articulate, interesting), Junot Diaz (I only caught him on the opening night but he read brilliantly), Hermione Lee, Paula Morris, Luke Davies (a definite highlight of highlights: engaging, funny, honest)... oh heck now I've started I actually want to just about list them all. Special mentions to chairpersons Carole Beu, Graham Beattie and Kate Camp. I appreciate that chairing is a tough job (see my comments on Beattie's blog).
I came home with a nasty cold (thanks Paula!) so this report isn't as detailed as I had planned. Feel free to ask my any questions if you didn't get to it. I'm off to nurse my snuffles.
8 hours ago