Chloe and Imogen at Christ Church
Just floated back down to earth after attending the literary event of the year - if not the decade - last Sunday. Anne Tyler's interview at the Sheldonian Theatre in beautiful Oxford.
The theatre was packed and the audience was quite jittery . Knowing that Tyler is notoriously reticent to be interviewed I think we were nervous on her behalf. In fact she was extremely composed and serene. The audience was apparently full of writers (although I didn't recognise anybody!) and she spoke a lot about the writing life, how she is happiest when writing, how she drafts and redrafts continuously and how she loves to be in the middle of writing a novel.
The audience were invited to ask questions and as a reader rather than a writer I was most interested in the question about what she likes to read. She said that she reads a lot of contemporary novels particularly first novels and that she came to Jane Austen late, reading Pride and Prejudice in her thirties when she was in bed with flu. She was warm and funny and throughout this week I've recalled different things she said. A podcast is available on The Sunday Times website but it is not free, unfortunately.
After the interview I bought a copy of the new book The Beginners Goodbye but the queue for signing stretched right around the theatre so I decided not to wait because I wanted to join my daughter Chloe and her friend Imogen to wander around Oxford, look at beautiful Christ Church college, browse Blackwell's enormous book store and visit the ice cream cafe in St Aldates. A very enjoyable day.