Secrets and Lies panel - l to r, David Francis, Joan London, Hannah Tinti, Mark Sarvas (Photo by Anya Ulinich)
Melbourne: Wonderful festival, great facilities and enthusiastic audiences. I was part of two panels - one of first novels and one on writing love (don't ask, but it went better than it sounds, thanks to some able moderation), and I moderated (or chaired, as they say down under) a third panel on the topic of "Secrets and Lies." I also made an unexpected appearance on Love TV, where local host Aphrodite asked my thoughts on the subject. Then, of course, there was the memorable master class, which was a complete success. Here's my table in the old Treasury Building where the class was taught, all prepped to go:
Thos orange books at the end are Penguin reissues of The Great Gatsby, which I gave as a gift to all my students.
It was nice to see the books so easily available to the receptive book buying crowd:
And, of course, it was nice to see Harry well-stocked for the weekend:
The true highlight of the trip, however - well, other than the chance to hang around with some great writers, which is always the best part of any festival - was the discovery of the Flat White, a coffee drink that's sort of like a stronger latte. Wow. I had one of these on my first day at the advice of a friend, and ended up running about three or four a day by the end of the trip. But I never found a barrista who made them as well as the one right outside my Melbourne hotel did. So, to the unnamed Roozervelt's barrista, you, sir, are in a class by yourself:
There's a video on Flat White preparation here. Christchurch report coming on the heels ...