May, 2013, and the beginning of almost 3 months of R & R. First visiting kids and grandkids in Christchurch and Whangaparaoa, then the wonderful Auckland Writers’ and Readers’ Festival where I went to 17 sessions. Great sessions included Jackie Kay (what a personality she has, and I'd already read her biography and a poetry book); Ramona Koval (another delightful personality in her own session, and having her interview Kate Atkinson made that session extra special I think); Tragic Brilliance (both biographers fascinating); Mr. Cohen revealed (again the personality of Sylvie Simmons shining through, especially when she sang at the end); and Edward Rutherfurd. I think the magic lies more with the personalities of the authors rather than the interviewer, mainly because good interviewers ask the great questions and have the flexibility to follow leads, but then fade into the background. The authors who added that special touch, such as Jackie Kay with her wonderful readings (the Scots accent helped!), Sylvie Simmons with her song, and William Dalrymple with his scruffy clothes and irrepressible enthusiasm, held the audience from start to finish.