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Holidays 2013! The Whitsunday Writers' Festival, and Home

Fabulous writers and great dinner companions, L.A.Larkin and Anita Heiss
In July, from bush camping on a remote island to a luxury hotel: we went to the Whitsunday Writers’ Festival at the Coral Sea Resort, where our beautiful room hung over the mangroves bordering the bay. It was a tiny, exclusive festival where the guest speakers almost outnumbered the guests. As a consequence we got to know everyone and had a fantastic time. All the speakers were outstanding, and also a lot of fun. Anita Heiss, one of Australia’s best-known aboriginal writers was a delight to listen to. Her latest book ‘Am I Black Enough for You’, was a finalist in the 2012 Human Rights Awards, and she and her book have been the centre of considerable controversy because of a recent landmark court case Anita and her peers won against racist journalism in Australia. Other speakers included Tony Ayling, an expert on coral reefs, who had us riveted with his story of how he escaped from the jaws of a saltwater crocodile off Lizard Island, where we camped for 10 nights last year; Joyce Morgan and Conrad Walters, both journalists and authors of the fascinating ‘The Jewel of the Silk Road’; and Louisa (L.A.) Larkin, who writes environmental thrillers, and, like Anita, is seriously good fun at dinner parties. The other participants (like John and I, not speakers) were all equally good value, and hopefully we will keep in touch with many of them and with the speakers.
Then back briefly to Trinity Beach, camping and birding on the way, and at one aboriginal campsite discovered the only other camper there had, as a lad, been in the same scout troop in Bury, UK with my first serious boyfriend, whom I haven’t seen or spoken to since I dropped him when I was 18! Bizarre.
Back in Auckland we stayed for a week in a posh apartment on Princes Wharf with the Spirit of Adventure moored outside the window, and went to the International Film Festival. I saw 18 films in 6 days, most well worth seeing and only a couple I could have happily missed. My favourites were ‘The Rocket’, ‘The Past’, ‘In The House’, and ‘Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia’.
We got back to Great Barrier Island at the same time as 15 copies of the new Australian edition of ‘Trouble In Mind’ arrived: the first time I had seen it. I think it looks great and the cover is very striking. Scribe, the publisher, gets an A+; all their staff are on the ball, and their publicity agent has been organising Australian radio interviews for me. Currently the Australian edition is available in paperback and e-book (Kindle, Kobo, and iBook) in Australia only, and OUP’s edition is available everywhere else. In due course Scribe’s edition will also be available in NZ.
So we have another month or so of winter and fires and comfort food to endure before the spring and summer comes around again. But in case we cabin fever, we are returning to Australia for three weeks in October/November; this time to Adelaide and Mildura, including (of course) the Mildura Jazz and Wine Festival.
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