One of the nicest, and least-anticipated, aspects of having books published is that I get to meet other writers I greatly admire. At festivals and conference, sometimes I have to remind myself that I am talking to someone I never dreamed I would ever get to speak to.
During this year’s Melbourne Writers Festival I was asked if I wanted to interview author Ruth Ozeki for the Wheeler Centre website. Hell, yes! I’d just finished reading her Man Booker Prize-shortlisted A Tale for the Time Being, and I was ready to launch myself straight into reading her first two books. Nothing like discovering a new favourite author. I was having a minor revelation: oh, people are allowed to write books this odd and funny and dense? This is wonderful!
When we met, funnily enough for the first ten minutes Ruth and I talked of nothing but our mutual love of running to explore foreign cities and yoga and swimming laps. And then we got onto the book stuff.
In a long and extremely fascinating conversation, the thing that stuck with me the most was that Ruth had initially failed at writing A Tale for the Time Being. That such a successful, magnificent novel had been very, very difficult and unruly in its early stages. I found that quite heartening to hear.