Last night I saw Irish author Anne Enright speak about ‘Family and fiction’ at Northcote Town Hall, Melbourne. In conversation with Pamela Paul, editor of the New York Times Book Review, she rolled up her sleeves and entertained us with her down-to-earth womanly wisdom, her reflections on writing and her wry humour.
She started by reading from her latest novel The Green Road ((2015) in her lilting Irish brogue, with an eyebrow cocked and great dramatic expression. Six whole minutes of being read to by Anne Enright – what a treat!
The only work I’ve read of hers is The Gathering (2007), which put her among my favourite Irish women writers, those friends I like to cuddle up with in bed. I am reminded of Edna O’Brien and Edith Pearlman, but Enright’s humour, bleak at times, sets her apart. That novel won her the Man Booker Prize. Now she is the inaugural Laureate for Irish Fiction.
After the talk, she signed my battered copy of The Gathering, while I complimented her on her dramatic reading.
‘Yes, I like to ham it up,’ she said, smiling with satisfaction.
If only more writers would take their cue from her.
Talking of humour, and drama, take a look at my review of Lally Katz’s latest comedy, now playing at the Arts Centre in Melbourne: