Saturday, January 01, 2005


Why Authors Become Recluses

In an entertaining piece on book tour horror stories, John Birmingham in the Sydney Morning Herald recounts his own near-death experience when a bookstore called him at the last minute to "warm up the crowd" for a new author. Sure, he said:

Thing was, when I got there, I didn't know anybody. Not the author. Not his publishers. Not a soul in the surprisingly well-to-do audience. A kindly bookseller pushed a steadying ale into my hand and I figured, what the hell.... I leapt onto the stage. The piece I read involved too much dope smoking, too much tequila drinking, unresolved lust for three Tasmanian hotties, some masturbation and two former flatmates setting their hair on fire....

The ashen-faced star of the night, the virgin author, stood up shaking and looking confused, as I took my seat among the glowering audience to listen to his bit. I confess, I don't recall the exact words he spoke next, but they went something like this: "My own journey into my family's Holocaust tragedy began when I visited Auschwitz ..."

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