Friday marked the opening of the 7th Annual Shanghai International Literary Festival hosted at the famed Glamour Bar, the naughty cocktail kitten of restaurant M on the Bund. Princess Z, Bea Long, and I attended the opening party, attempting to rub elbows with the literati. Princess Z was fierce in her quest for autographs paving the way for my interesting conversation with author Larissa Lai, the author of the novel Salt Fish Girl. It was her first trip to China. Oh, and there was the rogue of a badly dressed “arts lawyer” (is there such a thing?) from Britiain (?) who slyly invited us to dinner with him and his cohorts. Shameless. We declined, of course. Next time, however, I will try to dress even kookier. I knew I should have bought that Tibetan coral and silver ring for my forefinger at the Ghost Market …
Marcus Zusak wowed us on Saturday evening with his chat about his book entitled “The Book Thief”, set in WW2 Germany. Things 1 and 3 ended up having a front row seat on the plushy velvet sofas of the Glamour Bar, the beneficiaries of excellent storytelling. The lights of the Pearl Tower across the river in Pudong sparkled in the background. It would be impossible to repeat what the witty Mr. Zusak said but here are a few gems for aspiriting writers, garnered from answered questions from the audience:
1) use stories from your own life. Marcus’ mother was the inspiration for his character Liesel; her history was the basis for his own story. And what a story it is. Death narrates.
2) The use of small details makes your work believable.
3) Use the unexpected.
4) Failure is integral to success.
None of us had ever attended a literary festival before and were thrilled with our maiden voyage. We are going back for more throughout the week and the upcoming weekends. Congratulations to Michelle Garnaut, the “M” of the Bund for her outstanding visionary contribution to the literary life in Shanghai. Every city should be so lucky. Click on http://www.m-restaurantgroup.com to read more about the festival.
Question: What do all the titles of last week’s posts have in common?
HAPPY 5TH BIRTHDAY TO CURIOUS GEORGE!!!!