Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Linares Festival, Day 1

It's been such a full day that I had to stop and think about whether this was the first or second day of the festival. It's too late to write at length, but in precis form:

8:45: Opening ceremony at a local school. Dignitaries on hand, speeches, music, a dance performance by local artists informed by native traditions. Afterwards, inundated by young kids with notebooks and scraps of paper seeking autographs. I don't know what I was expecting, but whatever it was, this blew it out of the water. Incredible red carpet reception.

10:30: Did a reading with Jasmine D'Costa (from India, now living in Toronto) and Katlin Kaldmaa (from Estonia), at a technical college. About 100 students on hand. Wonderful response from them. I've recorded it and will post it when I have a bit of time.

4:00: After late lunch, went to a reading at the very impressive casino building. All of the writers who did not read in the morning read at this event, including Al Moritz. Some wonderful things. The most poignant moment   occurred when Veronica Garza Flores, reading the translation of an excerpt of Irish writer Jack Harte's novel, was so moved she started to cry. She pulled herself together and finished the reading. Unheralded overflows like this one are among my favourite things about live readings.

6:00: Hustled off after the reading to the radio station where each of us had a few moments' worth of interview. In my time, I told the interviewer how much Linares reminds me of Charlottetown, which in an odd way it really does.

8:00: Went out of town a few clicks to a friend of Colin Carberry's where we enjoyed a delicious barbecue and much lively conversation.

Present moment: exhausted and off to bed.

Tomorrow a.m.: Going to the university at 10:30, where I'll be doing a solo session with a class.

Buenos noches.

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