We’re currently on our annual summer holidays in Ireland during which the kids get their thrice annual hair cuts (3 for the price of 1 in Norway), I have salon-smooth hair for two weeks, and my husband uses my brother’s old mountain bike to cycle from Kilkenny to Carlow every second day as part of his Birkebeiner race training.
The best thing about coming here in August is Kilkenny Arts Festival. Not only does this offer lots of street entertainment for the kids but it also brings some great writers to the city to plug their wares giving me the opportunity to hang out with literary types. Well sit on a plastic chair in the audience in front of them for an hour then queue up and get my book signed.
Next week I’m going to readings by 2009 Orange Prize short-listed Kamila Shamsie, 2009 Booker long-listed Colm Toibin (who curates the literary events at the festival) and a newcomer Peter Murphy who has written a great book called ‘John the Revelator’. Last year I got to meet and have books signed by Sebastian Barry and Anne Enright. I told the latter that I wished I could write like her. ‘You should write like yourself,’ she replied kindly. ‘No, I’d much rather write like you!’ I gushed. Yes, I’m sure she was impressed. To Mr Barry I must have come across as an even bigger twat. He asked me what I was doing in Norway. ‘My husband is in gas,’ I said. Yep. Am really hoping to keep the head this year and keep the idiocy to a minimum. Maybe I'll mention my own writerly leanings. Ask an intelligent question from the audience in front of everyone. Neither of these scenarios is likely as all the events are too early in the day to calm nerves with a drink without smelling like an alcoholic. Still, I can fantasise about becoming Colm Toibin's newest best friend for another eight days, about chatting with Ms Shamsie on the merits of multi-point of view narratives for just two more, and then it'll be back to the barren literary landscape of Norway where such fantasies don't even exist.
I'll let you know how I get on.