Here is a snapshot of life in Adelaide – I had the pleasure of a friend from London Book Club visiting last weekend, so was able to share with her all the craziness that is Mad March!
Adelaide Writers’ Week is one of my favourite events – it’s free, held in the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Gardens among the trees, and attracts big-name authors and new (to me) discoveries. It is part of the Adelaide Festival – this year’s highlight for me will be Neil Armfield’s The Secret River, adapted from Kate Grenville’s book and staged in a quarry. At the same time we have the Fringe (the world’s second-largest annual arts festival). Then there’s the Adelaide 500 V8 supercar race (don’t mention the road closures) and this weekend is Womadelaide. Whew!
On Saturday I ducked into Writers’ Week to hear Nathan Hill discussing his fabulous novel The Nix. I’m thrilled to hear that it’s being made into a movie with Meryl Streep. He was super engaging and I love the book so far – funny, with a sense of playfulness that reminds me of (but is easier than) David Foster Wallace.
We were lucky enough to have a dinner booking at Peel St – having been away last year, I’ve so missed their blend of casual atmosphere and exceptional, fresh food. Heaven! Then onto the Riverbank Parc Palais for a larger-than-expected frosé.
Sunday and back to Writers’ Week for stories based on true crime, with Graeme Macrae Burnet discussing the Booker-shortlisted His Bloody Project and Hannah Kent with the follow-up to her outstanding debut Burial Rites, The Good People. Entertaining and articulate, definitely worth the early start (two macchiatos later!). Graeme Macrae Burnet was signing his book with a fingerprint, so of course I had to break my book ban and buy a copy.
Next up, the Art Gallery of South Australia for the incredible Versus Rodin exhibition. Leigh Robb has done a beautiful job with her first major exhibition in her new role as Contemporary Curator. She has juxtaposed the Rodin works with modern paintings and sculpture – by artists such as Sarah Lucas, Antony Gormley and Louise Bourgeouis – on the theme of the human body. It’s on until 2 July – come and see it!
Next up was 2KW for a rooftop drink and tapas (= Sol Sessions).
Then onto a Fringe Show, the fabulous, talented and funny Hugh Sheridan with the California Crooners. So, so good! I have been spoilt with live music in the past and some artists cannot be compared (Bruce Springsteen) , but the Crooners gave us such a fun, relaxed night of entertainment – a wonderful show. We were too busy dancing so my photos are all blurry – but here is the pretty setting on the Torrens, looking back to the Riverbank Palais (see earlier frosé).
Monday and time to meet another author – the wonderful and engaging Jessie Burton, discussing The Muse – one of my favourite books of 2016. More coffee needed…
Alex was departing Monday night so how to fit in all of South Australia’s famous wineries? Luckily, 10 minutes from the city is Magill Estate, home of one of our most iconic winemakers, Penfolds. We did a tasting, followed by lunch at the Kitchen – absolutely superb and the Express Lunch is amazing value at $35 for 2 courses plus a glass of wine. We had duck bao for entree, perfectly roasted, crispy duck leg with pumpkin for main and a chocolate dessert… Mondayitis begone!
And that’s all for one weekend! Next up: more Festival reports, and why today’s book haul had a Japan theme….