Some people won't even teach the books women write. Have you heard about that one? I feel like thrashing a very cheap handbag over his head. Say, a group of fifteen of us.
And yet I suppose there are ladies who read only women's thoughts, women's words. Do you have a leaning? Do you read more guys? Or more dolls?
I'm somewhere between the two. And I must admit that when I see an author who uses initials only - so as to step away from immediate gender indicators - my ears prick up. Think of A.L. Kennedy. Think of M.J. Hyland. I thought of doing that too years back when I started publishing stories. I wanted to be neutered in a literary sense. Or viewed neutrally. I wanted to appeal to men as much as women.
Still, I confess, I love it when a bloke says he likes a story of mine. Though I won't be putting anything under David Gilmour's nose.
|A morning view|
The town was originally dug out of the rock in the folds of the land in Basilicata, near Italy's heel. Caves dot the nearby hills and the new town of apartment blocks, shops and busy southern streets hems in the side of the old world. It is a precious enclave. On the poor side of town cave dwellings are still visible, dug from the porous tufo rock, while along the wealthier valley a conglomeration of houses, each a vaulted pocket of rich warm stone with a stunning outlook, have been built over layers of civilisation.
|Building blocks for writers|
But enough tourism info. The Festival was brilliant. We heard about the clash between English and American publishing models. We heard about dying bookshops and blooming ebook companies. We heard about how to optimise self-publishing opportunities. We warmed when independent bookshops were mentioned. We shyly pitched our new manuscripts to agents on both sides of the Atlantic. We bravely spoke to European publishers who might translate our works. We scribbled in notebooks, heard about trends, dreamed about film deals while big-talking Hollywood guys filled the air with largely impossible tales.
Then when school was out we went drinking. And carousing (the word was used up on stage and I thought Yeah! we went carousing!). Some of us were dutiful and kept up with our social media. Some of us fell asleep in our cool rooms. Some of us talked into the deep of the night about exile, about words, about stories and hopes.
Thank you Matera! Thank you to a hard-working team of organisers and translators and contributors. Thank you to the fab mates I've met - a bunch of astute readers and hard drinkers and marvellous thinkers.
Ladies - and guys - I'm booked for next year*.