Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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On Tour: Meet the author Bernard Beckett

New Zealand author Bernard Beckett has written multiple books and plays for young adults. His latest book Lullaby (Text) is a psychological thriller about twins Rene and Theo that explores love and identity. Beckett will be a guest of the Melbourne Writers Festival schools’ program in late August.

What would you put on a shelf-talker for your latest book?
This book will first make you wonder, and then make you think.

What are you reading right now?
Philip Ball’s Serving the Reich (Vintage).

What are you planning to read next?
David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks (Sceptre).

Which book do you always recommend?
Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections (HarperPerennial).

What was the defining book of your childhood?
Watership Down (Richard Adams, Penguin). I remember sitting in my room until it was finished.

If you were a literary character you’d be …
Estragon in Waiting for Godot (Samuel Beckett, Faber). I’ve always admired his resilience.

What’s your favourite book adaptation (film, television or theatre)?
High Fidelity, because it takes a slightly annoying book and, with the help of John Cusack, makes it charming.

What’s your favourite books website or blog?
Goodreads. I do love the frankness with which people feel free to comment on your books. Depending upon your mood as an author, you can arrange comments from most negative or most positive, and scroll your way to buoyancy or despair. It’s sort of wonderful, and a great reminder of just how diverse readers are. (Favourite review, three words: ‘This is shit’.)

Hardback, paperback or digital?
Paperback. I want to feel comfortable twisting the book, folding back pages and getting sand in its spine. Hardbacks are a little high maintenance. I’ve yet to feel the love for digital, although I do understand the convenience, especially for fast readers. I read more slowly.

Facebook or Twitter?
That’s a bit like asking me if I prefer parsnip or brussels sprouts.

In 50 years’ time books will be …
Still where filmmakers go to find their next great story idea.

(Photo credit: Robert Cross)



Category: Features