Boris Johnson opens Melbourne Writers Festival


I went along to see London Mayor Boris Johnson open the 2013 Melbourne Writers Festival last night. The man declared himself impressed with the venue, our city’s quaint mid-nineteenth century neoclassical Town Hall, deeming it more appropriate than his own sterile and modern energy-saver abutting the old Pool of London.

In case any of you are wondering why a politician travelled 16891 kilometers to open such an event, Boris Johnson is a writer with a dozen or so successful books under his belt. He came up through the newspaper ranks Continue reading

Book review: Wolf Hall

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel.

Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2009

Mantel’s Wolf Hall takes place at the cusp of the Reformation in London c. 1520. It is cleverly narrated from the viewpoint of Thomas Cromwell (consecutively and/or concurrently Court advisor, Privy Seal, the Garter, Vicar General, earldom of Essex and Lord Chamberlain.) The author artfully reinvents this historically maligned character into a formidable and ambitious advocate with a droll wit and very touching human side (‘With animals, women and timid litigants, his manner is gentle and easy; but he makes your creditors weep.’) She relates his abused childhood and how his early mercenary activity in continental Europe brings him to his opening chapter anima as advisor to Cardinal Wolsey. He is present at Wolsey’s decline and afterwards ingratiates himself to his monarch Henry Tudor to ensure his political and vocational survival. Continue reading