My session on NZ’s natural world attracted an excellent audience -pity that, apart from Tui de Roy’s NZ bits, there has been nothing else in this area, unless of course it’s an expression of Maoritanga which has been relentlessly strong in performance inside and out. The promo of NZ has been strong and perhaps effective , down to platform ads at the main railway station, but perhaps the scale of the presence of NZ books at the fair is best epitomised by the main international Random House stand in Hall 8 which would absorb several of the PANZ cluster of all NZ publisher displays. It seems as if PANZ were not too keen on having the NZSA book panels too adjacent so NZSA scooped a wide stand on a busy walkway and pulled in numerous enquiries.
The NZ pavilion has been designed around the theme of ‘When You Were Sleeping’ so sports a permanent full moon and stars in a black environment with water to help with reflections . High panels display the pavilion story or the kapahaka action or, like yesterday evening, a Samoan exposition on tattoo. There’s a kind of dream like quality to all of this, permanent land of Po,and I feel like declaiming ‘Let there be light!’ Rangi and Papa need to stay separated. If there is one attribute of the NZ environment that is distinctive to almost anywhere else in the world, it is the light, the light dammit not the darkness.
A final summing up tomorrow before we escape to Crete (and the light). But I’m not the only one who has commented on all the leading writers who are missing – Farrell, Marshall, Kidman, O’Sullivan, McQueen, Turner et al. Note where most of these writers reside. Was Victoria the only university invited to support the literary presence at Frankfurt? Was Kaiser Bill the only consultant ?
Never mind. At least a Hobbit stands proud and unusually tall in the main Agora of the book fair grounds. That’s what it’s all about, eh? In the pavilion the books are kept tightly chained.