Poet Les Murray drove himself to Newcastle from Bunyah on Saturday, 25 July, and brought the sunshine and his incisive wit with him. Forced to withdraw from a scheduled appearance at this year’s Newcastle Writers Festival in March due to illness, Murray wanted to fulfill his commitment so a special stand-alone event was organised with the assistance of Newcastle Region Library.
An audience of 85 filled the library’s Lovett Gallery and listened to Murray read a selection of poems from his new volume, Waiting for the Past. The event’s host, festival director Rosemarie Milsom, then interviewed Murray, who also happily answered questions from the audience.
Murray revealed that after avoiding computers in favour of a pen and typewriter, he has started to dabble with technology. He also said he no longer had any time for politics – “It’s not good for you” – though his thoughts were with long-time friend, political commentator and writer Bob Ellis, who has been diagnosed with liver cancer. The pair were flatmates in their student days at the University of Sydney.