I’m very excited to be interviewing Molly Ringwald and Sylvia Nasar at the Sydney Writers’ Festival this month. Two very different writers – one the star of 80s cult movies Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink directed by the legendary John Hughes; the other a journalist with degrees in literature and economics and author of the award winning biography A Beautiful Mind, which became the Hollywood film starring Russell Crowe – and two very different books.
I’ll be talking to Molly Ringwald about writing and her acclaimed first novel When it Happens to You, a series of short stories which explore love, loss and betrayal, at the Sydney Town Hall on Saturday 25 May from 6-7 pm.
Here’s how the first story, ‘The Harvest Moon’, opens:
‘As far as Greta knew, there was nothing in the sky that night.
‘Lying on her back in the bathroom on the cool of the white marble tiles, she heard the summons again. Her husband tapped the horn of the car: one long, noisy beep followed by two shorter taps, as if in apology. She strained to close the zipper on a pair of jeans without pinching the soft flesh of her midsection. It was a task she found both onerous and humiliating, primarily since she had purchased the pair less than a month ago, having gone through the same depressing experience with every other pair that lay folded in her dresser. Another short beep to remind her (in case she had forgotten) that her husband and daughter were waiting in the idling car, but this really had been sprung on her, and there might be photos. She wanted to at least make an attempt at presentability.’
And I’ll be talking to Sylvia Nasar about economics and her latest book Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius, which traces the development of economics through the men and women who created the discipline from Karl Marx to Joan Robinson and Amartya Sen, at the Sydney Theatre at Walsh Bay on Sunday 26 May from 10-11 am.
Here’s what Nasar writes about the lesson British economist Alfred Marshall (1842-1924) learnt from his extensive travels across America, which became the chief insight of his Principles of Economics published in 1890:
‘Under a system of private property and competition, business firms are under constant pressure to achieve more with the same or fewer resources. From society’s standpoint, the corporation’s function is to raise productivity and hence, living standards.
‘Of all social institutions, the business firm was more central, enjoyed a higher status, and did more to shape the American mind and civilisation than elsewhere. The company was not only the principal creator of wealth in America but also the most important agent of social change and the biggest magnet for talented individuals.’
Plus ça change …
I’ll write more about each of these books before the festival starts – but for the moment I’m in Paris …
… under cover at an accounting conference (EAA 2013).