I was so excited to see that one of my favourite writers, Alberto Manguel, will be at the Perth Writers Festival later this month. Manguel was born in Argentina and was strongly influenced in his youth by Jorge Luis Borges. He’s a non-fiction writer and essayist, a great thinker and intellectual explorer, who writes so beautifully that really complex or abstract ideas become accessible and engrossing.

Manguel always defines himself as a reader rather than a writer, and he is fascinated by the connections between books and our bodies, libraries, politics, art and intellectual curiosity. His approach to books and reading is of reading as an integral part of life and humanity, and he weaves together anecdotes, fairy and folk tales, mysterious places and landscapes, history and politics with extraordinary wisdom and dexterity. My favourites among his books are A Reader on Reading and The Library at Night, but there are many more to choose from.

I’ve booked tickets for all three of his events and am particularly excited about the session in which he’ll be talking to Philip Adams about curiosity.

Here are a couple of my favourite Alberto Manguel quotes which articulate the way we relate to the world through our own stories, and how each reader reads a book in their own individual way. Both quotes are from A Reader on Reading. 

“We come into the world intent on finding narrative in everything, landscape, the skies, the faces of others, the images and words that our species create.”

“Through ignorance, through faith, through intelligence, through trickery and cunning, through illumination, the reader rewrites the text with the same words of the original but under another heading, re-creating it, as it were, in the very act of bringing it into being.

If you are in Perth check out the Manguel sessions and see if they interest you.

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