Last month, I was supposed to write a blog post about a conference we both attended the month before. In fact, I was *really* supposed to write it the month before last. I distinctly remember telling Roslyn I had plenty of time, because the association whose conference it was hadn’t even blogged about it yet. You’ll notice that Dr Maria Beville’s blog post is now not only in existence, but begins with the line, “It’s been a week since the first GANZA conference in Auckland …”
So … *ahem* it’s been a almost two months since the first GANZA conference in Auckland. With a theme of Gothic Antipodes, there were lots of papers on films and books from Australia and NZ, some of which I now really want to track down. Misha Kavka’s paper on The Strength of Water has had me thinking about the contested concept of Maori Gothic ever since, and feeling as though I need to see the film. Ken Gelder’s Keynote address also had me wondering when I can schedule an international vampire movie marathon of Thirst, Daybreakers and Perfect Creature. Catherine Noske’s paper on Bereft had me heading to online bookstores. I spoke about werewolves and vampires of the YA variety, but this time, ones created by Aussie author Catherine Jinks, who locates her vampeens in her obviously Sydney locales, and her wild were-boys in western NSW. And there was someone named Roslyn Weaver who examined the literary monster mash-ups like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Sense and Sensibility and Seamonsters. Sadly, she is yet to locate a copy of Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer, which, with a title like that, definitely has the potential to become my very favourite book of all time. Overall, it was a very stimulating conference and I’m still a little overawed by interacting with professors whose work I quoted in my PhD!
In between papers, we were treated to fabulous food including an amazing conference dinner, and charmingly Gothic touches at lunches and coffee breaks, like gingerbread ghosts and witches. A brisk powerwalk around Auckland led to charming chocolate store, which reminded us about the ladies who pushed away the dessert trolley on the Titanic. Inspired, we bought up big. Sadly, those we were bringing home for family became a casualty of a hot day’s travel back to Oz. Sorry, kids.