On the Couch with Nigel Featherstone

Nigel Featherstone - photo by Andrew SikorskiWho is Nigel Featherstone?
A writer of contemporary adult fiction, though I branch out into other areas, such as writing the libretto for a new Australian song cycle. Proudly based in regional New South Wales.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
Very little, quite honestly. As long as the majority of each week is writing and reading and listening to music, I’m happy.

Who inspires you and why?
All artists, no matter what the form. When I was a teenager I used to love spending hours watching Sunday Spectrum on the ABC. My two brothers would be outside kicking the football, but I’d be inside, one minute learning about the Stradivarius violin, the next about the life and work of Rudolf Nureyev. Artists kick against the grain, and that is such an enabling force.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Do better to ensure a greater diversity of artistic voices can have their impact.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Mount Wilson in the Blue Mountains. My family used to hire a cottage there every year when I was a youth, and I still go there every so often – there’s something about the heavy, quiet distance that enthralls.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
One of Goulburn’s pubs – we’re lucky here to have a number of the ‘traditional’ country pubs, some of which are quite rough around the ears. Australian cities seem keen to get rid of them, but they’re flourishing (more or less) in my neck of the woods.

What are you currently reading?
The Famished Road by Ben Okri. It is a novel that’s full of magic and imagination and it’s taking me to some interesting – and challenging – places.

What are you currently listening to?
All the records in my collection by Jóhann Jóhannsson, who died very recently. He was such an adventurous and evocative composer, and he was only 48 years old. There would/could/should have been so much more music.

Happiness is?
Seeing inequality turn to dust.

What does the future hold for you?
More opportunities to keep doing what I’m doing, especially taking on work like The Weight of Light. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being challenged by this project; all credit to the Goulburn Regional Conservatorium for having the guts to commission me. And I’ve loved working with composer James Humberstone too – as an artist he really is keen to push things, to take risks, to be brave.

Nigel has written the libretto to the new Australian work, The Weight of Life – which will be presented at The Street Theatre, Canberra: 3 & 4 March 2018. For more information, visit: www.thestreet.org.au for details. The Weight of Life will also be presented at the Goulburn Regional Conservatorium on Saturday 10 March 2018.

Image: Nigel Featherstone – photo by Andrew Sikorski