Alan Down Under

I am writing this from the South Island of New Zealand, having a few days of delicious downtime between the Auckland Writers' Festival (which was a blast) and the Sydney Writers' Festival (which I am very much looking forward to). It's been a while since I have been to Sydney and am looking forward to catching up with friends, and of course, watching the Eurovision Song Contest next Sunday with a bunch of Aussies celebrating their country's first time competing in this illustrious institution!

The Auckland Writers' festival marked the very first festival I have ever attended as a writer. Well I guess I have been to lots of film festivals with films I have written, but you know what I mean. Literary festivals.  Not My Father's Son is not my first book, and I have written in many other forms over the years, but I think it marks a sea change in the way I am both perceived and how I perceive myself as a writer. It was a real thrill to share the stage with writers like Ben Okri, Amy Bloom, Helen Garner, Damian Barr, Witty Ihimaera to name but a few, and to be able to talk writing and just generally hang out with such great minds.

 Me and Ben Okri

Me and Ben Okri

Also lovely to run into Kiwi legend and old chum, Sam Neill


Maybe this picture is upside down because I am in the Southern Hemisphere, but try as I might I cannot get it to go the right way up!

In other news, I am re-reading a Famous Five book by Enid Blyton which I will be discussing on the Book Club on ABC TV in Australia next week. It is jolly good fun and I am having lashing of ginger beer as I devour it.

When I get back to the States it will be full steam ahead for my show Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs which opens at the Cafe Carlyle on June 2nd, and also for the Tony Awards, which I am hosting with Kristin Chenoweth on June 7th on CBS, live from Radio City Music Hall! Gulp. My tummy went a bit funny as I typed that last sentence.

Before I came down under I had a busy time of it. I sang with the NY Pops at Carnegie Hall at  a gala honoring my old chum the director Rob Marshall and his sister Kathleen. Then I popped along to the Friars club to toast the newly knighted Dame Joan Collins.  See below for a pic of me and Joan taking a selfie and then the actual selfie itself.  So meta.


I was very, very excited by the great swing in Scotland to the SNP in the UK general election. As the former first Minister Alex Salmond said in his victory speech (he is now the Westminster MP for Gordon), the Scottish lion has roared.  Still, it is galling to me to think that David Cameron continues to be the Prime Minister of Britain.