2012 BAYSIDE LITERARY FESTIVAL
SESSION: “IN SEARCH OF THE SECRET TO ETERNAL YOUTH.”
AUTHOR: A. J. (SANDY) MACKINNON
Sandy Mackinnon is a luminous literary rarity – an engaging, funny writer who is also an engaging, funny raconteur.
The actor in him, plus the teacher and the adventurous Aussie tinged with English eccentricity and Scots savvy, all combine to light up the stage when he talks about his book, “The Unlikely Voyage of Jack de Crow”.
And what a voyage! In order to depart with some style from a staid, private college in Shropshire, UK, where he had taught for six years, he set out along the Severn River in a three-metre Mirror dinghy one afternoon in 1998 with the modest aim of sailing/rowing for three days down to Gloucester. A year later, he ended up in Romania. Yes, Romania. Rivers, creeks, canals, locks, the English Channel, the Black Sea, bureaucracy, language and a regular lack of the appropriate visa, they all proved no bar to this doughty, cavalier sailor wearing a pith helmet. A pith helmet? “Well, it provides great protection when the boom swings across,” he declares. “And it’s perfect for bailing out the boat when you are about to sink.”
With a wonderful ear for accents, Sandy brings characters to life on stage – no-nonsense English country widows, laconic coast guard officers, inquisitive French jetty-lurkers, fastidious Bulgarian border guards. It’s variously witty, urbane, uproarious and delightfully loopy. If you get a chance to see him, grab it.
- GRAEME JOHNSTONE.