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Ron Irwin’s Flat Water Tuesday Causes Ripples at The Book Lounge

Ron Irwin

The Book Lounge was packed to capacity on the evening of Wednesday, 6 June, to celebrate the launch of Ron Irwin’s debut novel, Flat Water Tuesday. The audience, an unusually eclectic mix, made up of the author’s students and fellow staff members from UCT, rowers and readers, were thoroughly entertained for almost an hour.

Flat Water TuesdayBookshop proprietor, Mervyn Sloman, heaped praise upon the book. He said Flat Water Tuesday was about life, love, relationships – with ourselves and others. “Like the best of modernist literature, it’s about people striving to do insane things – which in this case happens to be rowing. There’s an intensity about the world that Ron’s created that stays with you. It makes you wake up thinking you’ve seen the movie that has been optioned, but hasn’t yet been shot!”

The author kicked off with a video to demonstrate some of the finer points of rowing. He showed the final moments of the race wherein the South African lightweight men’s quad won gold at the London Olympics in 2012. He said that many people have no idea that one actually travelled backwards in the scull. “When people think about rowing, they think you can see where you’re going. You can’t!” He equated South African’s win at London 2012 as comparable to the landing on the moon. “The commentator in the race thought it was the Australians coming back. The South Africans were never expected as winners. This is an immense, immense moment in rowing history!”

John Maytham, popular radio show host, joined Irwin at the podium to discuss the novel. He gave a brief synopsis of the book that is a contemporary love story, set in contemporary New York and fifteen years earlier at an exclusive private boy’s school where an outsider, a scholarship kid, has to rescue the rowing team that has lost the most important race for the previous four years. “You came into your school with the same expectations that were on Rob Carrey, the main character?”

Irwin recalled arriving on a scholarship with some rowing experience. He soon realised that “the rowers were the gods of the school, top of the pops!” If writing what you know is a vital aspect of good writing, then nobody is better placed to write about riggers and oars and how the team must pull together in a boat.

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Liesl Jobson (@LieslJobson) tweeted from the launch using #livebooks:

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