A glimpse of Owen Marshall

The series of author interviews I’ve undertaken recently in the endeavour to bring a bit of the Press Christchurch Writers festival to CCL readers has been deeply interesting. The manner in which the interviewed authors have responded to my questions has provided a glimpse into their personalities, writing style and process.

Some have answered in a very considered or academic style. Others were more off-the-cuff, humorous and loaded with information and insight. This must reflect the writer’s personality, no?

In my recent interview with author Owen Marshall, I was struck with how succinct his answers were. There were no wasted words – a definite sign of an accomplished writer and, perhaps, an indication that in life Marshall is also  thoughtful and deliberate.

Though Marshall considers himself primarily a prose writer, he was scheduled to be one of the presenters at the Poetry for Lunch session at the Writers Festival. I had looked forward to hearing him read his poetry, to experience the words by the man who had birthed them and therefore has a deeper familiarity with them than anyone else in the world. In his interview, Marshall revealed that he had planned to read from his newest collection of poetry Sleepwalking in Antarctica at the Writers’ Festival.

Being a non-native New Zealander, discovering many of these New Zealand writers and their work has been a revelatory journey. Yet I’m left with a lingering question: is all writing somehow an unavoidable revelation of self? Is studying the way a writer approaches, builds and uses language a kind of map into the writer as an individual?

Read my full interview with author Owen Marshall.

2 thoughts on “A glimpse of Owen Marshall

  1. onederccl 13 December 2010 / 7:40 pm

    Another great interview B! Nice to see you do your research first, and think carefully about what questions you ask. Thoughtful and interesting.

    And I don’t think you can separate the writer from their writing. The way anyone ‘approaches, builds and uses language’ is a reflection of who they are – or at the very least, it is a glimpse at a small part within their larger self.
    Ooooh, deep.

    • B 14 December 2010 / 9:10 am

      Yes, I agree! This is, I think, an interesting question and one that I hadn’t really considered until this interview–until I’d really begun to see how differently the various authors have answered my questions. Ah, the joys of writers and their writing! Love it!

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