This week Jack Hartley filled me in on why he writes Young Adult fiction and what it means to him.
Jack, what motivated you to write this novel?
I started writing this text as a screenplay when I was 17. I was frustrated because I couldn’t find a book that was written from a guy’s perspective, a genuine voice, so I decided that I would be the one to attempt to do that.
Describe this book.
This book has drama, mystery and romance components. It’s also about mental health and what that can look like for a young person. The main character Judd is having what you could say was an existential crisis. He absorbs himself in drawing to possibly escape the reality of his life in which his parents who are constantly fighting.
I enjoy classics like Romeo and Juliet, I like love stories but love stories that don’t necessarily have happy endings. Happy endings are not always realistic. I like James Franco and his short stories because they are weird and messed up. But tell the truth of what it’s like to be young.
In your busy life how do you find time to write?
It took me five years to write the screenplay of All the other days. When I finished my Psychology degree in 2016, I went back to complete my teaching degree last year. This made me miserable so I left teachers college and I spent the next six weeks writing full time to adapt the screenplay into a novel. My Psychology degree helped me immensely in my character development for this novel.
Are you working on anything else?
Yes I am writing two more books at the moment, one of them is about young people and mental health and is focused on actions shaping your life when you are young. The other is a time travelling romance mystery.
Have you got any advice for new writers who are wanting to be published?
Just go for it. Writing is something if you’re passionate about you’ll do regardless of getting published. If you get published then that’s awesome, but don’t let that be the thing that stops you from writing or not.
Jack was interviewed by Greta Christie, Youth Librarian at Tūranga
Katherine Mansfield was born as Kathleen Mansfield Beauchamp on the 14th of October 1888, into a prominent family in Wellington. Her father, Harold Beauchamp, became the chairman of the Bank of New Zealand (then, curiously enough, owned by New Zealanders). He had been born in Australia, but moved to New Zealand with his family when he was three years old. At the age of 65, he was made a knight of the realm. Katherine’s mother was Annie Beauchamp, whose brother would marry the daughter of Richard Seddon, former Prime Minister of New Zealand. This marriage wove the Beauchamp family into New Zealand’s prominent social circles.
When Katherine was five, her family moved from Thorndon to the then country suburb of Karori for health reasons. Katherine spent the happiest years of her childhood in Karori. Her short story Prelude published in 1918, was inspired by her memories of this happy time.
Mansfield’s first published her short stories in 1900 in a society magazine called New Zealand Graphic and Ladies Journal.
Mansfield expressed a feeling of alienation in her journals. She became disillusioned with New Zealand because of her observations of Māori being repressed by the Pakeha settlers. This is probably why Māori characters are often portrayed in a positive light in a story such as How Pearl Button Was Kidnapped, first published in 1912.
At age fifteen, Mansfield moved to London to attend school there. When she returned to New Zealand, aged nineteen, she began to write short stories prolifically. She was determined to become a professional writer and returned to London at the age of 21.
Financially, Mansfield was sustained by an annual allowance from her father of one hundred pounds. But Mansfield was a woman ahead of her time and led an unconventional lifestyle, being bisexual and becoming pregnant while unmarried. Her mother was horrified and raced over to London (well, as quickly as you could race in 1909) where she dispatched Katherine to Bad Wörishofen, a spa town in Bavaria. Mansfield miscarried soon after arriving in Bad Wörishofen and, to compound her woes, her mother cut Katherine out of her will.
However, her stay in Germany was to enhance Mansfield’s writing career. Here she first encountered the works of Anton Chekhov, who is considered to be among the greatest writers of short fiction in history. Her experiences of Germany produced the stories which became her first published collection In a German Pension published in 1911.
Mansfield was profoundly affected by the death of her younger brother, Leslie Beauchamp, who was killed fighting in France in 1915. “Chummie”, as the family called him, had been very close to Katherine in their childhood. Perhaps mindful of this shadow of mortality, Mansfield wrote prolifically from 1916 onwards.
This was to prove prescient as Mansfield was diagnosed with tuberculosis in December 1917. In order to lessen the effects of her disease, Mansfield went abroad to Europe, staying in France and then Italy. During this time she published two more collections, Bliss and Other Stories (1920) then The Garden Party and Other Stories (1922).
Katherine Mansfield spent the latter part of her life seeking unorthodox treatments for her tuberculosis, but, unfortunately, she died on the 9th of January, 1923 from a pulmonary haemorrhage. Mansfield left a lot of unpublished stories behind, but her former husband, the editor, John Middleton Murry, took it upon himself to gather and publish several posthumous collections of her work.
Mansfield’s legacy is writ large in the New Zealand literary landscape. Our most prestigious literary residency is the Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship which all the big knobs of Kiwi literature have enjoyed since it was inaugurated in 1970. Many a grand poobah of Kiwi writing has resided for six months in Menton, France, at the Villa Isola Bella, enjoying the freedom of writing without the financial pressure of the everyday world. Katherine Mansfield lived and wrote at the Villa Isola Bella in the latter years of her life.
I hate to end on a slightly sour note, but I wonder in New Zealand where we have had several highly talented short story writers like Mansfield, Frank Sargeson and Owen Marshall, why the short story writer seems to be regarded somehow as a lesser being and not taken seriously until they publish a novel. We have let the novel become the Olympus to which all writers should aspire. Some writers like Mansfield clearly felt their talent lies in writing the shorter form fiction. Living, as she did, far away from the claustrophobic literary milieu of New Zealand, clearly Mansfield never felt any pressure to write a novel but she produced a myriad of smaller literary treasures.
Today I sat amongst a crowd of young girls, clutching their favourite horsey books – some even with their riding helmets on – to listen to Stacy Gregg and Soraya Nicholas telling Horse Tales at WORD Christchurch. I expected to enjoy myself, but I didn’t expect to feel myself brought to tears!
Stacy, in her wonderful, silver stiletto boots, told us the moving story of Princess Haya, the girl behind her first based-on-a-true-story book, The Princess and the Foal. Stacy had been in the middle of writing the Pony Club Rivals series when she saw a newspaper story about Princess Haya of Jordan, president of the International Federation for Equestrian Sports, and knew that she had to write about this courageous, gutsy girl. At first she had thought of adding her as a character in the series she was writing, and tucked the newspaper clipping away to refer back to. But as she thought about the Princess, she soon realised that Haya needed to have her own book. And so The Princess and the Foal came to be.
I first read Stacy Gregg’s books years ago, beginning with Mystic and the Midnight ride, which I gave to Miss Missy for Christmas. And I enjoyed reading the Pony Club Secrets series along with her, as I added each new book to her shelf. I hadn’t gotten round to reading all the more recent books, but believe me, as soon as I get home, I’ll be raiding her Stacy Gregg shelf, and reading The Princess and the Foal.
Princess Haya is the daughter of the Lion of Jordan, whose mother was killed in a helicopter crash when Haya was just 3 years old. And of course the little girl didn’t really understand what had happened, and thought that it was all her fault. She had lost her mother, and her father was too busy ruling his country to be able to spend much time with her, but he saw how sad and lonely she was becoming, and gave her a new-born motherless foal for her 6th birthday. And Princess Haya’s life found new meaning. By the age of 13, she was riding at international level, and she went on to become an Olympic show jumper.
I can’t wait to read it! I can’t wait for The Fire Stallion to come out either! (It’s on order already, so you can place a hold).
I’m also exited to read Soraya Nicholas’ Starlight Stables books. Although at 15, Miss Missy may be getting a bit old for these stories, I know that a few years ago, she would have just loved them! Soraya, also in shiny metallic shoes* – gold this time! — loved reading pony stories as a kid, and read the authors I read, like the Pullein-Thompson sisters, and dreamed of one day writing the kinds of books she loved to read. Just as much as the exciting excerpts from her books, I enjoyed hearing of her determination to become an author, even though people sometimes laughed at her dream. “Dream big” she told all those horse- and book-mad girls. Don’t let people who lack faith in you stop you from going after your biggest dreams.
What could be a better message than that?
*These two authors are definitely the most stylish of children’s authors, as Kate De Goldi said in her introduction.
What distinguishes a great festival session from a good one? I think I can answer that after my session to-day: A Place to Stand.
A small, sell-out session with Swedish author Karin Altenberg and New Zealand writer Amy Head, this exploration of the importance of Place punched way above its weight, and reminded me what a great event should be like:
First up a great session needs a really good interviewer, and Liz Grant was the best interviewer of this festival for me. With extensive knowledge about the books of both the authors (teetering perilously on very high chairs on either side of her), she was very good. Well done Liz.
A great session should engage you, there should be no mind wandering and fidgeting. We were all riveted.
You can judge a good session on the quality of the questions it provokes at the end, and this session came up trumps there as well.
You are sorry when a great session ends.
Hours later you are still thinking about it, wishing there had been more time. Mulling over questions you would have liked to ask.
You want to buy both the books!
Both Karin and Amy revealed their Turangawaewae (Place to stand). Karin’s is a small rocky outcrop off the West Coast of Sweden (it’s not even on a map) where her parents own a simple hut. Near there is a footprint shape in the rocks where, when Karin places her foot in it, she feels absolutely connected. Amy’s place is on the West Coast of New Zealand just outside Westport, a place of isolation and risk, it is “not a passive place” according to Amy.
They both always wanted to be writers but came at it from very different directions – Karin through landscape architecture (because writing wasn’t considered the done thing to do where she grew up). She never did any creative writing courses and tends to start all her writing from the landscape which she then peoples with characters and lets their story unfold. This is how her novel Island of Wings, which is set on St Kilda’s near the Outer Hebrides, unfolded. Karin also did the best reading from a book in the entire festival. A powerful passage beautifully read.
Amy came to writing through her research on addiction, using the resources of the Salvation Army to find out more about the Rotoroa Home for Inebriates. Amy never thought she could be a writer, she had to go through a slow personal transition from reading to writing. She is a thoughtful young woman who considered all her answers very carefully. In the writing of Rotoroa she took the unusual step of combining a real-life person with fictionalised characters, and setting the whole story in the 1950s – a period of time long before she was born.
This was a very meaningful session for me, as I myself have a strong sense of place. I shall be thinking about it for some time to come.
And that is the highest praise I can give any festival event.
What you really want from a session called “You write funny!” is for there to be writers and for them to be humorous. It’s pretty much right there in the title. You’re expecting to laugh a bit. And certainly this Friday night session at WORD Christcchurch Festival 2018 MCed by the affable Ray Shipley filled the bill.
The laughing, however, was expedited by Shipley’s careful, “kindly primary school teacher” style coaching, leading the audience through some “little titters” to start with, and eventually even, some good, old-fashioned cackling. “All laughs,” we were told “are valid and important“.
So that was a good place to start from.
The line-up of reading authors was largely unfamiliar to me but the feelings of amusement and genuine laughter (did the coaching and practice beforehand make for a better quality of chuckle?) weren’t. This is what funny sounds like.
First up was Erik Kennedy (author of poetry collection There’s No Place Like the Internet in Springtime) who read three poems all with a wry serve of humour, “You cannot teach creative writing”, “Get a pet with a longer live span than humans have”, and in between, a strange take on Christmas heavily influenced by the content of spam emails. I can’t really explain this poem except to say that it was simultaneously more AND less weird than it sounds.
Megan Dunn read excerpts from her book Tinderbox, about her time working at a Borders bookstore. Much of the time Dunn read with a sly, knowing smirk on her face… that was fully justified. Her tales of retail reminded me more than a little of my experiences working in libraries as well as the self-confessional style of David Sedaris, in particular the essay Santaland Diaries about his time working as a Christmas elf at Macy’s Department store.
It eventuates that I find both David Sedaris and Megan Dunn hilarious.
Dunn was followed by poet Chris Tse (author of poetry collection He’s so MASC) and his poem, Wasted, was a hit with the audience. Wasted is a treatise on the sort of men who don’t get drinks thrown in their faces nearly as often as they deserve. Though he admits there are few workable alternatives,
Only a monster would throw a bowl of chips in this economy.
Lastly Annaleese Jochems took the stage reading, from her book Baby, an exquisitely awkward scene of backyard fitness instruction that made me feel more squirmy than amused, but many people in the audience let loose their best cackles in response, so I might have been alone in that.
All in all, You write funny! gave my laughing muscles a good, solid workout.
My next adventure was waiting for me at The Piano; a port in a storm after The Hunt for Moby-Dick at the Christchurch Art Gallery.
Curiosity is the seed of adventure. For Dr Paula Morris and Tina Makereti it has led to historically sensitive, lyrical works of fiction based on both fact and social myth.
Paula (Ngāti Wai) is the author of Rangatira, winner of the 2012 NZ Post Book Awards and Nga Kupu Maori Book Awards. False River is her new collection of short stories; topical as Dr Morris will be the Pacific Region Judge for the 2018 Commonwealth Short Story Prize.
Well-travelled, Paula teaches creative writing at the University of Auckland and has appeared at festivals and conferences worldwide. She is the founder of The Academy of New Zealand Literature.
Introduced by Nic Low (Ngāti Tuahiri), our two curious writers treated the audience at the Heartland Chamber to readings from their works.
Paula read from both Rangatira, and False River, Tina from her new book, The Imaginary Lives of James Poneke, for an audience full of writers, if question time was anything to go by.
False River is an unusual collection of contemporary stories in that some are fiction and some are non-fiction; blurring the lines between story and fact. This can be said of historical fiction also; where it may only be possible to imagine the world of our ancestors, based on myth or archaeological evidence.
Tina Makereti (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Te Ati Awa, Ngāti Rangatahi), also a PhD and winner of the New Zealand Manhire Prize for Creative Science Writing (2009) to name just one of her accolades, is the author of Where the Rekohu Bone Sings, a lilting and moving tale of cultural conflict, place and belonging told through characters that are between Moriori, Maori and Pakeha cultures.
In Tina’s experience, fiction based on a real person involves letting go of reality. The historical figure is a flat image to be turned into narrative.
Something like performing your identity on stage? asks Nic. There’s a pause as Tina contemplates this. Exactly that!
For me it’s more playing the New Zealander, having to say, “Fush and Chups.” But the character of James Poneke (in The Imaginary Lives) realizes that in ‘dancing’ for the Europeans (letting them exhibit him), he has been complicit in perpetuating their sense of ‘other.’
Both writers teach creative writing. Any advice?
Tina : Just do it. Tell your own story, get it out in the world. There’s no guarantee but there is no one else to tell it. So much remains to be written.
Paula : We must do all we can. You can’t complain the field (of writers) is sparse if you haven’t sewn the seeds. Write the book you want to write : engage with language and tell your experience, your world view.
Lastly Nic asked how the two authors found material for their books; did they ‘plonk’ elements of their lives into their stories?
Tina : I prefer to call it artfully interwoven.
Paula actively purloins anecdotes and overheard scenes from her daily experience, using them to create scenes or characters.
At the lovely Piano venue in Christchurch, Lloyd Jones, one of New Zealand’s most successful writers (author of the Man Booker Prize nominated Mr Pip), sat down for a fascinating interview with broadcaster John Campbell.
Campbell set up the session with a great introduction. He gave the audience an insight into Jones’ latest offering The Cage. Campbell described it as ‘a willfully shocking book… confronting and tough’. No surprises here, as Jones is an author who has never shied away from the brutally honest and even harrowing (Mr Pip had me virtually traumatised for a week, and the movie was probably the most distressing piece of cinema I have ever seen).
Jones explained that The Cage was inspired by his own experience of witnessing the arrival of Syrian refugees in Budapest. He described the sight as harrowing with clusters of families squeezed onto cardboard rafts, and women trying to sweep their small spaces as if to preserve their last vestige of dignity. The Cage was written to stress the importance of having a voice and a conscience when faced with tragedy.
Jones never tells readers where ‘the strangers’ in the novel are, or where they have come from. He is a strong believer that ‘readers complete a novel’ joining the dots themselves… reading their own circumstances. Jones recalled a book signing for Mr Pip where a young girl asked him if Matilda returned to the island. Jones gave the somewhat disappointing but honest response that he didn’t know, ‘what do you think?’. After a moment, the girl smiled and said ‘Yes’. Campbell concurred that he believed she did too – without a doubt – but not without an admonishment later that Jones ‘did write the bloody book’.
Along with eleven novels, Jones has written short stories, and non fiction including an incredibly powerful autobiography A History of Silence. Endearingly, he shared that he walks the places his characters walk – he walked the orphan museum just like Matilda, and ‘Matilda loved Dickens because the author did’.
Jones commented that people often describe his books as all being very different from each other, but really they are all similar in their exploration of the theme of identity. Orphans also play a big role in Jones writing because, as he observed, ‘my family specialised in them’. Jones’ mother was given away at the age of four, while Jones father went through a series of foster homes after the death of his mother. ‘One does not look back if not taught to look back’ observed Jones.
His history of silence was just that – ‘There was no history… my parents never never spoke about it’. Jones also spoke movingly about discovering the story of his wife’s ancestors (which involved a tragic drowning) from an old man. The same man witnessed the mass shooting of Jewish women and children during the Second World War – the women instructed to lift their babies above their heads to be killed first, then the mothers killed after. “It’s amazing how landscape hides sins” said Jones. Visiting the site later, he would never have known, the world would never have known, had it not been for that man bearing witness:
If we ignore what is happening we are complicit – you cannot un-know something.
The session ended with audience questions but the closing one in particular seemed such a fitting way to end of the session. One audience member asked Jones if he had faith in humanity, to which he replied:
Definitely – every person in this room will have done something wonderful, and every person will have also done something they are not proud of. I do believe though that we still need a set of core values.
While Jones never seeks to give us answers in his books, or indeed pretend for one moment that he has the answers, his writing always manages to do just this – somehow help us to discover core values and what it means to be human.
The Freedom Papers Sunday 2 September 1pm
Edinburgh Festival director Nick Barley speaks to three of the international writers from The Freedom Papers collection – Yaba Badoe, Lloyd Jones and Juno Dawson – about what freedom means to them.
It’s my first day at the fest and it’s a full morning for me with two events one after the other: Catherine Chidgey (Transformations) and Paul Cleave (Crimechurch). Both Kiwi writers and both well known in their respective fields. But how similar/dissimilar are their writing styles? The lights dim, lets find out!
They are both first and foremost writers: This sounds like a really obvious statement to make, but many other participants at festivals are not. They are first adventurers, sportspeople, chefs, politicians or comediennes who later write about those experiences. But Chidgey & Cleave (sounds like an upmarket boutique store written like that) are both individuals who started writing young, and when asked their occupation would be totally justified in replying:”I am a writer”.
They are both internationally known: Catherine Chidgey has strong German roots and has won several UK book awards starting with her first novel In a Fishbone Church (1998). Her well-known novel The Wish Child is due for publication in the States this year. Paul Cleave is an international best selling crime author who divides his time between Christchurch and Europe. He has a receptive readership in both France and Germany and is also (with his next novel) due to break in to the American market.
They both like the creepy and the quirky:Chidgey is drawn to the weird – phrenology, wigs and the weird half-life status of hair, the religious Procession of the Snails in France, her collection of evening bags. Cleave specialises in unforgettably creepy shiver-up-and-down-your- spine characters like Joe in his first novel The Cleaner (2006). He likes quirky settings too and finds that Christchurch has those aplenty.
But in other ways these two authors are oh-so different.
Research:Cleave hardly does any research. Maybe ten minutes on Wikipedia tops. He does however need to keep an eye on his own writing and research, in a way. This is because he repeats characters in his books, so for the sake of good continuity he needs to check up on exactly what he said about them before. Nowadays he keeps detailed notebooks. Chidgey is a self confessed obsessive. Once she has decided to write on a topic she researches it to the exclusion of all else. Many is the time she has teetered on the brink of the Google Hole fearing that she would end up researching but never actually writing. Now she tries to research and write at the same time.
Personality:Chidgey is an introverted eyes-and-ears person, not that big a contributor to conversations. Cleave is a terrific talker with great rapport with his interviewer and I’d peg him as a high end extrovert. Chidgey draws heavily on family and friends for her inspiration. Cleave never uses the characteristics of friends in any of his books. His family was barely mentioned.
Writing Style:Cleave writes quickly and loves some of his characters so much that he repeats them, like Joe in The Cleaner (2006), who re-appears in Joe Victim (2013). Although his books are stand-alone reads they do loosely form a series. Chidgey writes slowly and contemplatively, sometimes she reworks a sentence 20 times before she gets it right. She had a 13 year gap between Golden Deeds and The Wish Child. Her latest novel The Beat of the Pendulum (2018) was a relatively fast write by her standards because it was written to cover one year of “found events” in her life. If she left long gaps in the writing she could not keep up. It is a challenging but highly creative book.
Here they are in their own words:
My novels are about the characters in them. That’s what you’ll remember long after you’ve finished the book. There are characters that I love so much I want to repeat them in later stories. But I would kill any one of them to progress the story-line. I’m ruthless that way.
I want to create something whole and beautiful out of all the white noise, the static, of everyday living.
My first day at WORD 2018, and two very successful writers show that you can never generalise when it comes to writing. There are as many different ways to be an author as there are stories waiting to be written. It was a very good start.
Graphic novels are very popular here across all age groups, as are animated series and films. New Zealand artists compete well in this genre. Can you say why you think the comic strip and cartoon has remained a popular genre?
I think cartoons are naturally appealing to people, from a young age.
And with the breadth of work being produced in the comic form there really is something for everyone; from easy-to-read comics for younger readers, experimental ‘alternative’ comics, Japanese horror and romance manga, superheroes and so much more.
As a kid I read Monster Fun, The Beano and Judge Dredd. What early cartoonists and artists appealed to you as a young person?
I read so many comics when I was young. Asterix, Tintin, Footrot Flats, Beano, Tarzan, Uncle Scrooge, Richie Rich; anything i could get my hands on really!
I enjoyed the clear black and white plates of Shaolin Burning, not to mention the great plot and strong characters. It appeals to those (like me) who don’t like too much text, or are reading graphic novels for the first time.
Was Shaolin Burning your interpretation of a folktale, or a myth of your own creation?
Thanks. Shaolin Burning was a retelling of kung fu myths and Chinese history, interwoven with my own original characters. I really liked the idea of creating characters who were written out of history, but who might have interacted with famous kung fu personalities such as Wing Chun.
Helen and the Go-Go Ninjas is a standout as your first foray in colour comics. How did you make this transition and how did you find it as a medium?
I loved working in colour for Helen and the Go-Go Ninjas. I’ve worked with colour previously in my illustration and comic projects, but never on the scale of this book. To make it visually interesting I wanted to use different colour palettes for different locations and times of day so that there was a sense of a varied landscape and a long passage of time throughout the book.
The Dharma Punks, Shaolin Burning and Helen and the Go-Go Ninjas feature strong female characters. How did you develop Helen’s character?
Helen was created by my co-author Michael Bennett, who originally wrote the story as film script. As we developed the graphic novel, Helen did evolve; for instance in the original script she was married, and a few years older. But at the heart of it, it’s always been a story about a young woman finding herself and her place (or time) in the world.
Not just action-adventure, your comics address strong themes. In Helen we touch on disability, environmental destruction, state control and domestic violence, to name a few. Were these issues part of Michael Bennett’s original script idea, or did they develop as you responded to it?
A lot of these were very much a part of Michael’s script, though we did emphasise the environmental issue as we developed the script into comic form. Originally the collapse of civilisation was more mysterious and wasn’t fully explained, and Helen wasn’t an environmental activist.
These things became clearer as we collaborated on the comic and dug deeper as to Helen’s motivations and character. That’s something I really love about collaborating with other creatives; the process of pushing our work into new and undiscovered directions.
How do you think zine culture and comic strip writing could be better nurtured and preserved in New Zealand?
I think there’s already so much great work being produced here in New Zealand. Back when I started, it was all about using photocopiers to make and self-publish mini-comics, but now there’s a huge amount of great work being produced as webcomics.
Do you have any advice tor people planning to run a comic or ‘zine workshop?
I’ve been teaching comics at MIT here in Auckland for the last two years, and I think it’s a good idea to give participants an environment where they can create in a hands-on way. For short workshops, I like to focus on one topic and let participants get into it.
Lastly, we all loved Bro’ Town. Can we hope to see more of your series animated? (Helen and the Go-Go Ninjas would make a great film!)
The Naked Samoans have been busy writing a bro’Town feature script, and I really hope it goes into development. It’d be great to get together with the bro’Town crew again. As for my other projects, I’d love to see them all adapted into films. I’m currently making an animated kung fu short film about the young woman Wing Chun, so that’s a start.
Brannavan Gnanalingam is a Wellington writer who has published five novels through Lawrence & Gibson. His latest, Sodden Downstream (2017), was shortlisted for the Acorn Foundation Prize at the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.
What are you looking forward to doing in Christchurch?
Catching up with Christchurch friends, seeing some amazing writers, and hopefully spinning some yarns
What do you think about libraries?
Libraries are the reason why I’m a writer. My Mum would take me to the various Hutt Libraries when I was a child and sit there and wait while I read books (I hadn’t fully appreciated I could take books home). They are so so crucial. They’re also a great way for people to read my books, hint hint.
What would be your desert island book?
Can I cheat and say Balzac’s La Comédie Humaine. They’re mostly all interrelated so I feel like it’s an ok bending of the rules. I’m halfway there and I love them but I’d love to have the time to read the remaining 50 books.
Share a surprising fact about yourself.
I was once robbed by a gang of old ladies in Kazakhstan. They also robbed my friend Gareth, but he was trying to hold onto his money, which he did… until one bit him and drew blood so he let go. We lost about $20 all up.
Brannavan Gnanalingam’s sessions at WORD Christchurch Festival 2018