Monday, November 9, 2009

Book Groups

One of the real joys for me as a writer is meeting readers who are genuinely interested in the genesis of a work and the process involved in turning an idea into a full-length novel. Our interactions often lead to rich and satisfying conversations that invariably leave me thinking more deeply about the connections between readers and writers. Not surprisingly, I enjoy talking to members of book clubs. I recently spent a lovely evening with members of a Dunedin group. On November 14th, I will be in Turangi talking to women in two North Island book clubs. Early December I am looking forward to meeting Cromwell readers then a week later members of an Invercargill book group. Thank you for inviting me to spend time with you.

Monday, July 27, 2009

PhD in Creative Writing

Over the next few years I will clock up plenty of air miles as I travel from Dunedin to the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University of Wellington where I am enrolled in a PhD in Creative Writing programme. I meet regularly with my two supervisors, Bill Manhire and Pamela Wood, and I also take part in student discussions and presentations. It’s a privilege to study and write in such a supportive environment.

I am currently working on my creative component which is a novel entitled 'Let Your Heart Be Afraid', focussing on the experiences of a group of New Zealand nurses on active service in Egypt and France during the First World War. This novel will be published by Penguin Group (NZ). My critical component explores nurses’ firsthand experiences as represented in their memoirs, historians’ representations of this material, and fiction written by several of the nurses after the war which draws on and also fictionalises their experiences.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Writing Offshore

I’m currently in sunny Western Australia working on my new novel which is humming along now that I’m giving it the full-time attention it deserves. Most days I write from 7.30am to 2.30pm then take in the sights, often from the deck of a boat meandering down the river or canals. Late afternoon I return to the office, read over my morning’s work and make notes for the next day, an ideal rhythm for this early first draft stage.

Mandurah Library Presentations
On Thursday 26th March I’m giving two talks at the Mandurah Library as part of their Writers in Libraries programme. The first presentation, entitled ‘Writing Fiction: Influences and Experiences’, tracks my development as a writer of fiction, and begins at 2pm. After questions from the audience, we’ll take a short break before I present my second session, ‘Telling Our Personal Stories', which focuses on my narrative research and work with digital storytelling. Again there’ll be opportunities for discussion and the sharing of ideas, particularly those related to the Lives Past project.

I’m looking forward to meeting lots of West Australians and visitors to the beautiful Mandurah area.