… when I scrolled down this post (I had been thinking about those beautiful hanging baskets… and wishing I could go to New York, in part because I’d heard from an old friend who lives there this week, and had been reading Sarah Laing’s brilliant comic about leaving the city to return to NZ [she writes about other things too]). A visit is not on the cards but it makes me happy to see my book there.
… was totally fun. It was a while ago now, but I wrote some notes about being there:
“In a departure lounge, newspapers take on a special pre-internet significance, as though this is the last word of home you’re going to get for a long while. I’m only heading off for a few days at the Sydney Writers Festival, but it’s enough to make me read theHerald, which announces record numbers of Kiwis emigrating to Australia. (I’m not sure this can be described as news any more.) On the next page is a piece on Paul Henry distinguishing himself in Sydney by making nasty remarks about immigrants. Last time I was at an Australian literary festival an eye-wateringly posh Englishman took the piss out of my New Zealand accent during our event. The audience heaved with laughter. There might be psychological scars.”
You can read the whole piece, including more about the psychology of writers’ festivals, on the NZ Book Council blog.
My new book The Forrests has launched at Sunday Painters, with a really nice speech from Bloomsbury’s Kathleen Farrar (thanks Kathleen!), no book reading (quiet air punch), and lots of lovely people. There are some photos here (by Abba Renshaw of Allen & Unwin), posted on Beattie’s Book Blog. I’m still recovering but through my haze am very happy the book is out in the world. Thanks to everyone who came along and made it such a fun night.
I discovered on the night that Forrests winery (no relation to the characters), who kindly provided the wine, used to make wine from grapes my dad grew when he was living in Canterbury. It was a great surprise and almost like having him there.
And a late addition to the launch week – the lovely booksellers at Page & Blackmore in Nelson made this gorgeous window display for the book. Happy sigh.
Thanks for visiting my website. This is a new thing for me so I won’t commit to regular blog postings just yet, but will be updating this page with notes on bookish things, what I’m reading, what I’m writing, teaching, and so on. I will try not to overshare (get a Facebook, Perkins) but there may be the occasional holiday snap.
We’re about to finish filming the last series of The Good Word – as New Zealanders will know, TVNZ7, the public service channel that broadcasts it, is being closed down. There were plans to replace 7 with a shopping channel but it looks as though that was going to shrink the reality/satire gap just a bit too much, so at the moment plans for the channel’s Freeview capacity are unknown. Maybe we can hack into it and run wall-to-wall book readings. (Although the Law of Public Readings would apply and someone would read for 20 minutes too long then look up shyly and say, ‘Shall I keep going?’ There is no polite answer to this.)
That reminds me – tip for Aucklanders – Sunday Painters on Ponsonby Road screens excellent poetry videos in the bathroom. Also it’s my friends’ place so go there!
It’s a funny thing, books coverage on television – programmers get very worried that there’s nothing to look at except talking heads. ‘How do we make it look interesting? There’s no time jeopardy, no weight loss, no DIY. It can’t possibly work.’ But people are interesting – people talking about what they’ve discovered in a book, or challenging each other’s opinions, or enthusing about something they really love – that’s enough for me.
A couple of books I’ve liked recently:
The Broken Book, Fiona Farrell, AUP
Bird North, Breton Dukes, VUP