I spent this afternoon at the WORD Writers and Readers Festival and enjoyed three excellent sessions.
Island Lives was a discussion with Tina Makareti and Charlotte Randall, facilitated by Morrin Rout.
Tina’s book “Where the Rekohu Bone Sings” is set in the Chatham islands and reflects her Moriori ancestry. She spoke of how it reflects her obsession with identity and the value of stories to recover a culture. She said being on an island gives the freedom of isolation.
Charlotte Randall’s “The Bright side of my condition” is set in the Snares Islands in the 19th century, and depicts the superstitions and ignorance of the time. I haven’t read the book, but gather its climax comes when a man is thrown off a cliff and survives death. Charlotte lamented that no-one who’s reviewed the book has really understood what it’s about.
Aunty and the Star People is the title of Gerard Smyth’s latest documentary which was completely sold out at recent New Zealand Film Festivals. Its subject, Jean Watson is an amazing woman, and this session was a conversation between her and Gerard. Jean is 80 years old and has spent the last 30 years developing and maintaining an Illam – a home for deprived children in Southern India. Among the books she’s written is “Stand in the Rain”, a fictionalised account of her ten year marriage to Barry Crump. During this time she had two sons who were adopted out because the couple were poor and adoption was the socially responsible option at the time. Jean follows Vedanta, an ancient Indian philosophy which affirms the oneness of existence, the divinity of the soul, and the belief that all religions are basically the same . Much of Jean’s writing is existential, and she explores the idea that time is an illusion.
A Novel Relationship This engrossing session featured authors Owen Marshall and Laurence Fearnley, and editor Anna Rodgers discussing how they work together, in a panel led by Chris Moore. All of them were very articulate and open about their experiences. The first draft of a book is just the beginning, and the better the writer, the more they appreciate the editor and her respect and care for their book. It was noted that self-publishing is beginning to be of a higher standard as people come to understand the need to have an editor and a designer. any budding author would have gained lots of useful information.
“The afternoon was just a treat
with fascinating folk to meet.”