AWF18: City Streets, with Pip Adam, Xu Yiwei and Dominic Hoey

AWF18: City Streets, with Pip Adam, Xu Wiwei and Dominic Hoey

Pip Adam, Dominic Hoey and Xue Yiwei  talk of the inspiration of place, and the ways in which location gives vital realism and urgency to their stories, in conversation with Julie Hill.

Illustrated notes below, by Tara Black

AWF18 14 City Streets

Iceland
by Dominic Hoey
Published by Steele Roberts
ISBN 9780947493431

 

The New Animals
by Pip Adam
Published by VUP
ISBN 9781776561346

Schenzheners
by Xue Yiwei
Published by Linda Leith Publishing
ISBN 9781988130033

Check out ALL of Tara Black’s coverage of the 2018 Auckland Writers Festival here.

AWF18: Aflame, with Megan Dunn and Gigi Fenster

AWF18: Aflame, with Megan Dunn and Gigi Fenster

Aflame was one of those lovely little sessions of chatter between three people who know, understand and appreciate one another. In many ways, it’s these sessions in the slightly smaller spaces, with purely local voices, that really feel like the heartbeat of the festival.

In ‘Aflame’, the focus was on creative non-fiction by two talented New Zealand-based women. Gigi Fenster and Megan Dunn were the writers, and Carole Beu of the Women’s Bookshop was the highly competent chair. Carole understands what festival audiences want from a panel session – she was, as she said at the intro, a long term Auckland Writers Festival board member – ‘though not anymore, I’d been there too long’. That legacy of experience does makes her a prized chair.

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Megan Dunn, Gigi Fenster and Carole Beu – used with the permission of Auckland Writers Festival

Carole highlighted the fact that she wanted to ensure that the discussion got across ‘how wonderfully quirky’ they both are. And as for the title of the session, it was obvious, with ‘fire and burning and fever’ winding their way through both books.

And then, both authors had the chance to expound upon the story behind their books – Dunn’s Tinderbox and Fenster’s Feverish.

Tinderbox was borne from Dunn’s desire to create a revamped version of Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451… and then evolved from there, shifting from novel to memoir in the process. She talked through her background as a roving bookseller, at Borders (RIP) in both Wellington and the UK – describing the dying days of the chain as engaging with customers who were ‘picking over the carcass for bargains’. Likely relatable for a few other booksellers out there!

Fenster touched on why fever was her focus for her memoir – describing how she ‘saw fever as a very kind of creative thing’, relating it to a sense of what went on in Victorian children’s books, with sickly but fascinating characters. ‘The initial idea was to induce a fever and then track that’, Fenster said, but thankfully for her own wellbeing, after a little research into both methods and ramifications, she thought better of it.

Both authors, after their initial contextualisations, read from their books. Dunn began hers by dedicating it to the Elam Fine Arts Library – eliciting a cheer from the crowd. The short passage started with light humour but brought in heavy elements as the temporal positioning became clear – it was set on the day of the London Underground bombings.

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Megan Dunn, Gigi Fenster, Carole Beu – used with the permission of Auckland Writers Festival

At the reading’s end, Beu commented that it was an interesting choice, something so weighty, when so much of the book is hilarious, to which Dunn deadpanned ‘I bring the humour, but I bring the pain too’.

Fenster’s piece spoke of the time when her brother was desperately ill with meningitis, and examined the former role of ‘the watcher’ in the medical profession – those who would sit and wait and watch the patient until the fever broke. The significance of progress was covered, with the vast achievement of ‘I can get it myself’ (in reference to a cup of water) repeated, mantra-like.

While not discounting the care given or the medicine administered, Fenster did come to the conclusion that ‘it was the watching’, her father’s sitting at his bedside and watching him through the night, that saw her brother through.

Both writers took a wander through other aspects of the lead-up to their creating these works. Fenster spoke about a family holiday to Swaziland, where she read Wuthering Heights through the night and had the adult joy of the shared literary experience with her father. She also explained the way that some of the conversations – in what is still a non-fiction book – were created, rather than collected verbatim, but still told complete truths of the experience of the time.

Dunn explained National Novel Writing Month – NaNoWriMo to those up with acronyms – to an enquiring Carole, summing it up as ‘a writing community, with the aim to write a 50 thousand word novel in the month of November’.

She was of the ‘use it as a deadline’ school of NaNo, rather than the online forum-focused option. But in her solitude, she gave it a go, and in 2013, she succeeded, getting her 50K across the line in time. The timers that factored into the plot of Tinderbox arose from her time holding herself accountable for NaNo, with half an hour of writing before work each day.

It was a friendly, upbeat vibe, with plenty of laughter for guests and audience like. One particularly glorious – and interactive moment – was the encouraged discussion of ‘porn names’, according to the internet suggestion of ‘first pet name’ + ‘mother’s maiden name’. While I won’t repeat the specifics here, since that particular internet challenge is rather uncomfortably often a means of digging for password prompt answers – and I don’t want to jepoardise her cyber security – suffice it to say that Beu’s response was the perfect level of filthy to take the audience away in gales of laughter. The perfect way, indeed, to spend a Saturday festival afternoon.

Reviewed by Briar Lawry

Tinderbox
Published by Galley Beggar Press
ISBN 9781910296820

Feverish
Published by VUP
ISBN 9781776561803

 

AWF18: Ode to Ursula, with Elizabeth Knox, David Larsen and Karen Joy Fowler

AWF18: Ode to Ursula, with Elizabeth Knox, David Larsen and Karen Joy Fowler

‘In memory of the extraordinary Ursula Le Guin, writers and fans Karen Joy Fowler and Elizabeth Knox join David Larsen to share stories of their first encounters with her work and explore the legacy of the writer David Mitchell describes as a “crafter of fierce, focused, fertile dreams”.’

Illustrated notes taken by Tara Black.

AWF18 13 Le Guin

Illustrated notes copyright Tara Black

AWF18: An Evening with Karl Ove Knausgaard

AWF18: An Evening with Karl Ove Knausgaard

Expectant energy sparks in the theatre as the capacity crowd waits for Karl Ove Knausgaard, whose six-volume series My Struggle propelled him to stardom and established a category of writing all of its own. He has everyone talking, including the people sitting behind me: ‘He is very serious’, one says. ‘Apparently the books aren’t entirely based on his life’, says another.

This collective anticipation finds release in the applause that greets the ‘Norwegian literary phenomenon’ (this epithet is a permanent attachment) as he and Paula Morris take the stage. She begins by asking whether he ever dreamed of this success. The short answer: ‘No’. His first book in the series, A Death in the Family, was about his ‘very ordinary life’, which both he and his editor were doubtful anyone would want to read about. A low print run ensued; it took off. ‘Being alone in a room and writing what was in my head’ somehow led, to his bewilderment, to being here in New Zealand.

Morris.Knausgaard_Still_01

Photo courtesy and copyright Auckland Writers Festival

It took many years of practising, Paula suggests diplomatically, to find the right way to tell the right story. Karl outlines his ten years of struggle, the 800 pages of false starts: ‘This was my job, I did this every day and I was failing’. The story he wanted to tell was that of his father’s death and of his own feelings of hate, shame and grief, all jostling in the balance. He tried to write about it for five years, until he thought ‘fuck literature, I am just going to write this at it was’. This removal of restrictions brought sudden relief – the book poured out of him. As he now tells his students, ‘It’s easy to write a novel, it’s just hard to get to a place where it is easy’.

This new-found freedom resulted in his extraordinary series. Its unique form evolved from his love of diaries and the comfort they offered through the details of the everyday, which he merged with the dramatic form. This combination allowed him to be ‘boring’, to integrate thoughts and to leave the book’s dramatic arc up to one hundred pages at a time. It also became much easier to write – he wrote book five in just two months. But Karl Ove sees this as no feat – it is a matter of having low expectations and just writing. ‘When you have restrictions of quality it is much harder’.

He tells us that the accident of memory was responsible for a lot of the work too (he meditates on memory often). In the first book, he needed to lay the ground work so that the reader might feel the effect of his father’s death in a way similar to himself. He ended up, accidentally, writing about when he was 16 in a scene that constitutes half the book. He narrates how he and his friends were on a way to a party, the difficulties in getting beers and then getting there, only to be refused entry. But that is his point: ‘And that’s it; that’s life. It’s boring, there’s a sea of mundane and then death. Death is completely different, it is charged with meaning’. As are love and birth, he offers, the subject of his second book.

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Karl Ove Knausgaard, photo courtesy and copyright of Auckland Writers Festival

And what of the controversial title? He explains this was ‘coincidental, like everything else in these books’. His struggle is about a little life, about ‘misunderstanding things, failing, burning a finger when making food’ – juxtapositioning this with the other My Struggle, which is totalitarian in nature, does inform the work though.

Karl Ove still struggles – he feels a strangeness living in Sweden. ‘There is still a distance in me and that is language’. He is often silenced as he doesn’t know what is appropriate to say in certain situations. This results in retreat. It makes him wonder, ‘Where is your identity? Is it culture? Is it language?’. He, unsurprisingly, has thought about this problem of language – which has also allowed him access to so much, and resonated with so many readers. ‘These things that you think belong to you are charged with something that is not you, that will stay on when you are dead.’ It leads him to question how much of the book is particular to him. ‘Probably almost none of it’, he muses.

Reviewed by Emma Johnson

Karl Ove Knausgaard was supported by Norwegian Literature Abroad to be at the Auckland Writers Festival.

AWF18: Moustaches, Whiskers and Beards – Lucinda Hawksley

AWF18: Moustaches, Whiskers and Beards – Lucinda Hawksley

‘Using images from London’s National Portrait Gallery, and based on her book Moustaches, Whiskers and Beards, writer and art historian Lucinda Hawksley takes us on a curly and entertaining tour of moustaches, whiskers and beards: from prehistoric to current times, rounding up pharaohs, Vikings, Regency beaus, 1960s hippies and hipsters along the way.’

AWF18 12 Beards

Illustrated notes copyright Tara Black

Moustaches, Whiskers and Beards
Published by National Portrait Gallery
ISBN 9781855144934

 

AWF18: Wrestling with the Devil – Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o

AWF18: Wrestling with the Devil – Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o

Occasionally at festivals like this, you get moments of where you feel utterly honoured by someone’s presence. Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o is one such person. While his name was not one I was familiar with before the AWF announcements, a little reading up in advance of his session quickly had me bowled over. And then, despite his 80 years, he proceeded to bowl me over once again at his main AWF session.

thiongo
Ngũgĩ was in conversation with Kubé Jones-Neill, who, perhaps deducing that many in the audience had not yet read extensive amounts of Ngũgĩ’s work, noted that the aim for the session would be to introduce his wider body of work to the audience, and provide a context for his writing to date.

Kubé began with a line of questioning around the transitional era in which Ngũgĩ grew up, mentioning that he was born into colonial Kenya, but by the time he graduated from university, ‘it was an independent Kenya.’

As he would prove charmingly adept at doing to over the next hour, Ngũgĩ took the reins of the conversation and drove things in rather a different direction. Eventually, we would get back to his formative years, but first of all there were important stories to be shared about his relationship with New Zealand.

He first visited Aotearoa in 1984, when he was invited to give the Robb Lectures at the University of Auckland – lectures that would ultimately lead to the publication of Decolonising the Mind: the Politics of Language in African Literature, one of his best known non-fiction works. These language-oriented lectures coincided with Māori Language Week, which was perhaps part of what spurred a conversation he had with a Māori woman after one of the lectures.

‘She said, “you are not talking about Kenya – you are talking about us – the Māori people”.’ – an anecdote that spoke to the power and parallels of the post-colonial experience across the world.

This conenction with UoA led to Ngũgĩ’s being awarded with an honorary doctorate in 2005. ‘So technically,’ he said with a grin, ‘I’m an old student! I’m back home.’

Having meandered a ways from Kubé’s question, Ngũgĩ was suddenly perhaps conscious of this fact, as before he headed on another tangent, he turned to her and asked ‘can I say this?’

Permission happily granted, he shared a tale about how he came to love mussels, courtesy of a trip to Waiheke on a previous Kiwi voyage. ‘In the Kenyan highlands, they are very suspicious of things that come from the sea. To her dying day, my mother would not eat fish – even if she was starving.’

So he was very suspicious of shellfish, mussels among them. But when in Auckland, Selina Tusitala Marsh invited him on a trip over to Waiheke, and while they walked on the beach together, Selina collected ‘some things’. They returned to her house, and her mother cooked ‘something’. When the food was laid out, it was – to Kenyan highlander Ngũgĩ’s horror – mussels. But unable to refuse food cooked by his friend’s mother, he ate it – ‘and from that day on, we became converts. Wherever we go, we ask for mussels.’

Courtesy of this revelation – and other soft spots for our shores, Ngũgĩ said firmly: ‘New Zealand is always on my mind.’

Appetite’s for cheerfully enchanting stories having been whetted by the mussel story, Ngũgĩ finally turned back to his earlier years. ‘As a novelist, you’re always drawing on the resources of your own life.’

He was born on the eve of the Second World War to a family with one father and four mothers – his own biological mother his father’s three other wives. It was his mother that really had the biggest impact on his life. ‘She couldn’t read or write, but her dream of education was realised [through me].’ She was the one who pushed him into school, to achieve great things. And even though she couldn’t read his work and keep tabs on his progress that way, Ngũgĩ said ‘She had a way of asking probing questions until she had an idea of knowing how I was doing.’

She put in his head ‘the idea of the best’, he said­, though he also said that ‘she was more interested in whether or not I put in enough effort.’

In an ongoing effort to provide as much valuable context for the audience as possible, he described the segregated nature of his school – Alliance High School – and an African History 101 type brief overview of settler versus non-settler colonies. While inside the school gates he took lessons and expanded his horizons, the outside world was a place of war and fights for liberation.

‘School became a kind of refuge for me. You could close your eyes and not hear the sound of war.’ When he went home to his village after his first term, he returned to a place that had been razed to the ground. ‘Desolation,’ he described it. ‘I’m getting teary when I think about it now.’

And university came next – specifically, Makarere University. ‘For me, it was a remarkable period in my life, those four years between ’59 and ’64 – when I graduated. I came out with an honours degree, two novels, eight short stories, newspaper articles and so on.’

Kubé asked him what he had been writing about, to which Ngũgĩ responded: ‘I was trying to understand myself in history.’

After a little tale about how his first novel was written for a competition – and therefore ‘for money!’ rather than love of the craft. Discussion wove around his journalistic pursuits, his scholarship to the University of Leeds – which was a real eye-opener for Ngũgĩ, introducing him to different types of thinkers like Marx and writers like Conrad, all of which had their respective influences on him.

Every fragment of his history that was shared seemed to have some kind of evocative fish out of water moment – like when he was invited to New York for PEN’s international conference, and he found himself trying out different poses for how a writer ‘should’ sit.

But the next core focus of the discussion was of his shift in his approach to writing and language and to the surrounding colonial environment.

He was instrumental in the ‘abolition of the English department’ at Nairobi University – really a shift in naming and focuses to beyond the traditional Britain-focused literary tradition, moving from Department of English to Department of Literature. ‘We were accused of abolishing Shakespeare – but no, Shakespeare would still be there, alongside other writings.’

‘That was the beginning of my fracas with the postcolonial government in Kenya.’

Petals of Blood, published in 1977 was the last novel Ngũgĩ wrote in English – marking a shift to prioritising his native tongue of Gikuyu. Devil on the Cross was written in a maximum security prison in 1978, where he was detained without charge for a year after his involvement in the setting up of African theatre in the area.

The conversation continued for a little while longer, reestablishing his connections to and fondness for New Zealand. Prior to his final reading, he kept getting caught on tangent after tangent, contextualisation after contextualisation – and ultimately, everything was the richer for it. This was a man of incredible history and reputation, and we were more than happy for him to drive the session on his own terms.

Reviewed by Briar Lawry

Wrestling with the Devil
Published by Vintage
ISBN 9781784702243

AWF18: Too Much – Durga Chew-Bose

AWF18: Too Much – Durga Chew-Bose

‘Durga Chew-Bose’s debut collection of self-referential essays Too Much and Not the Mood has established her as a member of the millennial intelligentsia. She is in conversation with Ella Yelich-O’Connor.’

Illustrated notes by Tara Black

AWF18 8 Lorde and Durga

illustrated notes by Tara Black

 

Too Much and Not the Mood
Published by Farrar, Giroux & Strauss
ISBN 9780374535957

 

AWF18: The Rest is Noise – Alex Ross

AWF18: The Rest is Noise – Alex Ross

We find out in the first few minutes of this session, knowingly chaired by Fergus Barrowman, that Flying Nun was the first foray for Alex Ross, music critic for The New Yorker, into popular music. This writer, who so wonderfully filters twentieth-century history – wars, technology, social changes – through classical compositions in his widely accessible The Rest is Noise, has just risen in esteem – at least among those members of the audience who are familiar with Flying Nun. You get the feeling that this crowd is more in touch with Sibelius than Chris Knox.

Barrowman.Ross_Still_01.pngUp until this point in college only dissonance had been admissible to Alex, but ‘the lyrical and melodic’ elements of bands like The Bats and The Clean, with their ‘sweetness and straightforward nature’, encouraged him to discover popular music. Working at a student radio station, he also began listening to punk and jazz – the beginnings, perhaps, of his book Listen to This, which reveals the boundaries between pop, jazz and classical to be porous. Does he wish to remove borders between musical genres altogether? Alex believes that borders exist for a reason; that every music has its centre, but sometimes elements that lay on the outskirts may easily cross over into another.

We might think of classical music as static and unchanging, but it too alters as it moves through time. But then how do you bring, for example, improvisational openness to academic music? Some of the more interesting musicians, the ones to watch in Alex’s opinion, are the ones who easily move between genres – jazz and classical for example – as if they had grown up in both worlds or occupy the middle ground. But improvisation is something classical musicians need to get a handle on, as the newer compositions require more input and invention on the part of the performer.

And what of the condition of classical music in the public sphere? Audiences are often blamed for not attending classical concerts with new programming, but, as Fergus points out, this is essentially inviting them along to listen to new music. Alex concedes it is hard to find the balance between old and new. It was also a balance he was seeking in writing The Rest is Noise, where he tried to appeal both to the obsessive specialist and the lay reader, and where he consciously attempted not to take sides with either the avant-garde, Stravinsky, Schoenberg and atonality on the one hand, and then Sibelius and co on the other. He ‘wanted all these composers to be taken seriously as heroes of the modern’.

Alex uses episodes in The Rest is Noise with great skill to draw attention to wider movements or tendencies. One such event opens the book – the world premiere of Strauss’s Salome. Everyone gathers, expectant, wishing to be part of the sensation. Could this happen again, Fergus asks? No, for as Alex explains, these composers where huge cultural figures of their times – he tells us that The New York Times ran ‘Puccini’s boat stuck in fog’ as a front-page headline.

The issue of classical music’s reach flows through to questions from the audience. How do you attract younger and more diverse audiences to it, when it is perceived as elite? Alex takes issue with the elite angle – as classical is often compared to pop, which is elite in the systems surrounding it: it makes use of massive apparatus (from multinationals to stadiums). Classical audiences are more diverse, but not in terms of income levels. He believes a lot more work needs to be done concerning who gets to play and be played. But, like everything else in the arts, it is not for everyone.

Alex has a reworking of Schoenberg’s quote ‘If it is art, it is not for all and if it is for all, it is not art’. His approach is more pragmatic: ‘If it is art, it’s not for all and if it is for all, it does not exist’.

Reviewed by Emma Johnson

Alex Ross will appear with STROMA
Sun, 20 May 2018, 4:00pm – 6:15pm
Great Hall, Auckland Town Hall

AWF18: The big ideas of Neal Stephenson

AWF18: The big ideas of Neal Stephenson

New York Times bestselling author Neal Stephenson is renowned for works seething with big ideas, both innovative and complex in their genius, including Snow Crash, Cryptonomicon, The Diamond Age, Anathem, and his latest Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O co-written with Nicole Galland.’

Tara Black took these illustrated notes during Neal Stephenson’s solo session. He was interviewed by David Larsen.

AWF18 11 Neal Stephenson

Illustrated notes copyright Tara Black

 

Buy some of his books! I can vouch they are all really good…

The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O
Published by Borough Press
ISBN 9780008132576

Seveneves
Published by Borough Press
ISBN 9780008132545

AWF18: Writing the Suffrage Past

AWF18: Writing the Suffrage Past, with Alice Canton, Emma Espiner, Linda Olsson and Tusiata Avia

Feelings. FEELINGS! I have them.

One of the things I really like about Auckland Writers Festival is the way it puts me in touch with the whakapapa of NZ feminism. I remember having a great old chat with older queer women in the audience for Gloria Steinem a couple of years back about second-wave feminism and how it’s different from contemporary feminism. Sitting in the audience for Writing the Suffrage Past I got talking to my neighbours again: I had (I think) an older lesbian couple on one side, and (I think) a teenage girl and her mother on the other. The intergenerational vibe was also set with an introduction from Claire Mabey, who, like our Prime Minister, is hapū.

IMG_20180519_152841648The four writers were Alice Canton, Emma Espiner, Linda Olsson, and Tusiata Avia. Canton is a NZ-Chinese theatre artist; Espiner is Māori journalist and medical student; Olsson is a Swedish novelist; and Avia is a Samoan-NZ poet. Each writer had been given access to the “Are we there yet?” exhibition about NZ feminism at Auckland Museum, and had written a piece inspired by something from the collection. An image of their chosen piece was displayed on the screens as each writer gave their talk.

Olsson was up first. The object she had chosen was a photograph from a protest with one woman holding up a sign that read “I can’t believe I am still protesting this shit”, which got a laugh of recognition from the crowded room. She spoke about a recent Oxfam report which has found that we must achieve gender equality if we are to end financial inequality. It is not enough to integrate women into existing financial structures; the structures themselves must be changed.

Olsson read out a piece she had written that was a conversation between herself and one of her female ancestors who had been sent to prison. Prison was not sad: it was safe. The women all looked the same, so they felt safe.

Next up was Espiner, who began by speaking her mihi. The objects she had chosen were issues of Broadsheet, NZ’s seminal feminist magazine that ran from 1972 to 1997. She spoke with great humour and affection about growing up with a radical feminist lesbian mother, and how what now looks like a feminist utopia felt, to a child who just wanted to fit in with her peers, like a terrible affliction. She would choose Women’s Weekly but her mother always threw it out of the supermarket trolley: ‘Broadsheet reflected our reality’.

Espiner is studying medicine and spoke about how healthcare has often been deeply misogynistic, citing in particular Sandra Coney and Phillida Bunkle’s “An Unfortunate Experiment at National Women’s”. Some progress has been made towards equality in the medical world, though: ‘the feminisation of medicine and surgery has been positive and valuable’.

Espiner honoured her mother for being a Pākehā woman who understands Māori sovereignty: ‘Doing the right thing when nobody is looking is the definition of an ally’. She ended by addressing her mother Colleen Smith directly: ‘I’m sorry for being a shit, you were right about everything’.

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Next up was Canton. Her object was a black and white photograph of an unnamed servant maybe a century ago. She invited us to reconsider the way we view the suffrage movement in NZ. We tend to picture middle-class white women with their ‘spunky Elizabeth Bennet charm in the face of adversity’. But what about the no-names?

Canton used an over/under formula to invite us to think about which women are over- and under-represented in our feminism. Under: working-class women, rural women, Māori and Chinese women; disabled, queer, migrant, and indigenous women; women of colour, queer women of colour, poor women, fat women, old women, trans women. Over: cis-gendered and white women. Canton said that, even at the risk of splintering the movement, we must acknowledge that not everyone is equally benefiting from feminist achievements. As with the previous writers, she sat down to enthusiastic applause.

The final writer was Avia. Her object was a photograph of women on a protest in 1977 holding a sign on which is a photograph of a woman who has died from a backstreet abortion and “this woman died, we care” is written. Like Espiner, Avia grew up as the daughter of a lesbian feminist. She performed for us a poem she had written about being home sick one day when she was 11 years old, reading her mother’s issues of Broadsheet, and seeing the photograph on the sign. Avia looked for the photograph again in the museum’s collection for this event, because she still remembered it after all this time. Avia said of her poem: ‘Only I could have written this piece, but I don’t think it’s particularly special. It’s a glimpse into a huge female experience.’

Avia is an extraordinary performance poet and, despite the fact that she had recently  fainted backstage, this occasion was no exception. She sat and spoke calmly but we were hanging on her every word. The poem was about backstreet abortions, and it was visceral. ‘I flinch for forty years.’ We groaned and grimaced. The photograph of the dead woman shows her lying on the bathroom floor naked. Avia called the V of her legs ‘her final vanishing point’ and said ‘I have not misremembered her aloneness / I never forgot that’.

This was a really powerful session that gave me a great sense of community and of the whakapapa of mana wāhine in Aotearoa. In a similar vein, I recommend the podcast On the Rag from The Spinoff about Kiwi feminism. (I am a massive fan and keep secretly hoping they will invite me to join them.)

Words and photos by Elizabeth Heritage

Books by each of the writers participating are available nationwide.