Saturday, 21 August 2010

Windy Wellington

So here I am in the windy city - there always seems to be a gale blowing when I’m in Wellington. But it’s a very friendly place, which makes up for the weather. Wellington has a very distinct identity. The houses, hotels and office blocks are crowded around a succession of bays, and climb precariously up the slopes of the surrounding hills. The views are spectacular. There are also lots of coffee shops, wine bars, tempting restaurants and little boutiques - you need to keep a grip on the wallet!
Thorndon, Wellington
Wellington was Katherine Mansfield’s birthplace, where she grew up and went to school. Her father was an entrepreneur, banker and leading figure in Wellington society - knighted for his services to New Zealand. Thorndon, the area where the family lived, is still surprisingly recognisable, with its brightly painted timbered houses and the botanical gardens they often visited. It’s possible to walk around and get a feel for Katherine’s childhood experiences. There are still gorse bushes blooming on what she called the ‘gorse-golden hills’ above the streets and you can run into the wind down to Lambton Quay where she bought the paper with her first published story in and read it propped against a lamp-post.
Last night there was an event hosted by the New Zealand Book Council - an informal discussion about Katherine Mansfield and the book. The interviewer was Elizabeth Alley, a very experienced broadcaster and chairperson, who steered me through the subject brilliantly. I get so nervous at these events I lose all sense of place and time. But the audience seemed to enjoy it and they bought quite a few books.
Kathleen pretending to be a Real Author

















I also got the chance to meet New Zealand writer and blogger Tim Jones (Books in the Trees) and we went for a drink afterwards and had a very entertaining evening discussing the differences in the publishing scene here and in England.  Tim is one of the other writers who contributes to the Tuesday Poem blog here in New Zealand. 

4 comments:

  1. Sounds like you are having a great time in Kiwiland.
    I bet that although you feel nervous you speak really well.
    Thanks for the link to Tim's blog.

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  2. It was blissfully still the day I met you and Neil, Kathleen, it happens sometimes here... actually, I think the wind was ruffling the water a little as we left the cafe. It really is such a treat to have you in New Zealand, and to see your gorgeous book in print. I am enjoying your posts very much, even better to to hear about your adventures over a flat white.

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  3. I am having a good time, in spite of the nerves. And the weather is treating me very well! I'll be quite sad to leave.

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  4. Thanks for the mention and the link, Kathleen - and I can second, for Al's benefit, that you didn't appear at all nervous at the Book Council event, and spoke very well. It was great to meet you!

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