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Award-winning author back on NZ soil

15 September 2014

Award-winning author back on New Zealand soil to explore what it means to return home.

One of New Zealand’s leading writers is returning ‘home’ in early October, accompanying her acclaimed book Thorndon back to its roots in Wellington’s historic suburb.

Last year’s supreme winner of the New Zealand Post Book Awards, Kirsty Gunn, will be making the trip back from London to take part in events organised by Bridget Williams Books and the Aspiring Conversations arts festival. Kirsty will be touring the country talking about how an unexpected trip back to Wellington led her to write Thorndon, a BWB Text published by Bridget Williams Books.

‘I’m looking forward to being in New Zealand again and talking about this book,’ says Gunn. ‘I grew up in Wellington but when I moved to the UK I never expected or wanted to return – yet there was this feeling at my back… Wellington was always there. When I was awarded the Randell Fellowship it gave me the imperative to investigate what that feeling was. I’ve always been caught up with Katherine Mansfield, with her work and her life, and I knew that she was connected to my own sense of the city and the country. She wasn’t able to return – I was. It was an extraordinarily creative experience for me to do so.Thorndon is the result of a period in my life that was deeply immersive and affecting.’

Kirsty’s book, fully titled Thorndon: Wellington and Home, My Katherine Mansfield Project, explores the meaning of ‘home’ through her own experience of rediscovering childhood and developing a new attachment to the city of her birth. Throughout the book she intertwines her own story with quotes and extracts from Katherine Mansfield, another Wellington native, charting a terrain of emotional attachment and the source of potent imaginative forces.

During her tour of the country, Kirsty will be taking part in a number of free public events, including discussions about the book and leading a walking tour of Thorndon.
Auckland Public Library, 6 October – Kirsty will join fellow BWB Texts author Martin Edmond and publisher Tom Rennie of Bridget Williams Books in conversation.
Wellington, 8 October – Walking tour of Thorndon with Kirsty, in partnership with the Randell Cottage Writers’ Trust and the Katherine Mansfield Birthplace. This is followed by a discussion with Charles Ferrall and Anna Jackson at the Tiakiwai Conference Centre, National Library of New Zealand.
Unity Books, Wellington, 9 October – Kirsty will join Martin Edmond and publisher Tom Rennie in conversation.
Wanaka and Queenstown, 10–12 October– Kirsty will attend the Aspiring Conversationsfestival in Queenstown and Wanaka, with two sessions discussing Thorndon.
Dunedin Public Library, 13 October – Kirsty will join Vincent O’Sullivan in conversation.

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