“Paint me a picture or tell me a story as beautiful as other things in the world today are terrible. If such stories and paintings are out there, I’m not seeing them.” – Rick Bass

Rick Bass may want to check out the work of this installment of the Weekend Name Drop. This week, I feature an activist and writer who creates things that are beautiful to help us recognise the terrible and move us to do something about it. Meet Tui Allen.

Name: Tui Allen

Creative field: Author, Marine Conservationist and Activist

Location: Pirongia, New Zealand

Best known for: Authoring the novel, Ripple: A Dolphin Love Story and the children’s story, Captain Clancy and the Flying Clothesline as well as her environmental and NZSA activities

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Antony Millen with Tui Allen at the 2014 Auckland Independent Book Festival

My connection: I found Tui via Amazon in my early efforts to obtain reviews for Redeeming Brother Murrihy. Subsequently, I read her novel, Ripple, and wrote a review which was also published on Stuff.co.nz. Tui has also reviewed my novel, Te Kauhanga. We both attended the inaugural New Zealand Independent Book Festival and have maintained contact through Facebook and the Waikato Branch of the New Zealand Society of Authors. While we haven’t cycled together, Tui is also a keen mountain biker.

Inspiration for this writer: Tui’s reviews of my books have obviously been encouraging as has been her welcoming inclusion into NZSA activities. However, it is her experience with dolphins and her devotion to their protection which drives her to write and this challenges me to keep it real, to question my own purposes in writing my stories, asking what changes I hope they might provoke in the lives of my readers.

Why you should check her out and share with others: If you have any interest in the sea and its creatures, particularly about cetaceans, or even in the mysterious nature of animal intelligence, then Ripple is for you. However, even if you do not, Ripple is still a wonderful, moving, at times frightening, and endearing tale that you will enjoy. It’s a book that should be read by more people.

Sample of work:

12911577With the hungry shark circling nearer, Cosmo took a last look at his beloved sky from the perspective of the planet he knew.  His gaze swung to the west towards a patch of clear sky displaying the moon and stars. Then drawn by the darkness, he turned slowly  to the east, where thick cloud created a wall of blackness no star could penetrate.
     And there he saw something he’d never seen before in all his hours spent studying the heavens – something so rare, many who sought it had passed their whole lives without ever finding it. For a moment it was enough to make him forget, his grief for Maram, for Alcyone, for his lost parents. He even forgot the shark below, and certainly it banished his wish for the darkness.
     It was the moonlight rainbow, glowing huge across the eastern sky; a geometrically perfect semicircular pathway, every one of its thousand colours silvered by moonlight into delicate pastels. It floated serenely, with Cosmo positioned exactly beneath the highest point on its arc.
     There is no other dolphin within a day’s swim of me, thought Cosmo. This vision shines for me alone.

Here’s an interview with Tui by the On the Brink radio show, hosted by Jeff Phillips/Wefferson on UCY.TV

Find out more: TuiscopeTwitterYouTube, Goodreads, Amazon

The Weekend Name Drop is a weekly feature on this blog, promoting people I have encountered who are doing creative things.

Antony Millen is a Canadian living and writing in New Zealand. He is the author of three novels: Redeeming Brother Murrihy, Te Kauhanga and The Chain.

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