(Photo above courtesy of Beverley Sinclair)
The Whanganui Literary Festival has been running since 2006. This year I appeared at one of the opening fringe events, the Chorizo Book Fair. It has been two years since I released Redeeming Brother Murrihy and attended markets as part of my “Murrihy River Tour”. It was a pleasure to be in Whanganui again, one of the principal settings of the novel. My aim was to sell and sign books and meet readers and writers. In the end, I accomplished more than that.
One of the chief organisers of the fair is Joan Rosier-Jones. When I visited the River Traders Market two years ago, multiple people told me I should contact Joan about my writing. It was a pleasure to meet her. Joan is the author of several novels including Yes and Waiting for Elizabeth. She is also a past president of the New Zealand Society of Authors and is currently involved with Tangerine Publications who were also selling books at the fair.
I was looking forward to meeting another of Tangerine’s authors, PS Mokha, who has completed two books in his YA fantasy series. Prabh is also a teacher so we had a good conversation about balancing writing with work and family. I also managed to catch up with Chris Moisa, artist and writer of the review of Redeeming Brother Murrihy in the River City Press.
As I had hoped, there was quite a bit of interest in Redeeming Brother Murrihy and I sold several copies along with almost as many copies of Te Kauhanga. I was delighted to meet Valerie Cowan who shared some pages about James K Baxter from her beautiful book about Joan Bullock Morrell, sculptor. In the story, Cowan recounts Morrell’s meeting with Baxter in order to sculpt a bronze bust.
After the fair was over, I followed the advice of several people that morning and dropped around to Paige’s Book Gallery. I met Lesley, who graciously accepted copies of my novels to sell in their shop. In addition, I was amazed to see Paige’s also displays the Baxter bust I had just read about in Cowan’s book.
So, it was a highly productive trip and a pleasure to participate in the Whanganui Literary Festival 2015. I hope to also place copies of Redeeming Brother Murrihy in the libraries in Whanganui so that as many people from the region can have a chance to read it.
One lovely side note to cap my weekend:
Returning home, buzzing from my literary diversions, I learned that my short story, The Homeless Men of Mahuika, will be published in Issue #4 of Headland, an exciting new electronic journal showcasing established and emerging literary voices from New Zealand and around the world.
A terrific weekend.