Month: April 2017

Almost computerless

Sorry, my little MacBook Air — I didn’t mean to insult you. Until now you have played the role of my cafe-computer, my travel toy, frequently in use but never taken seriously. This week I’m using you in earnest as my primary, well to be honest, my only computer. You have never had quite enough grunt to […]

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The message is not the motive: why we write what we write

It began in high school and continued to puzzle me for a few more years, those non sequitur answers to a stock Eng Lit question: “Why did the author write this book?” These are examples of acceptable answers: “To show a peasant class being destroyed by industrialisation” “To criticise Victorian notions of sexuality” “To show that fate and a character flaw […]

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Rachel could do better: school reports

All through high school I had a stomach ache. I was a “happy, normal” girl (they say, and I thought so) yet in retrospect, a low-level anxiety was my default condition. I only discovered this after a few weeks at the University of Canterbury, when it dawned on me that I felt different.  Some self-study revealed an […]

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Reasons for writing: be glib or be puzzled

What prompts you to write a particular book, a specific book? For example, why did I write Fixing Mrs Philpott— rather than a memoir, a book about ageing, or a novel from scratch about an entirely different character? “Why did the author write this book?” This is a stock question at any writers’ festival, and […]

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