Does our childhood stay with us? Is a writer forever remembering times past and writing about them in the present? And how differently does a writer shape their own lives in print as compared with the lives of their fictional characters?
Ian Wedde’s early life saw him and his twin brother moving home with their parents from Blenheim to Bangladesh and on to England – moves Ian repeated as an adult, as well as spending time in Jordan. The Grass Catcher is a restless memoir that asks what we mean by ‘home’, in which Ian is always looking over his shoulder at the ghosts of the past as he writes.
Ian Wedde is a leader of the writers in the baby boomer generation – he has been poet-laureate, fiction writer, critic, editor, arts laureate and has just returned from a residency in Berlin.
Dame Fiona Kidman has written a two-part memoir that delves into 45 years as a modern woman writer – At the End of Darwin Road, and Beside the Dark Pool. Over that time she has produced some 30 books and more than 60 TV, film and radio scripts. She is a leading contemporary novelist, short story writer and poet who has won numerous awards, and remained a consistent advocate for New Zealand writers and literature.
I learned to read one afternoon in hospital when I was six and, not being aware that there was anything else to read, read all the adult books in the hospital library over the weeks that followed. This didn’t make me especially clever, but it did make me aware of the powerful role of stories, and I have been telling them ever since.