The International Institute of Modern Letters has been running a wonderful Writers on Monday winter series over the past few years. This year it's at the National Library Auditorium at 1 pm.
The opening gig last Monday was a line-up of poets who have appeared in the latest Best NZ Poems. This Monday July 21 it's time for fiction and here's how the IIML describes it:
First Fictions - Mary McCallum & Susan Pearce
Two of last year’s most highly praised début novels were Susan Pearce’s Acts of Love and Mary McCallum’s The Blue, a finalist in the 2008 Montana New Zealand Book Awards. They track the lives of women isolated by religion (Acts of Love) and remoteness (The Blue).The two writers discuss the long hard process of producing a first novel with fellow novelist Kate Duignan.
I reviewed Susan's novel for National Radio when it came out. It's a terrific read -- polished and powerful with a delicacy of touch on domestic issues and the stuff of family love. If there had been a shortlist for the Montana Best First Book of Fiction Award this year, she would have been on it.
Susan is also one of those clear and clever thinkers who has a thorough understanding of what makes fiction work. She is a tutor in short fiction at the IIML -- she was my son's tutor, in fact, this year -- and I find her insights always stimulating and useful (okay, so I read his notes ...).
The Writers on Monday series is free. Why not come?