Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sixty thousand books and more

THIS WEEKEND SAT 9-5 PM, SUN 10-4 PM Wellington Events Centre

This post is partly for fellow Tuesday Poet and KM biographer Kathleen Jones who is visiting New Zealand from the UK, and is interested in Wellington's magnificent annual 60-thousand book book fair. Kathleen called to say she was in Wellington and could we meet up, so I suggested Saturday after a trip to the fair. 

I have never met her but have had the pleasure of getting to know her via the Tuesday Poem blog - a NZ-created hub where poets from all over post poems on a Tuesday. I also have, to my joy, a copy of Kathleen's brand new biography Katherine Mansfield The Storyteller (Penguin). Here she is on how her book updates what we already know about KM. 

“It’s the only biography to be written since all the documents relating to Katherine and her husband John Murry became available in the public domain. Katherine’s letters and notebooks have all been transcribed and printed and the diaries and letters of John Murry are now also in the Alexander Turnbull Library. Additionally I’ve had the help of the family who still have quite a lot of material relating to both Mansfield and Murry. There’s a lot of new information. It’s significant that most of the leading figures in the story are now dead, so information is less likely to be withheld to protect people.” More from the interview by Tim Jones HERE. 

There's more on Kathleen Jones I've gleaned: she lives in the Lake District with her sculptor husband and has written 11 books especially biographies of women writers like Catherine Cookson, appears to translate Spanish, travels a bit (Italy, Cuba, NZ) and writes poems. And here she is promoting her new book. All rather exotic, really. But on the phone she simply sounds nice and Lake District. 

Kathleen spoke in Wellington this evening to, I hope, a good-sized audience, but unfortunately I had another can't-be-missed meeting so wasn't there. Wonderfully, we have organised to meet the day of the Book Fair. She has to visit KM's birthplace first so isn't up for the all-important early fair forage (it's become a ritual), but later, she might. I wonder how much space she's got in her suitcase . . . 


Rachel Fenton said...

"nice and Lake District"...isn't it funny but I know exactly what you mean! Ah, I miss my North.

I am having to avoid book fares/sales...huge pile and no home for them!

MAnsfield is such a fascinating figure and her fiction was some of the first adult short fiction I fell in love with. I've blogged before about my fondness in particular of the "Doll's House" and many happy hours as an undergrad were spent researching her for an essay or two.

Great post. Thanks. said...

Your "Element" poem is pretty amazing and I (yes true) had not known about Cavendish before, so it's great when writing is good and also informs as they say. We're off to the book fair with our son and his wife home from Korea and so he's so excited about the book fair - whereas I have a wee pile still unread from last year but I will go afossicking anyway.

Kathleen Jones said...

The book fair was astonishing! If I lived here I'd take along a truck and stock up for the year! I bought many more than my luggage allowance can take, so will be reading them over the next three weeks and then releasing them into the wild. YOURS I will be taking home with me to get a taste of NZ back in the UK.
It was brilliant meeting you Mary -I think there's a lot of northern hospitality in NZ! And thanks for the plug for the book. In these tough times, authors need all the help they can get.