Monday, 25 March 2013

Haere ra Barbara Anderson

We are very sad to pass on the news that Victoria University Press novelist Barbara Anderson has died peacefully in Auckland on Sunday morning after a short illness.

One of literature’s greatest late starters, Barbara enrolled in Bill Manhire’s undergraduate creative writing course at the age of 57, published her first book at 63, and went on to publish eight novels, two collections of stories, a Collected Stories and an autobiography.

Publisher Fergus Barrowman says she will be remembered for her outlook on New Zealand life.
"No one else has captured the social texture of New Zealand with the same vivacity and wit as Barbara," Mr Barrowman says. "One of the great things about her was that she could be comic and highly entertaining while never losing sight of the serious undercurrents in her fiction."

From Morning Report: 

Here are some of our favourite pieces about Barbara online:

The wonderful profile by Nigel Cox on Stephen Stratford's Quote Unqoute.

This lovely Arts Foundation Icon video.

An excellent interview with Damien Wilkins in Sport 36.

Barbara as Cubist on Over the Net.

Twitter was full of memories for Barbara on Sunday:

"her novels, with their combination of vitality, gaiety and gravity, are unique in our literature" - Elizabeth Knox

"I'm picturing Neil in the caravan typing one of Barbara's manuscripts, an ear on the cricket." - Fergus Barowman

"Barbara Anderson is one of my writing heroes. Her work is courageous and surprising and masterly and always hit me in the heart." - Pip Adam

"'Portrait of the Artist's Wife': one of my all time top NZ novels. Thank you, Barbara. Haere ra." - Kate Duignan

Indeed. Haere ra Barbara. 

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Rowing to Paradise by Elizabeth Nannestad

Some days we all feel like this beetle, hopefully today is not one of those days for you!

Rowing to Paradise

Hoi there beetle: you’ve a long way to go.
If only you knew! –
to the back door from here is about
60,000 beetle miles
and then – there’s a ledge. This ledge
will look like the wall at the end of the world to you.
Worse: between where you are
and the back door
is all shiny floor, meaning
you are outstandingly visible
to the cats and to me with my dustpan and broom.
That is if no one
steps on you without even seeing you
which is come to think of it more likely.
Even for a beetle
you are small and dull.

Outside – outside! – if you ever get there
innumerable beetles are having a good time.
I’ve seen it –
out in our woodpile there’s a party every night.
Everyone is invited.
When you get there, your days
as a toiling floor-bound barely-there hungry beetle
will be over.
Your true love is waiting
the violinist is waiting
a whole wide fragrant world ascending towards a field of stars
is waiting for you.
By the way you’ve got your head down
and six legs all rowing
you intend to make it –
maybe even in your lifetime.

Extract from Wild Like Me by Elizabeth Nannestad, published February 2013.