Thursday, November 20, 2008

Getting There: An Autobiography
Barbara Anderson - VUP

Publication 21 November 2008
Hardback rrp $50

Barbara Anderson, one of New Zealand’s finest and most loved writers, has written a classic autobiography. Getting There An Autobiography is both a moving life story with which many readers, especially women, will identify, and a revealing insight into the making of a major writer.

In part one Anderson tells the story of her childhood in Hawkes Bay. Her father was a doctor, and her childhood was happy, with a loving extended family and circle of friends, and easy access to countryside and beaches. But there were shadows: the 1931 Hawkes Bay earthquake; and the more personal tragedy of the death from pneumonia of her beloved younger brother.

Part two begins with Anderson completing a science degree at Otago University in the 1940s and her early experience as a teacher. Following her marriage to dashing young naval officer Neil Anderson, Barbara’s primary occupation was as a wife and mother to two sons. As Sir Neil rose to the highest rank in the New Zealand armed forces, the family moved frequently and traveled widely.

Anderson returned to university in her fifties, this time to study English, renewing to her early love of literature and desire to write. Bill Manhire’s writing course in 1983 led to work broadcast on Radio New Zealand, success in short story competitions, and to the publication of her first book in 1989, at the age of 63.
The story of these apprentice years, and two decades of local and international success which have followed, are told in thrilling detail in part three.

Barbara Anderson was born in 1926, and published her first book, the collection of short stories,
I think we should go into the jungle, in 1989. Jungle was an immediate bestseller, and launched a highly successful writing career which saw the publication of eight novels and a further collection of short stories, all published to acclaim in New Zealand and also by the prestigious British publisher Jonathan Cape.
Barbara’s best-known book, Portrait of the Artist’s Wife, won the Wattie Book Award in 1992. Her Collected Stories appeared in 2005.

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