Writers, friends, fellow creative writing teachers, former students and family gathered together last night at the wonderful Women’s Bookshop in Ponsonby with Sue Orr to help send her new novel, The Party Line, (Vintage),out into the world. As always, Carole Beu and her team made everyone feel so welcome as they hosted yet another event celebrating local writers. ·
In her clever speech, Fiction Publisher Harriet Allan saluted the courage of our authors drawing parallels with some of the issues Sue deals with in her novel:·‘Being an author, though, is not about following the herd. To mix my metaphors, it’s about sticking your head up — all alone — above the parapet. And when you do stick it up, you can get it shot at, you can get completely ignored or – particularly in NZ – you can get asked, Who the hell do you think you are? ‘Well, my answer to that question is: a very brave person. Just like the girls in this novel, trying to make their individual voices heard above the herd, it takes guts to write a novel. And Sue has the guts of a matador. She’s written about a world she grew up in – her world, our world. She’s written about us.
‘Furthermore, my answer to the question Who the hell do you think you are? is not just a brave person but a very talented one also. As indicated earlier, this shop is one of the most supportive of local writers in the country, so it’s not a reflection on them that of the novels on these shelves only a tiny percentage are by New Zealand writers. If the demand were there, we’d definitely be publishing more and Carole would be selling more, but as this novel also explores, we all have a lot of unexamined preferences and unspoken prejudices and we build them up communally, so it takes something special to counter them. Something that has to be better than the many overseas books that crowd out the shelves. And that’s what Sue has given us. Something special, something better, from a brave and truly talented writer. What’s more, it’s not just a brilliantly written collection of pages, but it’s a mirror. I dare you to buy it and take a look.’
Rebecca Lal, Harriet Allan and Jeremy Sherlock
The author speaks
Laurence Fearnley, Pip Adam and Paula Green
Mark Broatch and Diana Morrow
Adrian Orr and Albert Wendt
Bianca Zander with Sue
The book was launched by Paula Green and her address is the subject of a separate posting that follows this one..
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