Walking with Ghosts and Starlets

Some days you just know strange magic is at work.

Yesterday, as the sun was sinking in the sky, I walked down the alleyway at the end of Tasman Avenue, crossed the road and walked over the grass to the creek that slithered along the boundary of Rawalpindi Reserve in Mt. Albert. My intention was to walk in Evelyn’s footsteps in 1944—she’s a fictional character in my book—to see what she saw. Up ahead, her bare feet pounded a frantic rhythm. And then, a second set of footsteps, padding quietly beside mine. It was Linette, the real woman Evelyn was based on, a woman I would give anything to have met before she died.


Taking a walk with a character you wrote into being and a ghost might sound strange, but it couldn’t have felt more real. Continue reading


Auckland Writers Festival: Lloyd Davis, Greg O’Brien and Helen Macdonald

It’s 4pm and I’ve begun to feel the insistent pressure of the festival’s hand on my arm, asking me if I’m ready for the next event; if I’ve thanked the right people in introductions; written up posts for the blog. It’s not a harrowing or unbearable pressure, but it is firm, rather like, I imagine, Helen MacDonald’s hawk, Mabel, landing on a leather-clad wrist.

Today’s events have been strangely, inevitably linked. And that link is nature. Penguins, whales and hawks. As if the air’s molecules are bristling with an importance aching to be decoded.

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