Writers Week at the New Zealand Festival

March 9th, 2014 | Uncategorized

We’ve been in New Zealand for two days now. It’s too beautiful to bother trying to put into words. My first event was a trip to the small seaside town of Paekakariki in a van with the hilarious mad professor Terry Castle. Here’s the scene outside the town hall where we spoke.


Terry’s book The Professor is a collection of her brilliant personal/critical essays plus a memoir about her early days in the trenches of academia and lesbiana. We had a fun conversation…


…then were feted by the lovely locals. This woman brought all her old DTWOF books to be signed.


This one brought her pink brassiere, which she deftly removed without dislodging her t-shirt.

At the ensuing community potluck, Terry and I were presented with this astonishing cake.


Here are Terry and Holly marveling at it.


Here’s the view from the house of our gracious hosts. How do people bear all this beauty?


Today there was more book festival activity. I did a conversation onstage with Moira Clunie, who is a friend of the great NZ cartoonist Dylan Horrocks. He has a new book out called Incomplete Works, and I will see a panel he’s on tomorrow morning. I love his work. It’s very smart and the quality of his line is deeply pleasing.

It’s very overwhelming being at events like this. So much going on, so many people. It’s exhausting but also energizing.

And people are so kind! We also had a great potluck dinner in Adelaide, hosted by our new pals Sal and Mary. Here is Sal, the kangaroo whisperer. She took us to a wildlife park where we saw kangaroos, emu, dingoes, koalas, and all manner of strange beasts.


Here’s I am feeding a kangaroo. A kangaroo for god’s sake!

Here’s a joey in its mother’s pouch as they both lounge on the grass.

Well this is all rather disjointed. But it’s the best I can do right now. Tomorrow New Zealand cartoonists and a trip to more botanical gardens. Oh. Here’s my new dorky hat that I got at the Melbourne botanical gardens.
And here are some other photos I didn’t manage to upload in Australia where the internet was so pricey. Me with the owners of the Hares and Hyenas bookstore.


And me in a photo these guys gave me that they took in 1997 at Book Expo America of Judith Katz, Nancy Bereano and me at the Firebrand Books booth. This is the pic where Hol says I look like an Amish preacher.

Photo on 3-6-14 at 8.39 PM

11 Responses to “Writers Week at the New Zealand Festival”

  1. Jessica says:

    Glad you’ve been enjoying your time down our way! I saw that you landed in Brisbane – so bummed there were no speaking events or anything to see you! We read Fun House as undergrads at UQ here (as I’m sure many do) so there are quite a few fans!
    Too short a stay though, do come back!

  2. Kate L says:

    While in NZ, be sure to visit Mount Ngauruhoe (Orodruin, as it is known in the elvish tongue). It was Peter Jackson’s inspiration for Mount Doom in the Lord of the Rings movies.

  3. Ruth in RI says:

    Wow! So many things in this post made me smile. But I think my favorite photo is you in your new dorky hat.

    Still waiting to hear about the drains, though. Video?

  4. Good to see all this. Can’t get over the picture of the joey in his mother’s pouch! Overwhelming, for sure. Hope that it’s replenishing, too.

  5. Sally says:

    That’s my bra!
    Thank’s for being a great sport and signing it. My pics on FaceBook has gone viral, which for me means more than 10 likes 😉


  6. Pat Rosier says:

    It was a total pleasure hosting Alison and Holly and Terry at our place after the Paekakariki session.

    [Hi. There appeared to be a small typo in the URL pointing back to your blog that prevented the link from working correctly. I made a small tweak and things seem to be happy now. –Mentor]

  7. Kate L says:

    At Hares and Hyenas you look like a Unitarian preacher. 🙂 Oh, and the hat, according to the internet machine, is actually called a walkabout hat.

  8. shadocat says:

    This post makes me so happy! The beautiful scenery! The mum and baby kangaroos! The pink bra! The people! I’ve gotta go there someday!

  9. Carly says:

    Would love for you to do an event in Bangkok while you’re on this side of the globe!

  10. Anonymous says:

    These are awesome! I met Judith Katz in the Jasmine Deli in Minneapolis last summer when a mutual acquaintance introduced us, and I was pretty tongue-tied. BTW, if I ever get to another of your readings I am definitely bringing a bra to be autographed!

  11. Andrew B says:

    Since I whined about Alison not showing us the “Amish preacher” pic, maybe I should try making an on-topic comment for a change…

    I can see what Holly was talking about. Alison looks like the austere messenger of some grave truth. (And that vest is terrific.) Perhaps if Susan Stinson checks back in she can tell us whether Alison looks like Jonathan Edwards: are we sinners in the hands of an angry Goddess?

    One thing I can’t quite figure out about that picture is what produced the doubled images of Alison and Nancy Bereano at the bottom. Refraction is my best guess — if it’s reflection it has to be doubled, since the images are right side up. And is that a display case? It seems oddly shaped. This doesn’t mean anything, but it’s striking to note the doublings: two images of Alison and Nancy, in a snapshot of a snapshot. (If you’re having a hard time seeing what I’m talking about, click on the photo for a larger version.)

    Looking at the picture of the kangaroo mother and joey made me wonder (half-seriously) if Winnicott ever had anything to say about marsupials. It seems like such a perfect metaphor for a state of partial separation and partial incorporation into the mother.