I was thrilled ... and terrified ... to be invited to contribute to the Otago Daily Times and Dunedin UNESCO City of Literature assignment 'the best book in the world'.
The first three pieces appeared in the Otago Daily Times today, and a further three will appear next weekend.
Naturally the best book in the world is my pick, Charlotte's Web, but E B White did face some pretty stiff competition in the form of The Third Policeman (argued for by David Loughrey) and The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (argued for by Emma Neale).
Read the first instalment of The Best Book in the World here.
What a weekend! I was fortunate to attend three Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival events (I would have liked to have gone to thirty!) and I've had a wonderful time catching up with friends, meeting people and learning new things.
Gala Showcase: Distracted
The writers seemed a little distracted from the theme of distraction, but the evening was a wonderful opportunity to learn more about Akala, John Boyne, Marcus Zusak, Clementine Ford, Tina Makereti and Chris Tse, and to be entertained by MC Michele A'Court. None of the writers really addressed 'guarding creative space amid today's digital noise', but instead spoke on their own passions and obsessions, which was just as interesting.
Point of view: workshop with Paula Morris
In this workshop we learnt how to choose and use a point of view to dramatic advantage. Here are some rough notes:
Short, Shorter, Shortest
With Paula Morris, Iona Winter and Michael Harlow. Chaired by Maxine Alterio.
This was a delightful event. Below, some no doubt very poorly-summarised notes:
I have already read Iona's wonderful book 'Then the Wind Came'. I picked up a copy of Paula's 'False River' at the festival, and I'm looking forward to getting stuck into it.
A huge thank you to the festival team for organising such a wonderful series of events for Dunedin writers and readers.
I was delighted to participate in 'Little Landers Literature' with master illustrator Robyn Belton again this year.
Run by Dunedin UNESCO City of Literature, 'Little Landers Literature' brings our local rugby team - The Highlanders - into schools to read books to the children. My book Bruce Finds A Home and Robyn's book Herbert The Brave Sea Dog were chosen. (When I say Robyn's book ... I mean one of Robyn's SEVENTY books!)
Following on from the sessions with The Highlanders, Robyn and I visited the schools to talk about the process of writing and illustrating.
We visited Brockville, Bradford, Pine Hill, Concord, Carisbrook and Bathgate primary schools. They are all wonderful schools and we were so impressed by the teachers and the students.
Of course most impressive of all was Robyn, who captivated me during each session with the delightful true story of Herbert.
Over the past few days I have really enjoyed creating stories with the children, spending time with Robyn and being so well-supported by the magnificent Dunedin UNESCO City of Literature team.
2023 Burns fellow Kathryn van Beek has an MA from Victoria University Wellington - Te Herenga Waka’s International Institute of Modern Letters. She is a winner of the Mindfood Short Story Competition and the Headland Prize. Her collection of short stories, Pet, is available as a podcast, and her work has also appeared in Overland, takahē, Newsroom, and the Sunday Star-Times. She lives in UNESCO City of Literature Ōtepoti Dunedin with her two rescue cats.