On 19 February 2018 I was on RNZ’s Nine to Noon programme reviewing This I Would Kill For by Anne Buist, the third in her ‘Natalie King, Forensic Psychiatrist’ series. You can listen here.
On 31 October 2017 I was on RNZ’s Nine to Noon programme reviewing the first volume of Philip Pullman’s new trilogy following up the His Dark Materials series, La Belle Sauvage. You can listen here.
This review was first published on The Spinoff on 7 September 2017.
There’s something about the Wairarapa. Big skies. Beautiful old villas. Close-knit communities, with a pointy edge of small town meanness. There’s also something about the dying days of 1999, that strange, tense moment before we ticked over into the 21st century, when just for a moment it felt like the world might end.
Perfect time and place to set a gothic novel. So we’re on a country road just outside of Masterton, in the rain, a few weeks before the end of 1999 when Wellington writer Kirsten McDougall opens Tess, her second book. Tess is 19, on the run from something, living out of a pack, not eating much and about to fall drastically ill. Lewis Rose, the local dentist, picks her up and gives her a ride into town, where she gets hassled by some errant youths on the street. Lewis intervenes and takes her home to one of those beautiful villas under the big sky. Beautiful, yes, but dusty and disheveled and the garden has run wild. There’s something not right about the garage.
In July 2017 my writing group started a collective blog on the creative process called Fixin’ to Write. Each week one of us posts about our experiences of finding creativity in everyday life. Here’s my first post for the blog, about the experience of actually finishing a book, and what happens next. It was first published on 24 August 2017.
My first book came out two months ago.
I’d always imagined I would write a book one day, but in that way you do when you’re not actually writing. As long as I wasn’t trying, I could cling to the fantasy that at some unspecified future date, when the stars and planets aligned, I would sit down and bust out the Great New Zealand Novel.
On 18 August 2017 I was on RNZ’s Nine to Noon programme reviewing The Book of Emma Reyes, a memoir in correspondence by Colombian painter Emma Reyes, translated by Daniel Alarcon. You can listen here.
This review first appeared on The Spinoff on 11 July 2017.
Last week’s “Break the Silence” series by Olivia Carville in the New Zealand Herald was intended to start a national conversation about youth suicide. Are we not already having that conversation? From my own high school days, some 20 years ago, I remember much handwringing and hyper-vigilance about peers who were at risk of self-harm; we all talked about it then. These days we have 13 Reasons Why, (everyone’s talking about that) and news media are slowly but surely breaking down the legal wall that prevents them reporting in detail about suicide. Yet suicide is still, according to the blurb on the back of Sarah Quigley’s new novel, the “last taboo”, and in The Suicide Club she is the latest to enter the conversation.
On 10 July 2017 I was on RNZ’s Nine to Noon programme reviewing the reissue of Margaret Mahy’s classic supernatural children’s novel The Haunting. You can listen here.
On 22 June 2017 my publishers at Bridget Williams Books put on a delightful launch event for my book The Whole Intimate Mess at Vic Books Pipitea. The incomparable Emily Writes was the guest speaker. Emily spoke beautifully – you can see what she said here. And below is a rough approximation of what I said. It was wonderful to be so supported by family, friends, colleagues and readers. Thank you to everyone who came, and all those who bought a copy.
My book The Whole Intimate Mess: Motherhood, Politics, and Women’s Writing was published by Bridget Williams Books in June 2017. You can find out more and order it here.
I’ve been fortunate to have had wide and generous press coverage of the book, and I’ve collected some of that here. I’m pleased that it has prompted some interesting conversations about women, work, parenthood and mental health.
‘Unacceptable Choices‘, Review by Alison McCulloch, Scoop Review of Books, 14 July 2017.
‘I am ok, and thanks for asking!‘, Interview with Susan Strongman, The Wireless, 6 July 2017.
‘Torn in two: Former Green MP Holly Walker discusses trading Parliament for motherhood‘, Michelle Duff, Sunday magazine, 2 July 2017.
‘A Private Face‘, Sunday TVNZ, 25 June 2017.
‘Holly Walker: The Whole Intimate Mess‘, Simon Sweetman, Off the Tracks, 21 June 2017.
‘Holly Walker – The Whole Intimate Mess‘, Interview with Kim Hill on RNZ, 17 June 2017.
‘Holly Walker – The Whole Intimate Mess‘, Interview with Ryan Bradley on Radio Live, 17 June 2017.
‘You can’t always get everything you want: Deborah Coddington reviews Holly Walker‘, Deborah Coddingham, The Spinoff, 15 June 2017.
‘A brief history of feminist literature in New Zealand: Tessa Duder on her classic novel Alex‘, Tessa Duder, The Spinoff, 14 June 2017.
‘Holly Walker and the books her kid is reading‘, The Sapling, 14 June 2017.
‘‘I really admire that you have been open about mental health as a candidate’: Chlöe Swarbrick in conversation with Holly Walker‘, Chlöe Swarbrick and Holly Walker, The Spinoff, 13 June 2017.
‘‘There is nothing normal about crawling up the hallway, screaming and hitting yourself in the head’: former Green MP Holly Walker shares her story‘, Holly Walker, The Spinoff, 12 June 2017.
On 30 May 2017 I was on RNZ’s Nine to Noon programme reviewing a new literary biography of Australian author Helen Garner, A Writing Life, Helen Garner and her Work, by Bernadette Brennan. We also discussed Helen Garner’s back category. You can listen here.