Author to give free talk


An author whose debut novel made an international impact is giving a free talk in Oamaru tonight.
Wellington writer Anna Smaill had her novel The Chimes long-listed for the 2015 Man Booker Prize. She is being brought to Oamaru by the Janet Frame Eden St Trust to tutor a writing workshop tomorrow.
Her topic for tonight’s talk is “Breaking Worlds _ Janet Frame and Dystopia”.
Frame, Oamaru’s most renowned author, was the subject of Smaill’s master’s degree. She visited Frame’s childhood home at 56 Eden St before it was bought by the trust and opened to the public. Trust chairwoman Carol Berry said there were many subtle Frame influences in The Chimes.
Smaill, a violinist born in 1979, initially studied performance music at the University of Canterbury before changing course. She has an MA in English literature from the University of Auckland and an MA in creative writing from the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University.
After living in Tokyo for two years with her husband, novelist Carl Shuker, Smaill completed a PhD at University College London and lectured in creative writing at the University of Hertfordshire from 2009-12.
Her first book of poetry, The Violinist in Spring, was included in the New Zealand Listener’s Best Books of 2006. Smaill’s poetry has been published in journals and magazines and featured in Best New Zealand Poems in both 2002 and 2005.
Reviewers often note the musical quality in her poems. In New Zealand Books, Paola Bilbrough wrote of Smaill’s “flair for graceful matter-of-factness, a deceptive simplicity, which makes her work seem effortless”.
Smaill, who is now working on a second novel, lives with Shuker and their daughter on Wellington’s south coast.
Her talk at the Oamaru Library starts at 6pm. A light supper will be served.
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