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Aardvark Bureau

Debut novel picked up by new UK imprint

May 27, 2015

Tracy Farr

The Life and Loves of Lena Gaunt caught the ear and eye of UK publisher Scott Pack in November 2014, and he rated it #2 in his top ten reads of 2014, calling it: An incredible debut and a novel so believable that I wish it were true. In March 2015, Scott launched Aardvark Bureau, a new imprint of UK publisher Gallic Books. I am curating what can only be described as an eclectic mix of titles. There will be fiction from around the world. There will be debuts. There will be the first UK publication for some authors long overdue an audience here. Now ...
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Auckland Writers Festival 2015

In praise of useless beauty

May 24, 2015

Tracy Farr

I’m not sure whether the 2000-odd-seat ASB Theatre was sold out for Tim Winton’s Auckland Writers Festival 2015 (AWF15) session last Sunday morning, but it was certainly close to packed, and there was a lot of love in the room for Winton. I was seated wa-a-aay up in the gods, which felt like an appropriate place from which to watch the sometimes godly Winton (session chair Jim Mora commented that “the hand of God is in your work” — and it is, that Christian mysticism, and it’s always been an element in Winton’s writing that’s unsettling for me as a ...
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‘Loss and Love’ at 2015 Auckland Writers Festival

April 5, 2015

Tracy Farr

I’m looking forward to heading up to Auckland next month for Auckland Writers Festival. This’ll be my third time heading up to Auckland for the writers festival (I wrote about the 2014 festival here and here), but my first time on the programme. The festival has got bigger and better each year that I’ve been, with lots of sold out sessions, enthusiastic audiences, and a really great buzz-y atmosphere. I’m in one of the Four for Fifty Readings sessions — fifty-minute events in which four writers read from their recent work. Each session is themed; ours is Loss and Love. I’ll be ...
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The hissing swan in the manuscript drawer

April 2, 2015

Tracy Farr

I spent the first two weeks of March at Varuna, the Writers House in Katoomba in the Blue Mountains, a two-hour train ride from Sydney. I was lucky enough during my Second Book Residential Fellowship to work in Eleanor Dark’s garden studio, a short enough walk from the back door of the main house that I didn’t spill my tea on the way. Writers who work in the studio are invited to leave a few pages of their work in one of the manuscript drawers that line one wall of the room, in a bank of some twenty separate drawers. I left my few pages ...
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Under the pohutakawa

February 26, 2015

Tracy Farr

Lately I’ve been keeping a low profile, online and in real life. On 1 January this year I officially became a full-time writer — if only for six months — thanks to a CreativeNZ grant. In November last year, when I was looking ahead, imagining this time, I wrote about being hunched at my writing desk for six months But it’s been a perfect summer so far here in Wellington — the warmest, driest, least windy summer since 1962, apparently — so instead of hunching over my desk, I’ve spent most of these first two months under the pōhutakawa tree in our back yard, ...
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Dream a little dream of me (or, 2014)

January 5, 2015

Tracy Farr

2014 was a year that saw quite a few long-held dreams come true, for me, so I hope I can be forgiven a trumpetblowing review of the year’s highlights. I give you: some dreams and their fulfilment (plus some other writing highlights). Being invited to a writers festival I’ve sat in the dark in the audience for so many years, wondering if I’d ever make it onto the stage, and that happened in 2014 at three festivals (Perth in February; New Zealand Festival in Wellington, March; WORD Christchurch in August) in two countries. It was as much fun as I’d ever imagined. Having my novel long- or shortlisted for ...
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‘Once had me’ wins short story award

December 4, 2014

Tracy Farr

Last week, I won the 2014 Sunday Star-Times Short Story Award for my story ‘Once had me’. The story was published in the Sunday Star-Times over the weekend. The SS-T Short Story Award, now in its 30th year, has been won by some of New Zealand’s best (and my favourite) writers — including Sarah Quigley, Eleanor Catton, Sarah Laing, Barbara Anderson — and is a great annual showcase for New Zealand short fiction. The award’s open category was judged this year by Sarah Quigley, a writer I’ve long admired. It was a strange and wonderful experience at the award event on ...
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A six-month hunch: CreativeNZ Arts Grant funding

November 29, 2014

Tracy Farr

It’s taken me a week to post this, a week in which “t”s have been being crossed, and “i”s dotted (aka six months leave from the day job negotiated). I’ve been awarded an Arts Grant (Literature) by Creative New Zealand. The grant will fund me to write full-time for the first six months of 2015. What a thrill; what an opportunity: what a relief. You’ll find me hunched at my writing desk for six months from 1 January 2015. I’m hoping that six-month hunch will see me re-draft and finish The Hope Fault, the novel I’ve been working on this year. Can I hear a rousing cheer ...
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Awarded Varuna Second Book Fellowship for 2015

November 11, 2014

Tracy Farr

I’ve been awarded one of four two-week Varuna Second Book Fellowships to work on my second novel, The Hope Fault. I’ve been working on the first draft of the novel this year — there are some loose links and hints to it in my blog post from my residency at NZ Pacific Studio earlier this year, and I talked about it a little (and about how important residencies are for me, as a ‘binge writer’) in this article in CAPITAL magazine last month. At its heart, the new novel is a contemporary story of a complicated extended family, set on a long ...
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Lena on the wireless – The Life and Loves of Lena Gaunt broadcast on RNZ

October 29, 2014

Tracy Farr

Radio New Zealand’s drama department has, over the last six months, adapted and produced The Life and Loves of Lena Gaunt for radio broadcast, and Lena’s now got a start date: she hits the airwaves on 29 October 2014. Adapted by the wonderful Anna Rogers, and produced in twelve episodes,The Life and Loves of Lena Gaunt will be The Reading on Radio New Zealand’s Nine to Noon programme, weekdays at 10.45am NZ time. Details will be posted on the RadioNZ website, including an introduction, pictures and links to other information. Each episode will be posted on the website the day it’s ...
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The Life and Loves of Lena Gaunt shortlisted for 2014 Barbara Jefferis Award

October 11, 2014

Tracy Farr

Like Jane Rawson, for me there are some days and weeks when this authoring business feels like an awful lot of hard work, and I cry into my porridge in despair that anyone will ever read – let alone see merit in – a thing I write. And then there are weeks like this. So, I hope you’ll forgive some skiting and own-trumpet-blowing. There’ve been many good things in my writing week this week. Here’s the most recent of them. Barbara Jefferis Award shortlist The seven-book shortlist for the 2014 Barbara Jefferis Award was announced yesterday by the Australian Society of Authors, and The Life and Loves of Lena Gaunt is on that list, ...
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After WORD

September 9, 2014

Tracy Farr

WORD Christchurch Writers & Readers Festival (27—31 August 2014) was a little beauty, living up to my high level of anticipation and expectation. Rachael King (Literary Director), Marianne Hargreaves (Executive Director), the Festival Trust and everyone involved created an engaging, entertaining, and distinctive festival that celebrated words in all their forms. I particularly loved the streams of non-traditional words — music, comics, indie publishing — running through the festival. Appropriately, the festival spoke again and again, in small and large ways, to the situation of Christchurch — rebuilding itself after the devastating earthquakes that started on 4 September 2010 — and celebrated ...
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WORD Christchurch Writers & Readers Festival 2014

August 31, 2014

Tracy Farr

I’m really excited to be heading to Christchurch this week for the WORD Christchurch Writers & Readers Festival, 27–31 August 2014. I’ve spent very little time in Christchurch over the years, and nothing other than the odd day of meetings here and there since the earthquakes. I’m looking forward to getting to know the place a little over the four days I’m there for the festival. Festival literary director Rachael King has put together a brilliant programme. I’m particularly keen to see Meg Wolitzer (I read The Interestings last month; loved it) and NoViolet Bulawayo. At Writers Week in Wellington this year, the session featuring ...
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‘Waves’ PechaKucha 20×20 talk

August 28, 2014

Tracy Farr

I was thrilled to be part of the PechaKucha Night programme in Christchurch as part of WORD Christchurch Writers and Readers Festival last month. The event featured “some of the festival’s top local and international writers presenting an eclectic range of PechaKuchas…that encompass their passions and expertise”, so the programme promised. PechaKucha 20×20 is a format where each speaker has 20 images, each shown for 20 seconds; the images advance automatically while the presenter speaks. The first PK was held in Tokyo in 2003, and since then the concept has gone global, with official PK nights held in over 700 cities. The official PechaKucha website hosts thousands ...
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The Life and Loves of Lena Gaunt shortlisted for 2014 WA Premier’s Book Awards

August 2, 2014

Tracy Farr

I’m just delighted that The Life and Loves of Lena Gaunt is shortlisted in the Fiction category of the Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards. Here’s the shortlist for the Fiction category: All the Birds, Singing – Evie Wyld (Random House Australia) Coal Creek – Alex Miller (Allen & Unwin) Elemental – Amanda Curtin (UWA Publishing) Eyrie – Tim Winton (Penguin Group Australia) The Life and Loves of Lena Gaunt – Tracy Farr (Fremantle Press) The Narrow Road to the Deep North – Richard Flanagan (Random House Australia) There I am, nestled in between Winton and Flanagan, along the list from Miles Franklin Award 2014 winner Evie Wyld. I’m more than a little chuffed that mine’s the only ...
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