Blog

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, ...
Read more

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 ...
Read more

‘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 ...
Read more

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 ...
Read more

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 ...
Read more

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 ...
Read more

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, ...
Read more

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 ...
Read more

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 ...
Read more

‘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 ...
Read more

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 ...
Read more

Good vibrations: Auckland Writers Festival, Saturday

May 25, 2014

Tracy Farr

During the week, I wrote about the first few days of Auckland Writers Festival. While it’s still reasonably fresh in my mind — and despite being distracted by a Twitter feed full of #swf2014 — here are my notes and observations from the audience for last Saturday’s sessions at Auckland Writers Festival. Saturday Happy to leave Auckland’s Tiniest Hotel Room behind me for the day, especially for the day’s first session, A.M. Homes chaired by Paula Morris. I’d bought and started reading May We Be Forgiven the day before, after having it on my reading list for ages. The novel caught my ...
Read more

Auckland Writers Festival – Thursday, Friday

May 20, 2014

Tracy Farr

I’m just home in Wellington after another festival for writers and readers, my third in four months (all years should be like this). I’ve written already about Perth Writers Festival (February) and New Zealand Writers Week in Wellington (March). Unlike these first two festivals, I wasn’t ‘performing’ at the most recent one, so it’s from the audience, not the green room, that I offer up these random notes from the first few days of Auckland Writers Festival 2014. Thursday I flew out of cold, wet Wellington wearing my too-heavy Wellington-weight coat; the relative warmth of Auckland still always surprises me even though, after so long, ...
Read more

Time was on my side

May 8, 2014

Tracy Farr

I’d forgotten the gift of having time on my side. When I arrived at New Zealand Pacific Studio on 5 April, time stretched out before me. Three weeks seemed such a luxury. So I took my time: I unpacked my clothes; I stacked food on my shelf (“MASON”) in the pantry; I set up my computer, my books, my desk. I’d like to say that I sat down at the desk, then, and got stuck in. But it took a few days to shake off town, and commitments, to fire some last emails back to work, and to find my ...
Read more

The Life and Loves of Lena Gaunt longlisted for 2014 Miles Franklin Literary Award

April 8, 2014

Tracy Farr

Last Thursday, the longlist for the 2014 Miles Franklin Literary Award was announced. Heading the list — only because it was announced alphabetically by author — was my novel, The Life and Loves of Lena Gaunt. Here’s the longlist: Tracy Farr, The Life And Loves Of Lena Gaunt Richard Flanagan, The Narrow Road to the Deep North Ashley Hay, The Railwayman’s Wife Melissa Lucashenko, Mullumbimby Fiona McFarlane, The Night Guest Nicolas Rothwell, Belomor Trevor Shearston, Game Cory Taylor, My Beautiful Enemy Tim Winton, Eyrie Alexis Wright, The Swan Book Evie Wyld, All The Birds, Singing The Miles Franklin has been called Australia’s most prestigious literary award. It was established through the will of ...
Read more