Music to warm a book by

This week we held a bookwarming in Wellington to celebrate the publication earlier in the month of my second novel, The Hope Fault. A bunch of us gathered (like the bunch of people in my book gather) to talk and drink and eat, under the unsettling but appropriate gaze of the wallabies and possums dotted about the room at Meow.

The book was warmed into public life by some beautiful words from gracious women who joined me on the stage, MC’d by Craig Stevens (reader, I married him).

We started with a few words from my publisher. I was thrilled to have Yvette Walker (until recently Perth-based, Yvette now lives on the shores of the Kaipara; if you don’t know her award-winning debut novel Letters To the End of Love, go and find it, buy or borrow it, and read it right now) – probably the only person in the room other than me who knows Georgia Richter, my publisher at Fremantle Press – to read a message from Georgia and the Freo crew.

Cartoonist, fiction writer, illustrator, creator of the magnificent graphic memoir Mansfield and MeSarah Laing took to the stage in golden shoes and a reminder that she and I first bonded through our shared fangrrrling over Kristin Hersh at WORD Christchurch in 2014 – pertinent, given the quote from Kristin’s song ‘Counting Backwards’ that’s the epigraph for the second part of The Hope Fault.

Science historian, writer, pumice aficionado and once-upon-a-time geologist Rebecca Priestley (who exactly a week before was shaking hands with the PM as she accepted the Prime Minister’s Science Communication Prize) gave a great cover line for the novel’s next edition (OK, maybe not):

If you like novels about haiku-writing geologists, this is the book for you.

I loved that Rebecca loved the geologically-inspired haiku that appear in the novel, and it was a thrill to have her bring a geological perspective to the stage.

And then I said some overwhelmed thanks to people in the room that night: to Yvette, Sarah and Rebecca; to Anna Smaill whose words grace the front cover of my book, and to Dylan Horrocks whose words preface the book as its epigraph; to all the folks from and associated with New Zealand Pacific Studio who made my R.A.K. Mason Fellowship possible or influenced or otherwise supported me (Chris and Derek DaniellMadeleine SlavickJanis Freegard); to Simon Nathan, who knew the real-life geologist, Rafi Freund, who wrote the geological bulletin The Hope Fault, and to Maggie Dyer (GNS), Keith Lewis and Lisa Northcote for geological support or connections; to Fiona Kidman, teacher, mentor and friend; to my tiny family here in Wellington; and to everyone who’s supported me, my books, my writing. Enormous thanks, too, to Unity Books for their support and enthusiasm (to Vanessa and Rob for book sales on the night, and to Dylan for organising it); and thanks to Damien, Lucy, Élodie and all at Meow for the venue.

Then I read a little piece from the book, from the chapter ‘Marti, Marti, life of the party’. And then – like the bunch of people in my book – we partied on.

I put together a bit of a playlist of music to background the event, all themed to the book, and I thought I’d share it here. I’ve split it into three playlists.

HOPE at MEOW the first

To kick off the night, some music about water and rain, home and notes.


HOPE at MEOW the second

To bookend the speeches, some songs for the characters in the novel.


HOPE at MEOW the third

To finish the night, some songs about houses and homes, rain and swans, water and memory.

I hope you end up with some of this music stuck in your brain, as I have (currently playing in Tracy’s brain: Tiny Ruins ‘Little Notes’). Thanks to everyone who came along on Tuesday evening (or wanted to, or sent their good wishes) and helped us warm this book into life.

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