Ticket to Wonderland

Today is officially my first day waking up in Wonderland, as I (nominally) start the ten-month funding period for the Creative New Zealand Arts Grant I was awarded in May ‘towards researching and writing the first draft of a novel, Wonderland’.

This is the second Arts Grant I’ve received from Creative New Zealand. The first, in 2014/15, gave me six months to focus on the structure of my second novel, The Hope Fault, and complete the novel’s final draft. I wrote about what that funding meant to me here, here and here. Getting that funding was life-changing (or novel-changing, at least); I imagine I’d still be writing that novel (or possibly have given up) if it wasn’t for the funding, and the focus it allowed me.

This new funding is to work on a much earlier stage of my third novel. Here’s a taste of my broad concept for the new novel, as I described it in my application to Creative New Zealand.

Set in Wellington in the early twentieth century, Wonderland explores women’s ability to make their voices heard, to describe the world and make it into sense, and to live lives filled with wonder. Wonderland is the story of three sisters, Ada, Oona and Hanna, identical triplets born in an amusement park (the eponymous Wonderland) in the first decade of the twentieth century. I’ll model my novel’s amusement park on one of the same name that ran from 1907 to 1911 on Wellington’s Miramar Peninsula, where I’ve lived for the last twenty years.

I’m sure I’ll post occasionally here about the novel as I work on it (follow the tag Wonderland), but don’t expect to hear too much about it too soon — the novel is in its infancy, and I feel the need to be gentle and protective of it while it’s finding its feet.

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