Readings and discussion about ‘Room to write’ with Whiti Hereaka, Sedef Ecer, and Fiona Kidman

We had a very good turnout to a special lunchtime gathering at Unity Books last week to promote Room to Write.
Mary McCallum of The Cuba Press chaired a relaxed conversation with Dame Fiona Kidman, Whiti Hereaka and the current French writer-in-residence, Sedef Ecer.
Mary McCallum, Whiti Hereaka, Sedef Ecer, Fiona Kidman, Maggie Rainey-Smith at Unity Books. Photo via The Cuba Press
Dame Fiona talked about the generosity of the gift of the cottage from Beverley Randell Price and spoke of the special bond between the French and Kiwi writers and the international opportunities afforded.
Whiti delighted with her reading of ‘The Li River’, about a residency she held in China, where the work is repeated with words removed. Chatter ensued between Mary and Paul of The Cuba Press, about the challenges of layout for such an innovative piece.
There was a delightful informality with input from the editors Linda Burgess and Maggie Rainey-Smith and accolades for the translation work of Jean Anderson and Myreille Pawliez.
Sedef chose to read in French a piece from her close friend Florence Cadier ‘Christmas 2011’, and Mary McCallum then read the same piece in English. It was the perfect way to end a lively and interesting conversation, with such an evocative vignette, that speaks so eloquently to the distance, the difference, between Paris and Wellington, for example, one hemisphere to another.
Everyone agreed, that Room to Write is a beautiful book.
Copies of Room To Write edited by Maggie Rainey-Smith and Linda Burgess, translated by Jean Anderson and Myreille Pawliez, are at Unity Books, all good bookshops, and
Unity Books, Wellington. Photo by Tim Gruar

You can see more photos on our Facebook post.