Celebrating Katherine Mansfield

Randell Cottage Trustee and author Vincent O’Sullivan and recently departed Randell Cottage writer in residence Kirsty Gunn in conversation in the garden of the Villa Maria Serena in Menton. Both were keynote speakers at the Katherine Mansfield symposium ‘Celebrating Katherine Mansfield’ in Menton in September. A summary of Kirsty’s talk is here. Photo: Delia da Sousa Correa

Kirsty Gunn — “This place you return to is home” – Katherine Mansfield, Thorndon and the Randell Residency

The Randell Cottage NZ Writer in Residence 2009, Kirsty Gunn, joins Randell Cottage Trustee Vincent O’Sullivan as a keynote speaker at the Katherine Mansfield symposium ‘Celebrating Katherine Mansfield’ in Menton in September. Here’s what she will talk about:

‘Thorndon – with its houses and hills, its glimpses of the harbour and its walks and ways – stamped Katherine Mansfield‘s imagination and made the remembering of it a sort of literary project that continued throughout her life. This informal talk will show how that early world of hers has come to surround me during this past winter I have spent living just up the road from where she was born and brought up, and will describe how Mansfield‘s sense of home and away that has always been a great inspiration upon my own writing has actively come to bear upon the work that I have made while I have been here as a Randell resident. I will read one of the short stories I‘ve written while here – ‘The Little House’ – and discuss my own literary project, a collection of journal entries, essays and short stories entitled —Thorndon — all centred around this very particular part of the world. ‘

Kirsty Gunn

Kirsty Gunn is currently in residence at the Randell Cottage with her two daughters who are attending Queen Margaret’s College. She will be joined for a short period by her husband David Graham who is Managing Director of Granta.

Kirsty is researching her project on Katherine Mansfield called Thorndon and working on a collection of short stories. Kirsty was guest speaker at a NZ Society of Authors event at the Thistle Inn in Thorndon on May 25 and spoke about Necessary Scenes in Fiction. She has also spoken to a Writers Master Class at the International Institute of Modern Letters on June 3 at Victoria University.

Kirsty spoke at the Writers on Monday series 12.15-1.15 pm August 3 at Te Papa, the Writers Read series 6-7 pm Thursday August 6 at Massey University’s Wellington Campus, Buckle Street, and at Palmerston North City Library 7 pm Friday August 7. Randell Cottage Trustee Mary McCallum will chair the Massey and Palmerston North events.
After arriving in New Zealand, Kirsty Gunn had to return briefly to Scotland for family reasons which meant she had to regretfully cancel her events at the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival in May.

The Writer’s Life as a Juggling Act

Kirsty Gunn talks to The NZ Herald’s Siobhan Harvey. Saturday May 09, 2009

It’s 10 pm in London and New Zealand-born novelist Kirsty Gunn has had a difficult day. “I’ve only just got the girls to bed,” she says, guiltily.

The girls in question are Gunn’s daughters, Millie, 11, and Katherine, 8.

“School’s out over here, so the girls wanted to spend the day with me. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t have a problem with this, but I’ve just returned from a teaching and reading tour of the Gironde district in Bordeaux, so a few academic deadlines for Dundee [where Gunn is professor of creative writing] have piled up. More