Unity Books had the honour of hosting Thursday’s launch for Wellington writer Kate Duignan’s new novel, The New Ships. We were joined by Victoria University Press’ Fergus Barrowman, and novelist Emily Perkins, who “smashed the metaphorical bottle” to officially launch the book. The New Ships is Duignan’s second novel, after Breakwater—published in 2001. After a 17 year gap between books, the store was flooded with readers excited to get their hands on this new gem—and with a beautiful cover designed by Keely O’Shannessy, it certainly shines on the shelf.
Perkins noted that a lot of living has been done during the process of writing the novel, with Duignan’s having had three children and earned a PhD since she first conceived the idea for The New Ships. She told us a story of a trip to the Greek island of Lesbos very early in the writing process, which was rife with obstacles that threatened to discourage and dishearten her creative spirits. Luckily for us, Duignan kept on, and The New Ships in its finished form is a funny, raw, and incredibly rich novel. It opens in grief, and moves throughout between Wellington and the wider world, the past and the present, and sorrow and hope.
Duignan thanked a wide cast of family, friends, universities, and Creative New Zealand for all of their financial, emotional, intellectual, and creative support over the years. As the speeches finished, a long line of readers formed for the author to sign copies of the book.
The New Ships ($30), published by Victoria University Press, is available in store and at Unity Books Online.