If lunchtime events are well-suited to any particular book, it’s surely those with a culinary theme. So it was that Unity Books Wellington turned into food writing central at midday this past Thursday, with the launch of Anne Else’s memoir The Colour of Food. Even with the threat of food-y conversation causing pre-lunch stomach growlings, the seats were quickly packed out.
Mary Varnham of Awa Press introduced Anne (and launched the book), but not before providing a little background around the publication of the book. Anne’s late husband, poet Harvey McQueen, was one of Awa’s first authors – his memoir This Piece of Earth was released ten years ago – so it has rather been a full circle affair. Anne described The Colour of Food as being partly inspired by Harvey’s book, and at the same time a tribute to him.
At one point describing the event as being a ‘short tasting menu’, Anne read excerpts from the book and provided candid explanations around both the situations themselves and the decisions to include them. From her earliest memories – all food related – to learning to dine alone after her husband’s death, the book is a collection of moments that are framed by food or by meals, but that are in their essence about so much more.
‘We’re so lucky to have both Awa and Unity in Wellington,’ Anne told the crowd, as she started her talk – and Wellington is obviously also lucky to have writers like Anne among its denizens.
Photos below © Matt Bialostocki, Event reviewed by Briar Lawry.