Which Way Is Starboard Again? Anna Kirtlan
Wednesday the 15th of April saw Unity Books Wellington turn nautical for a while, as Anna Kirtlan shared with us her experiences on the seven seas (well, in the southern Pacific Ocean, to be more accurate). Our event for Which Way Is Starboard Again? drew in a large crowd, with a few friends and family members describing themselves as paparazzi as they happily snapped pictures of Anna and her new book.
Despite her admission of nerves, Anna kept the crowd engaged as she described what it was like embarking on the trip with her partner Paddy… with no sailing experience of her own. ‘You can bumble your way around the South Pacific and have an amazing time and not get everything right.’ She spoke about the highlights and the difficult bits of the trip – seeing all kinds of countries and often parts of them that are only accessible by boat, vs the poverty and struggle experienced by many of the communities they encountered.
Anna prefaced her reading from the book by warning us ‘I hope you don’t mind, there is one swear word in here.’ As she went onto read the passage, it was understandable why, with the extract describing a ‘thermonuclear meltdown’ part way to Tonga – coupled with deeply missing her cat back on dry land.
After her reading, Anna fielded questions from the audience, revealing that she’s planning another trip, ‘but a bit more relaxed this time’. She confirmed that touching the ground after being at sea for so long is just as amazing a sensation as you’d imagine, and that despite the ups and downs while at sea, her relationship was certainly strengthened by the tests that they faced together.
Everyone was tripping over themselves to get Anna to sign their copies of the book after the formalities were over, and get in their hugs and photos of the newly minted author. The event was a joyous celebration of both the woman and the book, and all involved seemed to be thrilled to be there.
Reviewed by Briar Lawry
Which way is Starboard again? is available in store and from our online shop.