Nicola Easthope, who will be joining Saradha Koirala for a poetry reading in-store on Wednesday 7th November 2018, 12-12:45pm, answered our author interview questions ahead of her event. Find out which author (and Wellington cafe) Nicola would like to resurrect, controversial favourite book-to-film adaption and lots, lots more.
ABOUT WORKING THE TANG
From the Orkney Islands to Coastlands shopping mall, Working the tang is liberally seasoned with salt and spit, kelp and wrack, and the creatures who live within coo-ee of the sea.Nicola Easthope writes of the ghosts of her British ancestors, and the ocean between them and the life she lives in Aotearoa New Zealand, where people tweet and spat, go camping and kitesurfing, and freewheel the shore on TradeMe roller skates. And David Bowie is here too!
Nicola Easthope is a poet, reader, teacher, partner and mum. She’s a champion of children, teenagers, and activism for a more just, green and peaceful world.Exploring her ancestral roots – Orkney Islands, Scotland, Wales and England – she also reflects on what it means to be Pākehā supporting Te Tiriti o Waitangi in Aotearoa. Nicola lives on the Kāpiti Coast with her family. This is her second collection of poetry
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING AND HOW DID YOU DISCOVER THE BOOK(S)?
Walk Back Over by Wiradjuri poet, historian, academic and teacher Jeanine Leane (Cordite Publishing Inc, 2018). It’s a collection of personal and political history, of colonial mythology, phantasm and amnesia, and it’s heart-and-brainstriking in its honesty and imagery. I bought this book from Jeanine in Melbourne earlier this month, at a poetry and spoken word gig called ‘Girls on Key’. She was one of the guest poets, sharing the truth of what colonisation has done and continues to do to her Country and people. Jeanine’s ‘Best Australian Poems’ poem, ‘River Memory’, is in there. With her blessing, I read it aloud to my creative writing workshop at the Tasmanian Poetry Festival a few days later. Since coming home, I’ve used it as an ‘unfamiliar text’ with my Year 13s, paired with Helen Lehndorf’s Mudlark, about the Manawatū – another brilliant river poem.
WHO ARE YOUR FAVOURITE WRITERS AND WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT THEM?
Keri Hulme, Michael Ondaatje, Barbara Kingsolver, Tina Makereti, Margaret Atwood, Arundhati Roy, George Orwell, Elizabeth Knox, Percy Bysshe Shelley and William Shakespeare. I love each of them because I can hear them so clearly, as well as fall into their imagery immediately. Any writer who pays attention to the poetic sounds and visions in their prose has me as a fan for life.
WHAT BOOKS ARE ON YOUR BEDSIDE TABLE?
Black Marks on the White Page, edited by Tina Makereti and Witi Ihimaera, Baby by Annaleese Jochems, Sleeps Standing – Moetu by Witi Ihimaera and translated by Hēmi Kelly, The Imaginary Lives of James Pōneke by Tina Makereti, Now You Shall Know by Jennifer Compton (Melbourne-Kiwi poet), Satan Repentant by Michael Aiken (NSW poet).
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE BOOK-TO-FILM ADAPTATION?
I actually really love Julie Taymor’s take on Will Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Loads of people don’t. I’m mainly for Helen Mirren (luminous as a volcanic Prospera). And the Hulu series of The Handmaid’s Tale.
WHAT BOOK HAVE YOU RE-READ THE MOST AND WHY?
Of all of Shakespeare’s, probably Macbeth – in the past, mostly to prepare for teaching, but these days, for the pleasure of the language and the agony of Macbeth, Lady Macbeth and Macduff’s poor wife and kids!
“All is the fear, and nothing is the love, as little is the wisdom, where the flight so runs against all reason.”
WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE LITERARY CHARACTER?
Xas in ‘The Vintner’s Luck’. When I met my partner, fifteen years ago, I first thought of Xas’ pale translucence and otherworldly night-ness. Turned out this is one of Al’s favourite novels, too.
WHAT BOOK HAVE YOU ALWAYS BEEN MEANING TO READ BUT STILL HAVEN’T GOTTEN AROUND TO?
SO MANY! I need ten years off to catch up. Janet Frame’s Intensive Care.
WHICH THREE WRITERS WOULD YOU HAVE OVER FOR DINNER?
Octavia Butler, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Margaret Atwood. Octavia would come back to life for just one night, and we’d have…
WHAT WOULD YOU COOK THEM?
… caterers. From the old Mt Victoria Cafe on Brougham Street in Wellington. We’d have that resurrected for a night too!
HOW ARE YOUR BOOKS SHELVED AND ORGANISED AT HOME?
My poetry collection has its own bookcase, arranged by country and region. Aotearoa takes up two-thirds of it. My bookcase is too small – the piles on top of it! Everything else is by genre (novels, short story collections, non-fiction) and they sometimes mix and mingle…
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE LITERARY QUOTE?
“Literature is my utopia. Here I am not disenfranchised. No barrier of the senses shuts me out from the sweet, gracious discourses of my book friends. They talk to me without embarrassment or awkwardness.” ~ Helen Keller, 1880-1968 – American author, activist and lecturer. The first deafblind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree.