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Part 1 - The Book That Turned the Light On - Same Same But Different writers festival

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[00:00:00] This recording is brought to you by the same same but different Writers Festival in private [00:00:07] I was very touched early last week on comas is one of the speakers we're going to hear from tonight, one of the new voices sent me a message and he said that success for events like this is not measured, question awards or dollars, but our lives touched and made creatively rich and joyous. And I think that's a very important thing. And I think it's something that has motivated all of us in putting together this, this festival. Now hope really with this festival is that it will lead to more. [00:00:43] We hope. [00:00:45] So engage with a wider group of writers, ideally, with some coming from overseas already, we've had quite significant interest from writers from Africa, New Zealand, and we look to engage with thorny contemporary issues that enliven and engage LGBT q community. So anyway, this festival, which sure at the very beginning of this a taster, we hope for things to come. Thank you so much for all being here. And certainly. [00:01:22] Thank you picture. [00:01:24] speaker this evening is Joanne Drayton. Joe is witty, she is smart, as smart as a dime. And she is a great talker, show and duration is an acclaimed biographer of two very different crime writers. No mash, an empirical period. Please, ladies and gentlemen, next enjoy. [00:01:46] Well, I'm not quite sure whether this qualifies me is a girly SWAT, or a cheat. But I've actually got two books. So I'm the two books that I've got here. And this might prove that a little bit of a girly sport is true. Woman and white. So I'm just I'm just going to talk mostly about women white, but also other women by Lisa alpha. So women are white. And just to prove that there's something very special about the real thing, I should show you this book because it's it's it sees up here, Mara, how high school and [00:02:26] it was presented to join Drayton. Can you believe it for geography. [00:02:33] I knew much more about where I was being than I do now. But I saw, so for form geography, they really, I think the school didn't know what they were doing when they gave me this book, because, in fact, it didn't teach me so much about geography is about perhaps myself. And so it's, it was wonderful to pull it out again, to look at it, and to, to actually just realize that our read it twice when I was in the PErforM once, because I felt like I should, after getting it as a prize in the second time, because I really wanted to relive the experience of reading it. And so well, it's a book what the Woman in White is a book by Wilkie Collins, and I'll just make sure I'm not gonna talk too long. And it's, interestingly enough, it's good. I didn't realize this, I didn't, you know, had a weird things, all the bits. But you know, I kind of come together as you get older and you look, look at it, you can start seeing the picture, and you realize, we were the pieces are missing. But this was a woman and white was actually considered to be amongst the first mystery novels. So even me when I was a geography student at my high school, I was interested in in mystery novels. And this is what one of the few sort of sensation novels so I got a real sensation, but probably not the one that are contained. So it's, it's, it's, it's it kind of that sleuthing thing and it, it has Walter hat, right? Who's, who kind of has to unravel this mystery about the woman and white and to free the heroine and to marry her. But there's, it's a threesome, actually. And what happens is the one white, his three to two women that I think were really, really interesting to me, one was Marion halcomb. And the other course was the main character, Laura and Laura Marion, how come as a as a fascinating character, because the relationship that kind of really jumped out of it for me was this half sisters. And it was the tenderness and the commitment, and the passion, which was with which Marian tries to help here actually lyst able, with amazing and half sister to be restored and, and kind of redeemed in a way. So I want I don't want to give you a plot summary. But I hadn't quite realized what was that really about Marion that that really made me kind of turn the light on for me. And when I was reading just just just as a sort of preparation. And I knew I couldn't read the whole book. [00:05:31] And [00:05:32] I the first the first thing I kind of double clicked on was Jean de bien de. Now I didn't realize this at the time. But first off, Marian looks Marion's looks as if sighs a lot peps overemphasized. She's got a hot board. So she's Richard a great figure. According to Walter and POSCO, that's a couple of the characters. But you think she got the heat of Medusa the way people round two. So here's a quote, never was the old convention, conventional Maxim that nature cannot more flatly contradicted, never was the fear promise of a lovely figure more strangely and startlingly belied by the face and heed the crown. So this is Marion Marion. The lady's completion was almost swarthy the DAC down on her upper lip was almost a mustache. She had a large, firm, masculine mouth and jaw. And I hadn't even remember this. But I knew I like to already. So social, so Marion verges on being outright masculine. And he looks and that's reflected in her behavior to Marion even describes herself as an feminine, she's intelligent, she likes cheese, and arguing, she probably likes to talk them up. And she can do, she can do those typically feminine female things, like play the piano, or draw. So she was she was appealing to me, she turned the light on, but it was really this. It was this relationship between her and a half sister, it wasn't actually the romance. And this book that got me was a romance was typically heterosexual. But it but it was so typical of the way that my generation or at least, people brought up and Christchurch and very sort of middle class backgrounds had to go in mind for anything that kind of spoke to them about their identity or about their evolving. So it was a matter of reading between the lines or reading into the lines, your story, placing your passion, your commitment to, to sort of same, same, really, in a way. And that's what I was exploring at the time. Now, it did take me many more years to actually fully turn the light on. I think I was 33. Before I am married to an Anglican minister, I have to admit, before I really switch that neon light on properly, and in fell out of the closet, but but the thing is they already I was looking to find the traces of the stories that I could relate to the stories that touched me. And and why I found I was surprised I thought surely the smoky cans. Sure, you must know, he's writing a lesbian relationship here. And he must do that. And they live the thing is they lived happily ever after. And maybe that's what I thought my marriage, it's probably perhaps that's what I thought it was going to happen. But obviously it didn't. Which was a good thing. I could say that. But But the thing is that in a way, I was looking for those readings, I was looking for those stories, and I don't think they were the in the same way in the 1970s is they are now true. That's it's the truth. And it was it was really an eye. So so in a way I had to find my story in stories that were basically written for someone else. There were other love stories. There were other detective stories though other things. And, and, you know, it might have been a lot more people reading the wall of loneliness. But in Christchurch, my high school, they did not give that as the prize. So and I know you'll be surprised about it. But really, and we might did read something that was more, you know, finally I felt found, and maybe I had some I am I was homophobic. You know, I may not probably hated myself, I'm sure. But I mean, when I bought these books I actually had to sneak in. And I didn't want anyone to see me because that's the other woman. You know, I mean, this was the 1970s, where you didn't even touch someone, you know, even if they fell over you, you lift them. You just especially if they were the same sex, you just let them die. It was funny, just in case someone thought you might be a lesbian or gay. So, but this is in Christ, which I have to say of it. But so I don't wanna I, I struggled to buy this book. Because it was because, you know, because I already knew that hit some sort of, you know, because I'd already read the one before, which I also struggle to buy, but I bought that bought more by excellent. But this, this one, this is kind of typical of, I think the books that you could read, that were about same sex relationships and women, particularly women, same sex relationships, which I think have always been more problematic, and perhaps more deeply. [00:10:33] I don't know, kind of difficult for society, but, but I don't want to read the whole thing. But basically, the woman that sort of thinks that she could be lesbian, or has these difficult relationships with other women and she goes into therapy, and you'll be really pleased to know she was cured pretty much by the end of it. So I think I think that that's the other kind there. That's partly why because, um, I was always disappointed. They always come right in the end. You know, they were they were always warmly secured. So, so it was a it was kind of give you just give me a wake when I need to go. Okay, okay, so it's right. Yeah. Okay. So, so I think time, one minute. Okay. Right. Okay. Well, really, I think I think that's, I think that's the the two things, I think that that I had to read and find those stories and our stories that were conventionally written or intended for another audience. And then when I did find those stories, that that traced parts and, and aspects of that passionate relationship between two women was always portrayed in a negative way. It was always framed as a pathology as as as problematic for the ones that I was reading. And so I think, I think it leaves my life very much more confused, then then it turned the light on. Because I think the books we were reading, in some ways, we're not actually helping direct us to, to, to new stories to possible future stories for ourselves. But, you know, it finally did dawn the light. But in these and these are the stories I look back on his formative in that process. So thank you very much. [00:12:34] Thank you just stand is [00:12:35] not compulsory. If you have something wrong with your legs, I'm more than happy to come and sit [00:12:39] on them. [00:12:41] extremely quickly. Thank you, Joe. Next up, we've got Paul diamond. Paul is a writer. He's a journalist and broadcaster, and curation Modi, at the Turnbull library, his books include makin at a biography of Maggie pepper, CUDA. And he's looked at the fascinatingly murky world of the mirror father, newly, who in 19, in the 1920s, was dumped from office for making a pass at poet Darcy Chris. Well, the ex mayor was later shot on the streets of Berlin, it's a movie waiting to happen. And we hope that Paul writes it, and is a general Make some noise. [00:13:25] Kyoto, it's wonderful that this is happening. And it was, it was even more exciting to be asked to be part of it. And to well, and Joe doesn't need to feel embarrassed about having two books, I've actually got three. But But mainly talking about one. And I guess you need to I need to sort of preface the one I'm going to tell you about these books about a bit of context about the time that I'm talking about. And I guess it's the time when I was coming out. And so we talked about the late 80s. And the early 90s, for which was someone born in 1968 is a bit of a late run. But, you know, for those of you who can't remember that as clearly as I can, you know, it's it was very different sort of landscape, legally, it was very different. There was there were no civil partnerships, there was no marriage, there was no legal protection that was it was before, really just on the cusp of decriminalization. And as a result, the social attitudes were really different. And wasn't as commonplace, I guess, bordering on banal actually at times as as things are now. And, and the hot valley where I was growing up, it was like, it didn't exist. And the gap between these books I'm going to tell you about, and what I'd grown up with was really, really, really large. Because if you had role models at all, they were either ridiculous or tragic and violence. So you had done john, and then as Mr. Humphreys on are you being served, because in New Zealand in was initially one channel two channels in three, but everyone watched the same things. So there was there. And then there was Hudson and holes likely here, but it was like they were not completely real, especially in stocks Valley. And the valley, or there was my mother's cousin who was a theater nurse, and who would sort of murmur you know, they'd have these moment conversations about tragic relationships that ended in violence in the and the a&e department on a Saturday night in the hospital. So there was that sort of vague sense. But overall, the message was, well, it was almost It was never really spoken. But it was the idea was, if you if you go down that path, you're leading yourself into a sad, lonely, tragic life. So it was a revelation to find out about books that that show other ways of being and I guess, I mean, the always those things that were around in the period, when you do come out, I guess, do have a very big influence on you. And so many, many people will be familiar with this dangerous desires, which has PE diamond Wellington 1992, which was when I was flattering, and Wellington and it really wasn't one of those cases of I think everyone figured that this man should come out before he did. But so you know, it was a late run. But when I sort of got to this had just come out. And I remember sitting in my bedroom, at my flat tire being too nervous to take him to the land, reading it and and it was a revelation. And just this idea that there were these other other sort of realities, that it was not necessarily tragic. And sometimes they were even happy endings, and they were different lives to mine. I mean, I wouldn't sit in that valley about but it was still inspiring different sorts of role models. And then I have a friend in Wellington, who's the same age as me, but came out 10 years before me, so I like to think of him as my sort of fairy godmother. Because it was a case of I mean, he was responsible for my cultural education in those early years. And we both grew up in that valley. But he was a lot more worldly than I was then. So he said, haven't you heard of? I'm Steve Martin. And Haven't you heard of the Tales of the City and you know, so So this catching up that I had to do so? Well, first down, and they are I know, a woman who reads the month for trilogy, the pursuit of love and the other two books in a series. She reads those every now and again, I read the Tales of the City every now and again, I just sort of when I when I need a burst. Those are the books I go back to. And that was about this whole different imagining of urban living and different sorts of people living together in a place like battery life. So that was exciting. But then then what was another project that Peter wells had a lot to do with based nights gay writing an hour to New Zealand, this wonderful Anthology, very brave book. There's a whole story lot of people who will know better that the abuse of the Winkelmann image on the cover, and in the bravery about I highlighting the work of those three, well, the non appearance of the work by those three writers whose literary executives wouldn't allow to be included and then anthology then. But for me, personally, one of the most significant things about this book and if you haven't, I know it won't be in print, I guess. But it's such a wonderful, wonderful book for for lots of reasons. But for me, personally, was when I came across this [00:18:00] story that was alluded to this little paragraph, if one looks back to the 1920s, one comes across what looks like a typical literary and sexual conundrum. Darcy crystal who's lived from 1896 to 1960, was a Canterbury born poet that was famous for the lateness of his poetry as he was for going door to door during the Depression and Hawking of his palms. Before this. However, in 1920, he had acted as a homosexual agent provocateur. He loved the mayor of one going into homosexual indiscretion, and the local art gallery, the mayor and desperation attempted to murder Chris. Well, this led to the remarkable osmosis by which the mayor of a small, rather elegant Riverside City in New Zealand lost his name, his fortune has country we next find him a communist journalist and the game maker of Berlin, where he was shot by the police, this dramatic trajectory, hence, the extraordinary lives of some earlier homosexuals who were pushed beyond silence and discretion. So I read that and that was sort of fizzing away in my head. And then when Gareth Roger and I were working at Radio New Zealand to give a pre landline, who is a drama producer there had just read about this and Michael King Street, New Zealand, she said, if you heard about that, that was going to be mayor and that story. And I said, Oh, you know, I'd known about it for Julian because of this. And she said, Why don't we make a radio program. So we, we decided to make a radio program and had commissioned, The trouble was, there was really no one to talk to because it had happened the 1920 everyone was did except for the man's daughter, who, because I was a coward, I got through the ringer. And, and she said, Stop this at once, who's your boss. [00:19:34] So um, but we did get a sense that she was very protective of her father. [00:19:40] So we sort of got no one to interview. But we so we started going through the archives, and in the meantime, hi, Lyft radio, and started working at the Ministry for cultural heritage where I was my boss was the chief historian, Bronwyn Daly, who's actually a expert in history of sexuality and crime. And she's from what we know, like, actually quite a lot of historians, as she said to me, don't try and solve this. But look at the effect it had on other gaming and monetary and in New Zealand, and then you suddenly start to see all of these New Zealand gaming popping up in London, and in other parts of Europe and the 20s. So Bronwyn suggestion was, you know, was this used as a way of keeping men in line like behave? Look what happened to the mayor, the mayor from you know, it's hard to imagine how rich and prosperous and significant Well, you know, he was the it's kind of like an amalgam of Hamilton and Palmerston, but more elegant and, but in terms of its economic clout, the and it was a hugely powerful thing. So I think it would, it really did rattle people. So the other reason that was a bit tricky to work out what to do with us, as there's so many kind of angles to the message and quote, that they've been treated for us homosexuality, which looks like it was hypnosis, and a thing called auto suggestion, which was quite popular in 1914. And there's also this obliteration of his name. So long ago, he they sounded his name off the sergeant gallery, they destroyed his portrait, his wife and daughters will change their name back to the maiden name. He's written out of the histories of pulmonary. Now he's probably one of Well actually, we know he does have quite a few extreme years. But, but now he's a lot. He's a little historian, the city's actually become a bit of a cult. But it's great to be able to be here actually, to acknowledge this various people here who've supported me and encouraged me in this, the my boss at the tumble library teases me that this is my life's work, I'm hoping that I do finish it before my life is over. I'm actually going to be going to Germany after Easter to spend a bit more time chasing Charles makki and Darcy crystal as well. There isn't a site and the books that Carol's got out there about the war, telling the story from the point of view of the Great War, which she goes a long way to explain how the two guys connected and possibly a motivation because no one's ever been able to prove that how did the How to Darcy, Chris will know that the man was gay and be able to confront him and say, resign or else in Indonesia. But the challenge that I'm up against at the moment has to be finish this damn book. And so it will be quite inspiring. If at a future, same same that different conference in the not too distant future I was actually able to stand here and tell you about the actual book killer. [00:22:23] Okay, number three, we've got Susanna Walker. Susanna is the editor of Metro magazine, which is the seminal position of power in the Auckland's Queen City. It is a great pleasure to have her here speaking, please make some noise. This is [00:22:43] I'm actually on deadline and in the throes of deadline at the moment, which means my mind has been fully occupied for this and will be this weekend, but I'm sorry. So what I have done is just at the very early as the morning and flood find down my story, I guess, in part and also not that it's a competition, but three magazines and one book, the turn the light on [00:23:15] might be up to 25 [00:23:18] Yeah, so if you'll forgive me then this, you know that the more formal style I've just got to read what I hope makes sense. It's 1979, and I'm 13 years old. I live in Englewood, population 3000. In the shadow of Mount terror, Nikki, nothing ever happens, except for a murder. Now. I'm in the food formatting world High School. I'm consistently good at English and I totally suck in maths. I'm a dreamer who reads while everyone else my age seems to be playing sport. And I have one favorite. In fact, the only on trend outfit which I we're as much as I possibly can appear of skinny jeans, anyone my age might remember those you to line up to get this apart. And a boob job, [00:24:10] please. Needless to say those days are gone. [00:24:15] I'm not allowed to get my ears pierced because mom thinks it's common. But I compensate with an aggressive middle part and fire fourth it flips [00:24:25] and the fourth of five children. Mom's an artist, but in 1979 she's swamped by the demand demands of motherhood. Dad's the company secretary for dairy company. I don't know what that means. So I just tell people, he's an accountant. [00:24:40] A house is directly opposite dad's office. [00:24:44] He just has to cross the road and he's at work. He likes to pop home for a nice piece of homemade ginger slice and copper and he listened to the national program on the Bakelite radio, which sits on the lower shelf of one of our many bookcases. My mother is voracious reader. My father isn't but sometimes he gets a copy of Playboy for Christmas as a joke a lot changes when I'm 13 my Sterling career as a brownie as in the past now. [00:25:17] I was in the theories club whatever sub tribe of brownies is called and brown out just loved it. When we chatted our motto I'm a theory good and gay. [00:25:31] Helping others every day. [00:25:36] Eventually I graduate to go guides Come on so I'm a teenager I leave behind [00:25:43] however, [00:25:45] I still had my girl God box so to speak. [00:25:50] The box is what you put your stuff and when you're forced to go to go God can't because clearly suitcases far too easy. one spot is homemade to exact and go God specifications. Did conscious one up in the garage and man lately and scribes my name and white on the lead. It's in the girl guide box, which now sits gathering dust under the desk in my bedroom that I hide dad's playboy after stealing it from the top of his wardrobe. [00:26:21] Today, I can only recall one image from that magazine. But I remember it very vividly. [00:26:27] It's a double page spread of an orgy. There are at least 20 men and women naked, sprawling, writhing, sucking, stroking any interest in every possible configuration. It's deeply shocking and profoundly exciting. And I spend a great deal of time in my room pondering the ins and outs of it all. [00:26:52] turns my light on. [00:26:55] And then I gotta say with my best friend Linda. She's she just around the corner at night on the weekend. I'm getting kind of bored with Linda actually because she's still mad about horses and I've obviously I've moved on [00:27:14] going to stay at Linda's as a bit of a trait because it gives me a break from the one activity on permitted to do without parents parental supervision, attend a rabid Christian youth group. [00:27:26] So after a weekend of watching Linda ride her pony. [00:27:32] I tear myself away to find grain. Visiting from the Big Smoke of New Plymouth has taken it upon himself to give my bedroom a jolly good clean up. [00:27:45] Of course she has routed around and the girl guide box and of course she found the Playboy [00:27:54] proofing you're never too old to be a DARPA Grand tells my parents for years they light and making a bleak references while I ride and embarrassment. Thankfully, the orgies already see it on my brain when my crime is unmasked, so I can return to it anytime I want without fear of being found out. [00:28:14] It's an amusing anecdote to share with you tonight. But I wonder now about that merging of six and shame back when I was 13 years old, and how that shaped me. [00:28:26] But two more illuminating magazines were to follow. At 14 I'm curled up in the lazy boy with mom's new copy of the listener when I come across a story about a youthful yodeling Joe from Huntley. I never read anything about lesbians before or as far as I know laid eyes on any either. I reckon the top twins look at 1980s pylons, ultra cool and spunky. [00:28:56] The man walks in and sees what I'm reading. Thank you things to each other, you know, she matters darkly. [00:29:06] By the time the top twins arrived courtesy of the listener, I was a budding feminist. despite there being no books on the subject and the Englewood Public Library, it was simply a kind of knowing. Kissing boys may have been my favorite hobby at the time that men men ran most things in my world. And I didn't like it. I don't recall how I came across broadsheet easy ons monthly feminist magazine, but I asked for and received a subscription for my 16th birthday. I think we can safely assume I was the only subscriber and in gold at the time. broadsheet published my dreadful poetry, but most importantly, it gave me access to a world I could actually relate to. I felt different to my friends. And not just because I was determined not to be a farmer's wife. And then there was a folk. According to my memory, I read it when I was 18. The year I left home for the bright lights of Palmerston North. A couple of weeks back, and Tara Nike for the weekend. I found this book in my parents bookcase, reading backwards over sand. A novel by the New Zealander Stephanie Derek, who co founded the women's press in London during the 70s. Turning its pages I discovered it wasn't finished, published in 1986 when I was 20. mom's name in our old and Gordon race a return on the flyleaf. Until last week, I hadn't read this book for 30 years. But as with playboy, I had retained a single vivid image, despite it being primarily about the course of a heterosexual relationship. What I remembered was a sick scene between two women. Exotic confident courting I even remembered her name and an avowed lesbian, and previously heterosexual Zoe, a young woman from a small New Zealand town in the throes of discovery, self discovery. The six was explicit and consuming and joyous for all three of us. [00:31:22] It was the first time I'd read about women fracking and it blew my mind. [00:31:27] I like to think looking back down the decades that running back was over sand served as a kind of roadmap for me [00:31:35] for what was possible. [00:31:37] Within months, I live in New Zealand for the first time on my own small towns girls self discovery mission, and I met my first female lover. Returning from overseas just before my 21st birthday, I clumped off the plane for a New Plymouth and my Doc Martens, sporting a buzz cash with the Brussels dyed blue black. [00:32:02] You look like [00:32:02] a blow fly his mom [00:32:08] charming. [00:32:10] She then refused to speak to me for three days. [00:32:15] When talks resumed [00:32:18] she told me the bus cash was not the only thing that it shocked her when I got off that plane. It was as if you had lesbian tattooed across your forehead. She said. It wasn't until last week. rerating running backwards over sand that I realized my mother hadn't come up with it a mortal line herself. [00:32:42] She had lifted it straight from this book. [00:32:46] PAGE 319. [00:32:49] To be precise. [00:32:53] Thanks. [00:33:05] Thank you, Susanna. [00:33:08] Speaking number four is Douglas Lloyd Jenkins. Jenkins is a design historian who reintroduced modernism to New Zealand through at home a century of New Zealand new design, he's always got a different point of view, something that scares the whip out of most people. But at least he knows what he's talking about. Please, ladies and gentlemen. [00:33:35] Thank you, everyone. Thanks for being here. And thank you for the invitation. I'm in an interesting position of being, of course, the partner of the festival director. But I was saying to another writer, I've never been invited to a writers conference that he wasn't the festival director of so I'm very pleased to be here. This is about a particular light going on. And I suppose it's about that realization that you can have an opinion and you won't die from it. And the story is set in the English department and Open University in the 1990s. And I can't help but notice that there are two lecturers from that department in the room. So all names have been removed, and you can play a [00:34:16] guessing game. [00:34:18] In the early 1990s, I returned to university to complete a degree that I earlier abandoned. And as part of this, I had to complete some English literature papers. And I remember talking to the health department and digging that I didn't have to do linguistics because I had no intention of carrying on an English such journey anyway, and which is a bit strange. Since I became a writer, I'd come back to finish an abandoned first degree. And then to get a second degree that would allow me to teach the two three at design school, which is where I've been working. I was a little bit older than most students, but not significantly so and I wasn't yet what I later learned was called a cow, a conscientious older woman student. Those people that ask the questions when the teenagers were just like the tutorial to end. In my first round at university, I hadn't been very interested in writing or writing essays but more than the romance and the drinking and the patties. And mostly essays were written the night before they were drew drew jus when the only book you could get from the library on the subject of being published in 1936 because everyone else had got the these out months ago. And part of the reason for this new English department course was my my engineer by the American writer Willa kefir of who might be new, not you nothing. And I'll just read the little blurb off the back and enduring classic my Antony is the unforgettable story of an immigrant woman's life on the hardscrabble Nebraska planes through a gendered and as a fiction it reminiscent of his childhood friend, this spurted Antonia Schumpeter large, uniquely American portrait images, both of the community struggling with unforgiving terrain, and of a woman who amid great hardship stains as a timeless inspiration. Well, I can't there was a rise of what's become known as the periphery novel and live, if you've never read her, the simple, beautiful, lyrical, lovely, lovely novels. And this is your breakthrough novel. And the first appeared in 1915. And I read this today, it was initially credited with revealing to America that the people of the Midwest had interior lives, when American literature was focused on the East Coast was better still living and working in England. And I quite liked that idea that, you know, this is this period with people in the Midwest, and maybe we still think of them as ciphers. Any right. I pretty much gone through school resenting and I still do resent being made to read anything. And in particular, when I was young Christmas, because I had a self to I was a strong reader, and I read a lot. And I didn't like being told to put down what I was reading by a teacher to read what they wanted me to read. And so usually, I just really read enough of the book and even resent winter cold nights just to pass the exam. Am I instantly a change to that? It was this it's a story told retrospectively, of a young orphan boy growing up in Nebraska, and as the observations of a young bohemian girl who's four years older than him called engineer. It's full of difficult emotional territory, and some tragic staff, Anthony's father commit suicide, because of his homesickness, and it's full of rural hardship and misery. But the one thing that excited my imagination is that the book has two stories within stories. And one of these is the story of patron paddle. And I'm going to tell you the story and in my own words, because that explain why a little bit later, do I saw Peter and powerful with two incredibly handsome young Russian boys who grew up together being madly in love. And they, one of them announced one day that he was going to marry and the other one said, Well, you know, yeah, that's okay. I'll be ups man. They were married, he married the school. And on the way home from the wedding, they were riding a sleigh through the snow, and they attacked by wolves. And they throw the luggage overboard, but the pack of wolves is chasing them. And they realize that they are going to be destroyed by the wolf. So they kept the bride over. She's eaten by the wolves, and they ride off to America. Now, the important thing that I only realized today is that's not what happens in the book. It's close, but it's not quite but that's the story I've had in my brain for 25 years. So I'm sticking with the minute [00:38:55] Catholic scholars in the room and I know there is one Sorry about that. [00:39:01] excited me because the novel same to be me seemed to be about katha suggesting your possibilities in life. And as you looked around in the community that you lived, people were doing and thinking differently, and you could you could latch on to them or understand the model. This might not have meant very much except the university Christian lyst popped onto my was handed out that said, discuss the importance of gender and sexuality in my engineer. And I still do not know to what, to this day what answer they're expecting to that question, but there obviously wasn't mine. I decided for the first time in my life that I would write a queer interpretation of the novel. And I've never really done anything like you're done anything like that. It was a literary coming out in a dive into scary territory. So not only did I read the novel twice, I did what was called a close reading, which universities probably still were very fond of close reading, but not very good. This dry read my engineer, I wrote read Oh pioneers, and the strategy Title One of the hours that preceded and the major novels a post dated the professors house and the death come for the Archbishop, which I found a lovely gay couples to Catholic priests who live happily together I would recommend That's a lovely book. I scoured my engineer and I discovered by cross referencing that with the the new L. Elman biography of Oscar Wilde, the town in Nebraska, which novel sit is the very town that wild had passed through on his American house beautiful tour, and he had used it to pose for photographs behind bars and the local jail says lovely reference there. And I even correlate a certain phrases Cathy used against the writings of Freud so I really was going deep. I remember dealing with the kiss between Germany and to me that me saw as the climax than the in describing it as a lifeless pic for the opening overhyped by heterosexual interpreters. I thought I was pretty growing up. Today I read katha scholar saying that katha very really represents a heterosexual relationship with that headings, romance or sexual glow to it. So I don't feel so bad about that symptoms now. And we're talking the early 90s. And Catherine was in a mystery figure she had on her death insisted on the destruction of all her personal papers. And very few critics are writers within exploring what is now pretty widely accepted. The capital was always been we knew had to earn you could only deal with phrases like she was intensely private. She was married and she burned all her private papers. And you had to join the dots together which Lyft you pretty wide open. There was a little help and I found a book called A life saved up by the mighty Lee, which helped and I wrote my essay dropped in the lecturers box. I waited for a few days got on with my life. And it came with a big round circle and a giant and an enormous c minus the very Mac that the drunken party boy used to get when he was in stage run for he says turned out overnight. There are also some pretty weird comments written on it. One seed I suspect capital was never enough to fall for Freud. And poor mining is a dangerous combined he is a dangerous woman. Be careful. And most repeatedly really Christian Matt. I was completely devastated because I felt I'd been serious but not taken seriously. So I decided to take the paper to the convener of the course and asked her to read it. She did and she passed it around some our department people and came back and said to me lovely to my ears. That's an A plus in my class and an A minus from another colleague. She also secretly quietly said you give this to the worst possible personal limited. so fired up I made an appointment to see the lead magnet and when I rang he said Oh yes, I was expecting this call. [00:43:09] So they came for my appointment and I got the early I'm always punctual I sat there until the exact second of the appointment time, I had all the novels or books or the post at max all the references. I knocked on the door, the voice said can as they do come IR to do a trip over the capital spooling headfirst into the room for dropping all my books on the papers and on the floor only to realize that the room was occupied by another student I was made to pick up my papers and go sit outside and script for another 10 minutes. Eventually I got my say my piece and we argued point by point. The only concession I recall making was that was agreed that Peter and Pavel once they did move to Nebraska did share a bead. And I'm in the head proved it by finding the page reference. He agreed to reconsider the piece and it came back to me a fortnight later with another big red circle and the Grade B minus. I didn't go further. But I realized that writing gay hadn't destroyed me It had made me and it's just a little epilogue years later I met Khomeini Lee and by the in a major literary biographer, and all those quotes, I was able to tell her she'd once been described as a dangerous woman. She loved it. 20 years later, the same lecture contacted me via email out of the blue to ask a question about my professional life in the museum. And he started off saying I realized we still disagree about that he say, and I thought 20 years later and it's still backing him how many essays is that guy read in the mind still playing on his mind? And I sit on this I've considered that to be one of the most important moments in my life realized I had a voice of my own I thank you for it. I subsequently wrote every university so seriously, but not always with a career point of view. And I develop the career seemed stability in my own writing with the story here today. As a lecturer, I soon realized I also realized a very important thing that the B minus to perfect grade no student ever complains about one and though it was in that moment, writing about will a character that I learned that I could write as a homosexual or as a gay man, it took me a lot another 20 years to realize it was okay to dislike one Thank you. [00:45:46] Nice we need so we have Paula Bob. Hola is what's known as a great all rounder, a one time cricket player for Otago. The founder of the lonely Caprice and award winning author of the young adult novels, Detroit or promise and outvote men, she's also writing and producing some great television stories. Please, ladies and gentlemen, pull them up. [00:46:17] Thank you very much taller cut off some familiar faces in this audience. So it's very nice to see some of you again, some of you after a long time. And I'm very privileged to be on this panel of such talented and interesting people and lots of lots of times for me so far and what other people have said I remember Susanna coming back in 1981 from England, Evan Lyft, as a [00:46:49] young long haired hippie and [00:46:52] some dress from from Japan do some shopping donate and like that and arriving back with a basket. And a Pakistani Liberation Front scarf and a bear a and walking straight past my or my father walk straight past me didn't know who I was. And I was a bridesmaid and my brother's wedding the very next week, and we all wore hats. I have sort of approach the slightly differently because there was for me no book that turned the light on, there was a light at the end of the book or, but there, there was no book that I remember. And I stood in front of my bookshelves scanning them. Because like other people like Paul, for example, growing up in the South Island in the 1970s 1960s 1970s. There really, really I came out before literature came out really for me. There was no literature that lead me there I went looking for resonance. I went looking for code. And we're all very good at code on way. And I, when I look back at that's actually my childhood reading that always has those resonances for me. And there were two books that I want to talk about briefly quickly. [00:48:17] So the first one is this little book called The Adventures of Pinocchio, you know, and I know what you're thinking. [00:48:28] Is it the nose that grows uncontrollably that makes this queer literature as it that it's a boy made of wood? No. Well, not for me, although you can of course, take what you like from books because it's all about what you put into them, which is one of the reasons I like being a reader. And I also love being a writer. The book is interpreted so differently by everybody. And I'm sure that Carlo karate never expected anyone to follow and Pinocchio what I did. But it's there for took me years to work out why this book I found so compelling, so distracting, actually, so disturbing and moving. And years later, I realized when I read on the cover the marionette, who wanted to be a real boy, I was the girl who wanted to be a real boy. And as a child. Well, there was no gay no queer references really in my life. So queer wasn't part of that it was more about gender. That's how it came out. And a side from Mr. Humphrey. So now you being served in Hudson and halls really there was, there was no reference. I had no words. I had no characters. I had no stories to reflect the scenes I had very early on very early on, of being different. But writers thank god a very good about writing about misfits. And I wanted to be a real boy. I went to bed every night praying that I would wake up a real boy, just like Nokia. Pinocchio didn't actually become a real boy. Mainly because the marionette and I'm assuming you all know the story, I'm not going to tell you. Because the because he was so naughty and selfish. And he went off and he did things like he sold his school book to go to the theater, which sounds like an extremely reasonable thing to do. And he ran off with a friend called, was one vision candle work, but I remembered it's lamp work to Toyland, where they just played together forever, for about five months, I think, until they both started to grow donkey's years. But if it was only a matter of being good and not turning into a donkey, I thought I would have become a real boy. times over the disappointment and a Nokia was wasn't that he kept getting wrong and didn't turn into a real boy. And that he kept by His truth, excuse me, by his true nature getting into more and more impossible scrapes. It wasn't that that was disappointing. The most disappointing thing about this book. And the reason it's niggled me for years and years is that he did become a real boy, Pinocchio, and like all of us who identified with him. He was granted his wish by the blue haired fairy, I said, and he was transformed, but he was transformed into walked and you can see how disappointed I was by what he got transformed into. He got transformed into the most [00:51:57] conformist boring, right? Here's our normative little pissy little boy. [00:52:07] And a little Pinocchio the marionette as they're broken and discarded on the floor on the last page of the Spock. And Pinocchio turned and looked at the marionette for a little while, and he said to himself contentedly, how ridiculous I was when I was a marionette. And how glad I am that I've become a real boy. Star. For years, they told me I didn't want to be that boy, not bad boy. But of course, their books not about sexuality. That's not really about the light being turned on, it's about me searching for the light, really, it's about but it is my the clearest way I had at that time of describing my sense of difference. And that came out as a dissatisfaction with my gender, as probably more about the rules of gender and the 1960s and 70s than gender, per se. But the next wonderful thing that happened was the discovery of my next book. But perhaps the most significant book that cranked up that light in my life as a child, and it was this most derided of books, the famous five and you know who I'm talking about. Because just like friends in the 1990s, or a Harry Potter now, if you had a Facebook page back in 1974, or be which Famous Five are you, [00:53:45] George, dear George, [00:53:47] dear, dear George, I'm just going to read you this is the very first of the box. [00:53:55] And this is when n meets GEORGE We all know about and she was a complete thought. And all she wanted to do was dolls and clean and cook and look after the boys and make a mother happy. And she was sort of slightly below to me and my list of Famous Five character you alive. But when she made her she called her Georgina and she said, George says I am not Georgina. I'm George synthego. I shall only answer if you call me George. I hate being a girl. I won't be I don't like doing the things that girls do. I like doing the things that boys do. I can climb better than any boy and swim further to I can sell a boat as far as any Fisher boy on this coast. You're to call me George. And then I'll speak to you, but I shan't if you don't. Thank God for George. She saw me very

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