8 Sep 2020

Kiwi author Robyn Pearce's family link to US anti-slavery fight

From Nine To Noon, 11:28 am on 8 September 2020

It's not every author who is gifted the idea of a book in a tin trunk full of family letters, but that's what happened to Auckland-based writer Robyn Pearce.

She was given letters about her relations, the Burnetts, who emigrated from America in the early 1800s to settle in Whanganui in 1856.

Through reading the letters and documents, she got an insight to the workings of a middle-class family who were drawn into the fight to abolish slavery in the US - which at the time was an extremely unpopular and dangerous cause.

She tells Kathryn how she switched from writing about time-management, to writing her historical novel: It Happened on Fifth Street - A Tale of Forgotten Heroes.

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Photo: Supplied