2012: Christchurch Writers Festival
Sessions recorded at Writers and Readers Festivals in New Zealand
In conversation with Ed Butler, Chris Turney, Rebecca Priestley and Veronika Meduna explore their different perspectives on writing about Antarctica.
Antarctic writer Chris Turney talks to Veronika Meduna about some of the less well-known aspects of Antarctic exploration.
The UK novelist Chris Cleave talks about his fiction with Kate de Goldi.
Ruth Todd explores the use of family history with Miriam Frank and Mireille Juchau.
John Boyne, the writer of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, talks to Lynn Freeman.
Professor Chris Turney is a British geologist who has recently been awarded a prestigious Australian Research Laureate Fellowship with the University of New South Wales.
He is the author of the popular science books Bones, Rocks and Stars: The Science of When Things Happened and Ice, Mud and Blood: Lessons From Climates Past, as well as numerous scientific papers and magazine articles. His latest book is 1912:the Year the World Discovered Antarctica.
Rebecca Priestley is an award-winning science writer and science historian who writes a weekly science column for the Listener.
She has curated exhibitions on New Zealand’s science history for the Royal Society of New Zealand and, with Veronika Meduna, for the National Library of New Zealand. In 2009 she won the Royal Society of New Zealand Science Book Prize for her edited collection The Awa Book of New Zealand Science.
Rebecca travelled to Antarctica in December 2011. Her anthology of Antarctic science will be published by Awa press in 2013. Her most recent book is Mad on Radium – New Zealand in the Atomic Age.
Veronika Meduna trained and worked as a scientist, working in the field of soil microbiology, before becoming a science journalist.
A presenter and producer on Radio New Zealand’s Our Changing World programme, she has told hundreds of science stories, as well as writing for the Listener, New Zealand Geographic and Te Ara The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. In 2006 she co-curated an exhibition for the National Library of New Zealand about the history of science in New Zealand, which was subsequently published as Atoms, Dinosaurs and DNA: 68 Great New Zealand Scientists by Random House (2008), winning the Elsie Locke Award for non-fiction at the 2009 LIANZA awards. She has just published Science on Ice: Discovering the Secrets of Antarctica (2012), based in part on two visits she made to Antarctica in 2001 and 2006.
Veronika’s work has earned her several awards and grants, including an appointment as Chevening David Low Fellow at Green College, Oxford University, in 2002. She lives in Wellington, New Zealand.
Chris Cleave is 38 and lives in London with his wife and three children.
His debut novel Incendiary won a 2006 Somerset Maugham Award, was shortlisted for the 2006 Commonwealth Writers Prize, and won the United States Book-of-the-Month Club’s First Fiction award 2005.
The Other Hand is his second novel and is a Sunday Times bestseller and New York Times number 1 bestseller. It was shortlisted for the Costa Novel Awards. Publishers Weekly has described his third novel, Gold, published in 2012 and set in the world of Olympic speed cycling, as ‘thrillingly written and emotionally rewarding’.
Chris Cleave has been a barman, a long-distance sailor and teacher of marine navigation, an internet pioneer and a journalist.
Miriam Frank was born in Barcelona, at the time of the Spanish Civil War, of a German Jewish mother who fled Germany when Hitler rose to power, and a father from a Lithuanian Jewish family that emigrated to New York at the turn of the 20th century.
Miriam spent her early years in Vichy France under German occupation, escaped to Mexico where she received her primary school education, and finally joined another branch of her family, her aunt Carlotta Munz and cousins Eve and Peter Munz, who had fled Nazi Europe to the safe haven of Christchurch, New Zealand. Here Miriam attended Christchurch Girls High School, followed by Otago Medical School.
After graduating, she obtained the Fellowship in Anaesthesia in the U.K. and was appointed Senior Lecturer and Consultant at the Royal London Hospital. Miriam’s special interest and expertise was in obstetric anaesthesia and pain management; she trained other anaesthetists, contributed chapters to medical textbooks, and had numerous research articles published in British and international journals.
Concurrent with her medical pursuits, she started translating literary works by Latin American and Spanish authors, which along with her literary articles and original writing were published by British, European and Latin American presses and newspapers and reviewed in the Times Literary Supplement.
She married a painter, helped him establish a school in Italy – the sequel to Oscar Kokoschka’s Schule des Sehens, at which he had been chief assistant – and has two daughters.
Mirielle Juchau is a Sydney-based writer of novels, short fiction, essays, scripts and reviews. Her most recent novel is Burning In, which was published in France as Le Révélateur in 2012 and is forthcoming in Croatia.
Burning In was shortlisted for the 2008 Prime Minister’s Literary Award, the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, the Age Book of the Year Award and the Nita B. Kibble Award. Mireille’s first novel Machines for Feeling was shortlisted for the 1999 Vogel/Australian Literary Award.
Mireille’s short fiction, plays, art reviews and essays have appeared internationally and in Australia. She has a PhD in writing and literature and teaches at universities and in the community.
John Boyne was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1971, and studied English Literature at Trinity College, Dublin, and creative writing at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, where he was awarded the Curtis Brown prize.
His early writing consisted mostly of short stories, the first of which, The Entertainments Jar, was shortlisted for the Hennessy Literary Award in Ireland. In total, Boyne has published over 70 short stories.
His debut novel, The Boy in Striped Pajamas, was made into an award-winning Miramax film. The novel itself won two Irish Book Awards, the Bisto Book of the Year, and was shortlisted or won a host of international awards. Amongst other accolades, it spent more than 80 weeks at No.1 in Ireland, topped the New York Times Bestseller List, and was the bestselling book in Spain in both 2007 and 2008. Worldwide, it has sold more than 5 million copies.
Boyne’s eighth novel, Noah Barleywater Runs Away, a book for younger readers, was published in October 2010 and reached No.1 on the Irish Bestseller Chart. It was also shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards Children’s Book of the Year. His most recent novel, The Absolutist, was published in 2011.
A new children’s book, The Terrible Thing that Happened to Barnaby Brocket, was be published in August 2012.