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Paula Morris
Auckland, New Zealand
Recent Activity
I read War & Peace when I was a teenager, but recall almost nothing of it. I dashed through it, finishing it in the waiting room of Accident and Emergency in Auckland Hospital. (I can’t remember why I was there... Continue reading
Posted Dec 14, 2017 at Trendy But Casual
Below is the unedited version of my essay published on the Spinoff in July, with some additions written after its publication. It was commissioned as a review but – inspired by Witi Ihimaera’s discursive approach in his memoir, Māori Boy... Continue reading
Posted Nov 16, 2017 at Trendy But Casual
Tomorrow (Sunday 10th September) I'm going to be interviewing Witi Ihimaera, Tina Makereti and Hemi Kelly at the Going West Festival in Auckland: we're talking about their recent collaborations on Black Marks on The White Page and Sleeps Standing. The... Continue reading
Posted Sep 9, 2017 at Trendy But Casual
This is a slightly expanded version of the eulogy for my father that I gave at the Pākehā (European) funeral on Saturday morning in Auckland, before we drove him to Omaha marae in Leigh for the Māori rituals. We spent... Continue reading
Posted Nov 30, 2016 at Trendy But Casual
On Sunday November 13th, Tom Moody and I took part in an event called People of Letters, part of Wellington’s LitCrawl 2016. (The earthquake would happen just after midnight, when we were back in our sturdy hotel.) On stage we... Continue reading
Posted Nov 19, 2016 at Trendy But Casual
On Saturday night, at the first National Writers’ Forum (organised by the NZSA and held in Auckland), I was a speaker in the debate, arguing whether New Zealand books need special treatment. Te Radar was the moderator. Arguing for: Toby... Continue reading
Posted Sep 20, 2016 at Trendy But Casual
This weekend there’s a symposium going on in Auckland, the city where I live now, about the teaching of creative writing. I’m not attending, for various reasons: it clashes with the Going West Festival; next weekend will be consumed by... Continue reading
Posted Sep 9, 2016 at Trendy But Casual
It's a year since I moved back to New Zealand. People ask me, all the time, if I've come home for good. (I wrote a book about this, a long essay called On Coming Home.) There are many good things... Continue reading
Posted Feb 21, 2016 at Trendy But Casual
On Friday night I attended an awards ceremony at the Stationers’ Hall in London. Earlier that day, I had a makeover at the NARS counter in John Lewis. I told the sales person that I wanted to look decent for... Continue reading
Posted Apr 26, 2015 at Trendy But Casual
Usually, the Scudder Road Circus sends out a lot of Christmas cards – more than a hundred, I’d guess, to family and friends all over the world – and we start writing them in November. I really like getting cards... Continue reading
Posted Dec 22, 2014 at Trendy But Casual
It's a week since we were exiled from Bellagio: my residency ended, and a taxi drove up to the villa, in pouring rain, to carry us away. It felt like exile, sad and irrevocable. Autumn had turned into late autumn,... Continue reading
Posted Nov 18, 2014 at Trendy But Casual
I'm conscious that I haven't posted since my mother's funeral, that fracture in the year that couldn't be mended or ignored. We're in Italy now, at my Bellagio residency - thanks to the Rockefeller Foundation - on the shores of... Continue reading
Posted Oct 29, 2014 at Trendy But Casual
At my mother's funeral on Monday, a number of people spoke - including her dear friend, Gael Collins, who was the celebrant, and three of her old friends Margaret Raby, Karlene Boag and Zelma Brown. My sister and nephew both... Continue reading
Posted Aug 20, 2014 at Trendy But Casual
Fifty years ago this June, my mother arrived in New Zealand. For my father it was a homecoming; for my mother and sister it was an arrival. They sailed on the Oriana from Southampton via Gibraltar, Naples, Port Said, Suez... Continue reading
Posted Aug 15, 2014 at Trendy But Casual
As well as riding bikes everywhere, saying "Hej!" to people (who generally ignore us), and knowing that a TV commercial that begins with the word "slutspurt" is not saucy in any way, but is in fact promoting the final days... Continue reading
Posted Jul 15, 2014 at Trendy But Casual
We're halfway through this residency in Svendborg. Some days I wish we could stay here forever. I've been trying my hand again at Brecht's poems - with the help of Doris Eikhof, much more useful a source on the German... Continue reading
Posted Jul 13, 2014 at Trendy But Casual
We’ve been in Denmark for ten days so far, all but the first night spent staying at Brecht’s house in Svendborg, about 50 KM south of Odense. I have a residency here for a month. All I have to do... Continue reading
Posted Jul 8, 2014 at Trendy But Casual
The COIC = The City of Iowa City. And that's Herky, the mascot, for those of you unfamiliar with Hawkeye lore. It’s Sunday afternoon, and I’m typing this post in the Java House coffee shop in downtown Iowa City –... Continue reading
Posted Jun 15, 2014 at Trendy But Casual
The Guardian’s latest gambit for readers is called “Generation Y Takeover” (or “generation Y takeover” because lower-case is much more on-message). This means they’ve brought in various Gen-Y “digital trainees” to contribute pieces like “Why I’m taking my Spotify list... Continue reading
Posted Mar 21, 2014 at Trendy But Casual
I have just one week left of radiotherapy, after five weeks of being burned and zapped and prodded, and carrying around my green plastic shopping basket of clothes, and being asked to repeat my birth date and address, and being... Continue reading
Posted Feb 19, 2014 at Trendy But Casual
After lunch today (outside: grey sky, gushing river, the peep of a wagtail flitting about): PM: I'm going to work on my book now. TM: Which book? PM: Rome. TM: It wasn't written in a day. PM: [nothing] TM: Why... Continue reading
Posted Feb 6, 2014 at Trendy But Casual
This is a picture taken around 1893. It’s my great-great-grandmother, Rahui Te Kiri, with Ngapeka, the daughter of her first marriage, to Te Roa. My great-grandfather, Kiri Tenetahi Brown (Paraone) was a child of her second marriage, to Tenetahi. In... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2014 at Trendy But Casual
New year, new intentions. Or old intentions (get more work, do more work, earn more money) dressed up in optimistic spring shades, swishing their skirts. Plus some abandoned intentions from last year, of course. My short-story-a-day promise collided with my... Continue reading
Posted Jan 3, 2014 at Trendy But Casual
TMiddy and I are jetsetters. You all know this. Sometimes I wish that this involved things like being invited to someone's villa in Ibiza, or onto someone's yacht anywhere, but it does not. Usually it means that I travel back... Continue reading
Posted Dec 15, 2013 at Trendy But Casual
Despite the short days, I usually look forward to November. November in the UK has good things (no Thanksgiving, a holiday I never really enjoyed - no presents, pumpkin pie) and not-so-good things (random fireworks going off at all hours,... Continue reading
Posted Nov 3, 2013 at Trendy But Casual