Author(s): Stephanie Johnson
Wit, compassion and insight combine in this entertaining novel that explores the politics and human comedy behind writers' festivals and the publishing industry.
Writers' festivals can be hotbeds of literary and romantic intrigue and the Oceania is up there with the best of them. Rookie director Rae McKay, recently returned from New York, fears she has bitten off more than she can chew. Pressure comes not only from local and international writers but also from the prestigious Opus Book Award, which this year is being hosted by the festival. Add to that high-level diplomatic fallout surrounding a dissident Chinese writer, Rae's slowly disintegrating private life and ongoing dramas involving much loved characters of The Writing Class and the result is a wise and witty novel that explores the contemporary phenomenon of the public face of the writer.
Stephanie Johnson is the author of several collections of poetry and of short stories, some plays and adaptations, and many fine novels. The New Zealand Listener commented that 'Stephanie Johnson is a writer of talent and distinction. Over the course of an award-winning career - during which she has written plays, poetry, short stories and novels - she has become a significant presence in the New Zealand literary landscape, a presence cemented and enhanced by her roles as critic and creative writing teacher.'
The Shag Incident won the Montana Deutz Medal for Fiction in 2003, and Belief was shortlisted for the same award. Stephanie has also won the Bruce Mason Playwrights Award and Katherine Mansfield Fellowship, and was the 2001 Literary Fellow at the University of Auckland. Many of her novels have been published in Australia, America and the United Kingdom. She co-founded the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival with Peter Wells in 1999.