The Michael King Writers’ Centre is delighted to welcome back novelist and graphic artist Sarah Laing for her second residency at the centre.
This year she holds the six-month The University of Auckland Residency at the Michael King Writers’ Centre. In 2008, she held one of the short residencies for six weeks. While she was here then she worked on her first novel Dead People’s Music (Random House, 2009). Her second novel The Fall of Light (Vintage) has just been released and has received enthusiastic reviews.
Sarah is prodigiously talented as a writer, graphic designer, artist and cartoonist. She has a cartoon in Metro magazine and does a regular cartoon blog called Let Me Be Frank. She has a large number of short stories, poetry, comics and festival appearances to her name. She has won several other prestigious writing and design awards. She also has three young children. Sarah lives in Auckland and will mostly commute to the Michael King Writers’ Centre. With the University residency, she also has an office in the English Department at the University and will be available to meet students of Creative Writing.
While she holds the residency she plans to write a graphic novel about Katherine Mansfield’s life, interspersed with a personal account of her own fascination with Mansfield. A multi-genre project, it will call on her skills as a novelist, cartoonist and graphic designer.
Sarah recently wrote about her residency:
“I love coming to Devonport – it’s so pretty, a seaside town, and it makes me feel like I’m going on a mini holiday every time I step off the ferry. I go for a walk each day, admiring all the houses and gardens, wishing I could pick some of the oranges growing on the trees.
“At the moment it’s exploded into blossom – magnolia, ornamental cherry – and there are legions of tui out-singing each other.”
Sarah hopes to get the first draft of her graphic novel on the life of Katherine Mansfield finished during her residency.
“It’s great getting out of my normal working-from-home environment – I am shocked into thinking of things differently, into being more concentrated in my efforts, less distracted by the housework or the internet.”
And Sarah has lots of great advice for aspiring writers.
“Observe how people talk and act, how things seem on the surface, what’s actually going on underneath. Keep a notebook on hand. Read lots. Think of all of your bad jobs and difficult experiences as future story material. Cultivate resilience.”