Tracy Farr’s novel The Life and Loves of Lena Gaunt was published by Fremantle Fress in July 2013.
Tracy completed the first draft of the manuscript while she was a visiting writer at the Michael King Writers’ Centre in 2009.
The work is a fictional biography about Dame Lena Gaunt – octogenarian, junkie and theremin player. It takes the reader from Malacca to Perth and from 1920s Sydney to New York and London, spanning Lena’s life as a musician.
Tracy was interviewed on National Radio’s Standing Room Only arts programme in October 2013.
Born in Melbourne, the daughter of a record librarian and a TV star, Tracy Farr grew up on the other side of Australia, in Perth. After five years in Canada in the early 1990s, she’s been living and writing in New Zealand since 1996. Her short fiction has been published in New Zealand and Australia in anthologies, literary journals and popular magazines, been broadcast on Radio New Zealand, and been commended and shortlisted for awards in Australia and New Zealand. She lives in Wellington, and when she’s not writing fiction she works as a scientist.
Tracy stayed at the Michael King Writers’ Centre in September 2009 and she wrote of the experience:
“I started the novel in 2008, when I was Emerging Writer-in-Residence at Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers’ Centre in the hills above Perth. Life got very busy in the interim though – as it always does – and I only ever seemed to peck away at the novel, not to spend the concentrated time I needed to really pin it down and complete it. I knew that I needed time in retreat from distractions to get the novel back on track.”
“The front bedroom here is a perfect writing retreat. I watch the world go by outside, while I sit inside and focus in on my work. Half way through my eleven days at Michael King Writers’ Centre, I’ve pulled the manuscript into shape, hooked its different sections together, and I’m well on the way to filling the gaps I need to fill to complete it. I’m delighted – and a little astonished – at how concentrated my work has been here at the Writers’ Centre.”
Tracy blogs (very intermittently) about writing at http://hissingswan.blogspot.com/