The new writers in this powerful collection were selected from the 2010 First Chapters - Ngā Wāhangā Tuatahi programme, which is based in the libraries of Manukau and Papakura (in the southern part of Auckland). The programme encourages beginning writers to tell their own stories in their own way. All had to take a journey back to earlier years, sometimes into the mists of time to shed light on events that had shaped them or their families and whanau. These stories are personal odysseys, many about overcoming tremendous odds. Some are poignant and sad but all celebrate special people and places.
You can read Deborah’s Introduction to the book here which includes an overview of her teaching method and a taste of the brilliant life stories she encountered while facilitating the workshops and editing the book. You can also read a story from the collection here ‘From Mother to Child: How Dementia Stole My Mother’ by writer and former neurodevelopmental paediatrician Joan Hugo Burley.
"...I scanned the faces of all thirty new writers and caught in their expressions a mix of expectancy, uncertainty, and apprehension. The anxiety in the atmosphere had a pitch I could hear and feel. Then I asked people to write down what had brought them to the First Chapters programme. There was an exhalation of breath and the room settled into silence. People knew what to write."..