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Return of the icons

03/12/2012

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I have been painting more famous people on demand. I suppose I’d better get into practice because next year I’m going to be doing my Katherine Mansfield graphic novel at the Michael King Writers’ Centre. You can read an interview of me here. I am freaking out a little at the magnitude of the task. How will I get it right? There are many people out there who are experts and/or academics, but I am neither of those – I’m a fan who can draw.

I’m still figuring out how I will do this book. I just read Mary and Bryan Talbot’s Dotter of her Father’s Eyes, which is a bio of James Joyce’s daughter Lucia, framed by a personal history of Mary’s relationship with her father. The story lines were differentiated through colour – sepia for the past, full colour for the present. Lucia’s story was fascinating – she was a creative woman who was institutionalised because she refused to give up her dancing – or so this book leads me to believe. It makes me grateful that I am living now. And Mary Talbot had a personal connection – her father was an eminent Joyce scholar, and he was obsessive, tyrannical and occasionally charming.

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What’s my personal connection? My paternal grandmother lived down the hill from the Beauchamps in Karori, and I have a collection of Mansfield’s short stories once owned by my maternal grandmother. She played the cello and wrote short stories and so did I – but not nearly so well. I’ve been to her birthplace and I spent summer holidays in Eastbourne, just around from Days Bay, where ‘At the Bay’ was set. I’m fascinated by her, but I’ve only read her stories, not her biographies or her letters and diaries. I will. I am looking forward to it.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 07/12/2012 6:53 pm

    I’m thrilled that you won the residency and VERY excited about the graphic novel. Congratulations Sarah.

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