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What our Featherston Booktown volunteers are up to during COVID-19 Lock-down: Kate Mead (Trustee)

Updated: Apr 9

How are you spending your time during lock-down?

My days are falling into a pattern - reading, walking our dog Rimu, gardening, practicing the cello, sorting through boxes of books, being online, G&T’s, watching films and sleeping. It feels very dilettante. When walking Rimu I do see a lot of Loco friends, but we stay metres apart and shout out to each other. Tonight, we are having a drink with our neighbours over the fence – they will be on their side and us on our side of the fence and then half an hour later we will move down to the neighbours over the fence at the bottom of the garden. We’ll be doing a neighbourhood pub crawl.

Have you read any good books lately?

I’m reading a challenging series of essays by Rebecca Solnit called The Faraway Nearby. I was introduced to reading essay writing after we read Sophie Cunningham’s book City of Trees for our first book club meeting. (Featherston_Booktown_Book Club). It’s a style I find challenging because the narrative structure that you find in a novel isn’t there – there’s not the compulsion to read on and it’s more subtle.

Have you listened to any good podcasts or music?

I don’t listen to podcasts – it’s a platform I keep meaning to explore but haven’t yet. I do listen to music and I have thoroughly enjoyed watching the NZSO live streams. On the Guardian Culture page recently, there were recommendations about what other world orchestras were doing during Lock-down and I posted on their page and linked them to the NZSO live streams and video clips. Ross and I also do YouTube Frenzy where we take it in turns to play a piece of music to each other and then the other chooses a piece of music to play. It’s a linear exploration of new music that takes place and we try to keep it fresh by playing music we haven’t played before.

If you could have your own Mad Hatters tea party, catered for by the Featherston Booktown Country Tea and Cakes volunteers, which writers would you invite and what would you most like to eat?

At a Mad Hatters tea party, I would love to be a dormouse in the teapot listening to three masters of magical realism – Salman Rushdie, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Umberto Eco. Theirs would be a high-powered conversation and I would want them to comment on what’s going on in the world now and how this would affect their magical realism writing.

We would eat Wendy Campbell’s cheese scones – they’re like pillows or clouds of cheesiness.

Do you have a favourite author or genre at the moment?

Salman Rushdie would be my favourite writer at the moment and his book The Ground Beneath Her Feet, is one of my favourite books. He writes in the magical realism genre, where the story is based in reality and then flows into surrealism and back to reality in totally plausible ways. Magic becomes part of the everyday. As a child I read C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and the rest of the Narnia Series, they’re like magical realism for young readers.

In a perfect world who would you most like to hear speak at the next Featherston Booktown?

Witi Ihimaera!


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