Places, not people, inspire author to write

Last updated 05:00 21/03/2011
Annie Proulx
GOOD BOOK: Top-selling author Annie Proulx.

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Top-selling author Annie Proulx has revealed a future work could be partly set in New Zealand – and she is actively researching while in the country on a book tour.

The Shipping News author, who also wrote the story that inspired the movie Brokeback Mountain, let the detail slip to a sellout audience of about 260 at The Dominion Post's Write Stuff event yesterday. The storyline could feature the issue of the sale of kauri trees, but she would not divulge any more details.

Proulx began writing fiction after her children had left home. "I went back to college after doing the things people of my age did; got married, had kids, did all the right things at PTA meetings; the cooking, the relatives, the Thanksgiving turkey."

She studied history and began writing short stories for magazines, which were then published as her first collection.

"The contract had provision for another book, a novel, and that hadn't crossed my mind before; writing a novel I considered to be a rarefied exercise that only men undertook, and it was rather frightening."

She won a Pulitzer Prize for her second novel, The Shipping News, set in the bleak landscape of Newfoundland, which she had visited with a friend, who fled the place terrified after strange encounters with the locals, and a night visit by bears while camping. "He made rather an impassioned argument for leaving, and so we left. And as soon as he was back at his place, I returned. Within a few minutes there I was ... smitten."

Proulx said her latest book, Bird Cloud: A Memoir, was "not a memoir of person, but a memoir of place".

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- The Dominion Post

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