Our school puts on a great little event called Word Con at the end of each semester. We get to listen to a range of presenters on a range of topics, most of which are of interest. On the final day, Luke Horton presented a discussion with Jennifer Down, a young Melbourne published author. Her soft, self-effacing manner made her only more like-able.Jennifer spoke of her process, the importance of entering literary prizes and her experiences as a translator. It was the discussion of particularity versus universality that I found most interesting. Her novel, ‘Our Magic Hour’, is set in Melbourne and as a reader I love reading about my own town. I’m very much looking forward to reading her book.
I do also, however, relish reading about other locations whether they be real or imagined. To anchor a story in a sense of place without overwhelming with unnecessary detail, is a fine wire to tread. I’ve already placed a hold on her novel at my local library and will seek out her collected short stories, Pulse Points, after that.
It may be a throw away line from her that was my favourite though – real life doesn’t give us all the answers so why should fiction.