H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald has being doing the business - literary awards, bestseller lists, and LOTS of reader love.
We asked her four quick questions ahead of her visit to Christchurch next Tuesday 12 May, as part of WORD Christchurch's Autumn Season (get your tickets now!)
What are you looking forward to doing in Christchurch?
This is my first time in New Zealand, so I’ll probably behave like an overexcited small child rushing around trying to see everything. I’m delighted to have the opportunity to appear with Steve Braunias at the evening event, and can’t wait to meet people and talk with them afterwards. But naturally I want to see the city too. Visit the museum, walk the streets. And of course, there’re the birds! I’m a total bird geek, so I’ll be bringing my field guide, and if there’s time I’ll probably go off to a local forest or reserve and have a wander about with my binoculars, see what I can see.
What do you think about libraries?
They’re so important! So many are closing in the UK and it’s a very depressing state of affairs. I live near Cambridge and am lucky to have access to one of the great research libraries of the world. The library in my local town is very different: packed with novels, dvds, audiobooks, people piecing together jigsaws on tables, children sitting and reading on mats, and noticeboards full of local events. It’s a proper community hub, and I love it.
What would be your "desert island book"?
The Complete Works of Shakespeare. Not an original choice, but, you know. It has to be.
Share a surprising fact about yourself.
I’m incredibly allergic to mammals. Pretty much all of them: dogs, cats, foxes, deer, even rabbits and hares. They’re my kryptonite. Horses are the worst. I live near Newmarket, the home of British horseracing, and quite often I’ll start sneezing uncontrollably in the supermarket because some jockey or other has walked past. I’d have been a very sickly person indeed if we still used horses as regular transport!
More about Helen Macdonald
- Listen to Helen talking about Raptor Rapture with Kim Hill on Saturday morning 2 May 2015
- "How I Flew to the Hawk to Escape a Searing Grief."--Helen Macdonald on "H Is for Hawk" by Erin Kodicek, Omnivoracious, 29 April 2015
- Helen Macdonald's H is for Hawk is a lesson in grief Linda Morris, Sydney Morning Herald, 2 April 2015
- The film rights to H is for Hawk have been optioned by Lena Headey , star of Game of Thrones (she's Cersei Lannister).
WORD Christchurch recommends:
- The Living Beauty of Wicken Fen by Helen Macdonald, in the New York Times magazine, 7 April 2015.
- Helen Macdonald on the Guardian Books podcast.
- Helen Macdonald interviewed on chat show Skavlan, opens a new window, (with interjections from Ricky Gervais).