Joy Cowley tells stories at Book Council event.

About thirty people gathered last night at Cafe L’affare to listen to Joy Cowley read from her new memoir “Navigation”, and talk with Lynn Freeman about her life and writing.

“Children don’t dissemble”, she says, and because of this, they are the toughest audience. Cowley shared her experience of testing a story on a class, one of whom told her frankly, “It’s boring”. But, she says, if a plot has you (as a writer) hooked and excited, it’s likely there might be something in it.

The perils of fame were also mentioned – convinced a letter informing her she had been “adopted as a daughter of Mark Twain” was a hoax, she wrote a reply suggesting she would have preferred to be his mistress… but the Mark Twain Society was genuine!

Navigation” is full of such gems, and Cowley’s other new book, “Writing From the Heart“, published by Storylines, addresses how to write stories children will want to read, in a very practical way.

The next meet the author event planned is with Lloyd Jones, 6pm, Cafe L’affare, 11th November. Tickets available from the New Zealand Book Council.

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