What I’m Reading: Kathleen Drumm, Head of Auckland Writers’ Festival

Kathleen Drumm, general manager of the Auckland Writers Festival.


Kathleen Drumm, general manager of the Auckland Writers Festival.

Kathleen Drumm is the new Managing Director of the Auckland Writers Festival, taking place May 16-23, 2023 at Tāmaki Makaurau.

I have a stack of books next to the bed – and now (with my new job) I can read them in my free time without feeling guilty. Lawns can wait.

Stanley Tucci is an actor and filmmaker – and a witty and engaging writer. In TASTE: My Life Through Food, his childhood memories are punctuated with rich Italian flavors (and recipes). His homemade school sandwiches were filled with delicious leftovers like eggplant parmigiana, which young Stan would occasionally swap with his friend who ate marshmallows on white bread every day in elementary school. (Today, that would be considered a form of child abuse.)”

* How I write: Poet Omar Sakr is one of the writers participating in the Aotearoa Arts Festival in New Zealand
* What I read: Rebecca K Reilly
* How do you write a good short story? “Make every one of these words count”

Lucy Mackintosh’s spectacular book, Shifting Grounds: Deep Histories of Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, offers rich accounts of past lives and places, and makes me want to get out and explore the neighborhood.

“Don’t bother” and “speak in a normal voice; you won’t make your meaning clearer by shouting” (useful advice today) are excerpts from Instructions for British Servicemen in Germany 1944 – a small volume published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to maintain order in its troops. It’s a fascinating insight into the pressures of post-war occupation, perfectly capturing a moment in time.

Nikki Macdonald / Stuff

Is it better to hide certain secrets? Writer Charity Norman talks about her new book, Remember Me.

The Marriage Portrait of Maggie O’Farrell is based on the true story of the Duchess of Ferrara, who died mysteriously at the age of 16. In the novel, the Duchess is an observant, almost wild child (disguising herself as a well-mannered court lady) who watches, draws, and knows that her husband is going to kill her. I found the novel equally captivating and shocking (in its flippant brutality).

I read The Guardian (and Things) every morning. My favorite magazines are Harvard Business Review, NZ Listener and Frankie. They have all come to my rescue over the years with ideas, inspiration and strategies for life in general.

Now, about those lawns…