This week in our Conversations from Byron podcast series we delve into the lives and work of two debut authors.
Published at just 19, Vivian Pham talks with Story Factory director and friend, Cath Keenan, about her novel The Coconut Children, which explores love, loss and growing up in Cabramatta in the 1990s. Plus, the 2020 Australian/Vogel’s Literary Award winner Kate Kruimink talks with fellow Vogel shortlisted writer Emily Brugman about her novel A Treacherous Country, which follows a young man’s journey across the wilds of Van Diemen’s Land in 1842. Links to both conversations below.
In this week’s Postcard from Byron, Kate Kruimink takes us to Tasmania’s Huon Valley, to spend time digging for potatoes with her young daughter.
In other news, we recently launched an incredible opportunity in partnership with Create NSW – the Write North Writers’ Group Residency (with Charlotte Wood!) Read on for details.
Edwina and the Festival team
For contentment, dig for potatoes. It’s such a simple joy it feels pretend, like someone kind has gone ahead of you and buried potatoes from the shop like pirate’s treasure for you to find.
For digging to happen, though, there must be an alignment of time, energy, toddler cooperation and knowing where the pitchfork is. Dusk today, it happens. Maybe it’s intentional. Potatoes abhor the light, so it can only be respectful to turn them over to the moon.
My two-year-old has a focused energy about her. We work side by side in the potato patch with pitchfork and little red plastic spade.
I uncover three at once. ‘Look,’ I say, and stop my work so she can catch up.
‘Three tatos!’ she cries, and picks her way across the overturned earth to help. (I’ve heaped a little soil back over them, so she has something to dig.)
‘Good counting,’ I say, and look around for witnesses to her cleverness. There’s no one but the birds.
‘This is fun,’ she says. ‘This is really-really-really fun.’ (She says this often.)
She swings her gaze up and finds the moon, an incandescent potato in the cold sky.
‘Look! Mummy! Moon! Up in the air!’
Later, she will make her father come out as many times as he can tolerate to show him the moon.
‘Can’t reach,’ she says, stretching her hands, grinning.
‘Well, keep trying,’ I say, and boot the pitchfork into the soil again.
About Kate Kruimink
K.M. Kruimink is a writer from southern Tasmania. Her first novel, A Treacherous Country, received the 2020 Australian/Vogel’s Literary Award. You can purchase her book online via The Book Room at Byron here, and read more about it here.