Meet The Author: Hannah Kent

A few Friday nights ago I was lucky enough to attend one of Hannah Kent’s stops on her book tour for The Good People. Her first novel, Burial Rites, was a huge success and in my opinion, an incredibly enjoyable read. Her second novel, The Good People, is no exception, in fact I may slightly prefer it. With Adelaide being her hometown I was especially excited to hear her speak and gain some insights that she had to share with us. Here are ten thoughts I had during the night:

 

  1. Wow, Hannah is an incredibly eloquent speaker, such a pleasure to listen too.
  2. She seems really lovely too, I may have a bit of a girl crush.
  3. Listening to her speak about her researching process is fascinating. It is clear from her notes and acknowledgements that there was quite a large amount of research conducted to write the stories but hearing to hear her speak of it is another thing. Months and months of research into every aspect of life back in those days. What clothes were made of, what they ate, all the legends behind the fairy stories. I could go on forever but this dedication to the background research shows in the way the book reads and how immersed you become in the story. So much attention to detail, the story almost tells itself. I absolutely love her way of completely transporting you to another time and place.
  4. How Hannah found this story was fascinating! While researching Burial Rites the newspaper from Iceland had a very small article mentioning the story of Nance Roache back in Ireland. Just a few lines was enough to capture her attention and to set in motion this incredible second novel. It is amazing how chance can work like that!? Especially to read it now as a fully developed concept.
  5. I just love her dedication to truth in her story. That Hannah was in Ireland sitting there, trawling through old newspapers from back in the day just to find out more information is impressive. What impresses me is that her novels tell the story as truthfully as possible, only adding embellishments and colour where her research fails her. The Good People is much more based in fiction than Burial Rites, purely as there was only a small news article to go by.
  6. Hannah has mentioned a few times her childhood reading included a lot of Enid Blyton’s work. Her stories were a huge part of my childhood too and I can still remember the hours spent reading The Folk of the Faraway Tree and The Wishing Chair. I can see how these childhood loves helped draw her attention to a society steeped in superstition surrounding Folklore to create the adult version of a fairy story.
  7. Question time with Hannah. Okay, I want to ask if she has her next story ready to go yet. Is it too lame to ask that?
  8. Yessssss, someone else asked. Six or seven different ideas for the future. I’m intrigued already. Bring on the next one!
  9. What made my night: an audience member asked her if she believed in fairies. Her answer: she doesn’t not believe in fairies. I love this answer! There are too many unexplained occurrences in this world to not believe in the occult or to put people down that have different beliefs. I may be a person of science but I can’t begin to explain everything in the world and I love the openness and the willingness to admit that cannot explain it all.
  10. Well, that was a lovely night, topped off by having my book signed. Is it wine and cheese time yet? (Spoiler alert: it was, and it was delicious!).

 

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