Anna Smaill

Anna Smaill is a poet, novelist, and a former violinist. She is the author of Bird Life, A Novel (2023), which was longlisted for the Ockham Award this year, The Chimes (2015), which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and the poetry collection The Violinist in Spring (2005). Born in Auckland, she spent several years in Japan and the United Kingdom and holds a PhD from the University of London.

2024 festival sessions

Bird Life, A Novel

Anna Smaill in conversation with Jane Forrest Waghorn

10am-11am, Sat 27 July, ASB Theatre Marlborough, $25

Anna’s latest novel moves between reality and magical realism, as two women navigate intense personal loss in a wonderfully hyperrealist, slightly eerie, Tokyo. Dinah is a New Zealander, teaching English in Japan, grieving her twin brother who was a gifted, but troubled, musician. Yasuko, who has talked to the natural world since her teens, is grieving her adult son’s move to independence. In this exquisitely written novel, Anna explores the feelings that come with losing a loved one and teases out the tension between our internal and external lives. Don’t miss hearing Anna in conversation with Jane Forrest Waghorn. 

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The Chimes

Anna Smaill in conversation with Tania Miller

10.30-11.30, Sun 28 July, Marlborough Library at Te Kahu o Waipuna, $25

We couldn’t let the chance pass us by - to hear Anna Smaill discuss her 2015 masterpiece The Chimes while she was in town for the 2024 Marlborough Book Festival. The highly original story is set in a futuristic London where a musical instrument, the carillon, casts a mass amnesia over much of the population. The novel explores questions as relevant today as they were in 2015 such as: what happens if we lose the ability to tell stories? And what happens if we answer the question “who are we?” with a single answer? 

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