18 July, 2016

Eastbourne: an anthology / Mary McCallum, Anne Manchester & Maggie Rainey-Smith - editors

For those who don’t know it, Eastbourne is a small community on the far side of Wellington Harbour where the bush-covered hills come down to the sea & the road continues on to Pencarrow Head at the harbour entrance. The population of 5,000 stretches along a coastline made up of seven main small bays & two smaller ones. Offshore lie two islands, Matiu (Somes) & Makaro (Ward).
This collection of writing by 96 authors conveys a wonderful sense of the place. Poetry, fiction, memoirs & essays are interspersed with lovely line drawings by 20 local artists. I loved the fact that young and previously unpublished authors are included.
Many of the homes have spectacular views of the harbour & a regular ferry service from Days Bay takes you to downtown Wellington in 25 minutes. Katherine Mansfield’s connection with Days Bay is well known. Her story “At the Bay” is featured in this anthology but not in its entirety which I thought was a bit of a shame.
The stories & poems are delightful. I felt a twinge of jealousy that Eastbournites get to live in a seaside community that has a distinct holiday feel to it & ready access to a large city without having to battle the traffic.
One thing that really stood out for me was the wildlife. Kereru, morepork, bellbirds, tuis, whiteyes & penguins are often mentioned along with the occasional seal, dolphin & orca. Wikipedia informs me that the hills around Eastbourne contain some of New Zealand’s rarest & endangered plant species.
What a privilege to have experienced childhood in such a unique environment.

Title: Eastbourne: an anthology
Author: Mary McCallum, Anne Manchester, Maggie Rainey-Smith editors

Recommended by: Claire S, Information Services, Central Library
Claire's reading includes biographies, art ,New Zealand & other interesting bits & pieces.

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