I'm excited to be featured in this month's Capital Magazine with an article about my new book: Fishing for Māui, a novel about food, whānau and mental illness. For more information about the book see the link in my bio.
Wellington Libraries have 8 copies of my book and 7 are checked out!
It's a wonderful feeling to see Fishing for Māui in libraries all arpund tge coubtry after so many years writing, re-writing and figuring out how to publish it.
I've had such a great response from those who have read it already - people really relate to the themes of food, whānau and mental illness. If you want to read it you can request it from your local library!
Fishing for Māui is my new novel about food, whānau and mental illness. It is written from the perspectives of five main characters. Elena's is passionate about health, food and nutrition and she's preparing to have her first child. Here is the first section written from her perspective:
I love the early mornings. I don’t think I’ve naturally woken up this early since I was a small child, but the hormones, combined with that sinking instability – low blood sugar from the long stretch of night with no food – leave me wide awake before first light. I lie in the stillness and listen for the first bird calls, bringing in the dawn chorus of another chilly spring morning.
Staying still feels almost unbearable. I push back the duvet, tuck it around the sleeping, snoring Malcolm, and I’m out of bed. I don’t mind the cold; my body is running on overdrive trying to sustain this new life growing inside me. It doesn’t feel real, but at this time of day nothing is.
The world is grey. I look out the kitchen window at the cluster of north-facing trees that obscure the sunlight and protect us from the world. Today something is different. I notice one of the old plum trees is leaning on a strange angle. It's probably been dead for some time. You can't tell in the winter because all deciduous trees look dead, but now that spring has sprung and peridot peppers their grey, licheny branches, it's obvious which ones have been left behind for good.
When a tree falls in a dense forest the noise it makes is minimal. There might be a cracking sound as the trunk breaks away from its roots, or they might have softened to a point not much stronger than bread. It doesn't really fall; it just leans on those around it and slowly decays. Every particle returns to the ecosystem. That's what happens in the suburban forest around our cottage. I didn't hear it in the night; it just leaned forward, like a sigh, surrendering its burden.
Find out more at http://isaritchie.com/
Image credit: Joanie Simon, Unsplash
Experimenting with homemade tumeric latte mix in order to consume more anti-inflammatory spices and also cut down my caffeine intake. This one is mostly tumeric with quite a lot of ginger and cinnamon, and a bit of allspice, black pepper and cardamom - served in heated milk with a tiny bit of honey.
Nz Booklovers interviewed me about my new novel!
Isa Ritchie is a Wellington based writer. She grew up as a Pākehā child in a bicultural family and Māori was her first written language. She has completed a PhD on food sovereignty in Aotearoa and is the fourth generation in her family to achieve a PhD. She is passionate about food, wellbeing and social justice. Since completing her PhD, Isa now works as a social policy advisor in the public service. Isa has written for the Pantograph Punch, the Spinoff, Organic NZ. Fishing for Māui is her second novel.
Isa talks to NZ Booklovers about Fishing for Māui
Tell us a little about Fishing for Māui.
Fishing for Māui is a novel with themes around food, family, and mental illness. It is also about identity, cultural disconnection, and a quest to reconnect with culture through mythology - that is where Māui come in. The story is told from the perspectives of five main characters and four more minor characters, each is on their own journey, and they are all connected by being part of the same whānau. The stories converge around a crisis that one family member goes through.
What inspired you to write this book?
The idea for this book was sparked from an experience that my own family went through where one member had a break down that was unexpected and frightening, but also fascinating. What I found interesting was how everyone had a very different perspective and experience. I couldn't write about my own family because it would violate the privacy of family members, so I spent a long time developing the characters and the story to capture the uniqueness of the situation if it had happened in a different family. Many of the events in the novel are based on real events, but they are happening in a different context. I had also been wanting to write fiction that was related to my food research, so I also drew heavily on this. I love reading novels where I learn things so I wanted to incorporate understandings from my research into the novel.
Full interview available on NZ Booklovers website 💚