Rest easy, you’re not in it

But then again . . . maybe

Central Otago Mirror - - CENTRAL FEATURES - By CHE BAKER

Cen­tral Otago is set to be­come the set­ting of a new con­tem­po­rary novel but res­i­dents can rest easy that the lead­ing char­ac­ters will not be based on them. Hen­der­son House artist-in­res­i­dence Owen Jones, known by his nom de plume Owen Mar­shall, has been work­ing on his new novel for the past two months af­ter tak­ing up this year’s res­i­dency at the house. The novel, which is yet to be ti­tled, will be the sec­ond book by Mr Jones set in Cen­tral Otago and is ex­pected to take about a year to com­plete. The first was called Dry­bread and is a story about a cus­tody bat­tle set in an old min­ing town. While no stranger to artist-in­res­i­dence po­si­tions, set­tling into a new work­ing en­vi­ron­ment could take a while. ‘‘There are good days and bad days,’’ Mr Jones said. ‘‘It’s nice to be here and get a sense of the en­vi­ron­ment . . . It will help me, I hope, to have a plau­si­ble set­ting,’’ he said. Mr Jones has writ­ten or edited 25 books, won sev­eral pres­ti­gious awards and has held artist-in­res­i­dence po­si­tions in Dunedin, Nel­son, Can­ter­bury and France. De­tails of what the novel was about were be­ing kept un­der wraps. ‘‘I think with a work in progress if you talk too much about it you can lose the in­spi­ra­tion to write about it,’’ he said. How­ever, ‘‘peo­ple can rest easy that they won’t be in it’’. ‘‘But mind you, who knows,’’ he said. As well as work­ing on some po­etry while he is here, this week Mr Jones will be vis­it­ing Cen­tral Otago high schools to talk to stu­dents about writ­ing sto­ries.

Photo: CHE BAKER 627962904

Keep­ing mum: Hen­der­son House artist-in-res­i­dence Owen Jones.

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