Nominated by:

Auckland Libraries, New Zealand

Publisher of nominated edition:

Vintage, New Zealand

The Open World

Stephanie Johnson      

2014 Longlist

A fascinating novel about secrets, finding a home and early colonial New Zealand.
‘I miss my smiling son more than any other man before or since.’
London 1866. Elizabeth Smith is struggling to survive when she hears that her former New Zealand employers, Judge and Lady Martin, are returning to England. Accompanied by her dear friend, the lunatic Reverend Cotton, she makes a pilgrimage to settle old scores. Elizabeth is also accompanied by liberal doses of opiates and two small ghosts, walking by her side, whispering, murmuring, calling her.
Award-winning writer Stephanie Johnson lovingly peoples a landscape of the past. Mid-century New Zealand, London and the spa town of Buxton are vividly evoked in a novel about motherhood, earliest colonial days, pharmacology and poreirewa – the yearning for absent loved ones.

(From Publisher)

About the Author

Stephanie Johnson is the author of several collections of poetry and of short stories, some plays and adaptations, and many fine novels. The New Zealand Listener commented that ‘Stephanie Johnson is a writer of talent and distinction. Over the course of an award-winning career — during which she has written plays, poetry, short stories and novels — she has become a significant presence in the New Zealand literary landscape, a presence cemented and enhanced by her roles as critic and creative writing teacher.’ The Shag Incident won the Montana Deutz Medal for Fiction in 2003, and Belief was shortlisted for the same award. Stephanie has also won the Bruce Mason Playwrights Award and Katherine Mansfield Fellowship, and was the 2001 Literary Fellow at the University of Auckland. Many of her novels have been published in Australia, America and the United Kingdom. She co-founded the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival with Peter Wells in 1999 and is a trustee of the festival.

Librarian’s Comments

The Open World is an intensely colourful and very evocative read which really invites the reader’s interest in the people and places of long ago. It justaposes the old and the new worlds in a very real way which is still significant today.

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