Redmer Yska (Writing for the Page, 2015)
An indelible year.
Redmer writes: 'I began with the tale of Ian Mutton, a saggy private eye living above Oriental Bay in the 1970s. And my application to the IIML MA Fiction stream was miraculously accepted. In the end my writing project would morph into Katherine Mansfield's Wellington childhood, but that's another story. And Emily Perkins was immediately warm and welcoming.
'So what happened? Well, we perched there – some ten of us – in that rickety room halfway down Waiteata hill, little winds insinuating themselves through the wide sea of windows. We wrote. A lot. And talked about it. Endlessly.
And yeah, 2015 was busy, the pressure got to us all but Emily kept us mustered. She was generous, kept flinging down the secrets. And in the end, though this sounds soft, she got us to know we were all writers. An indelible year.'
Bio: Redmer Yska is a Wellington writer and historian. He began his career as a copy boy on NZ Truth, gaining a reporting job after writing a 'shock/horror/probe' story about Auckland punk rockers.
In the 1990s, he produced two books about NZ post-war youth culture: NZ Green, the Story of Marijuana in New Zealand and All Shook Up, the Flash Bodgie and the Rise of the NZ Teenager in the 1950s.
In 2001, Yska explored his identity as a Dutch New Zealander with An Errand Of Mercy, Captain Jacob Eckhoff and the Loss of the Kakanui.
In 2004, Yska was commissioned to write a history of Wellington City: Wellington: Biography of a City. In 2008, he was awarded the National Library Research Fellowship to write a history of Truth.
NZ Books reviewer Spiro Zavos called the resulting work, NZ Truth: the Rise and Fall of the Peoples' Paper, ‘the best book about journalists and journalism in New Zealand I have read’.
Yska was the major recipient of a NZ History Trust Fund Award in 2014, allowing him to write A Strange Beautiful Excitement: Katherine Mansfield's Wellington 1888-1903. The book was the subject of his folio for the MA in Creative Writing at the IIML
Otago University Press: A Strange Beautiful Excitement: Katherine Mansfield's Wellington 1883-1903