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The Wandering Nature of Us Girls launches at WORD festival

30 August 2022

Acclaimed poet and short short story writer Frankie McMillan launches her latest extraordinary, genre-defying collection, The Wandering Nature of Us Girls, at the WORD festival on Wednesday (31 August).


Frankie McMillan is the author of five books of poetry and short fiction. Her latest book, The Wandering Nature of Us Girls, is published by Canterbury University Press.

McMillan balances transgression and wit, presenting a cast of unmoored characters with her signature warmth and compassion, through a series of small stories.

Bursts of vivid, poetic writing blur the line between reality and surrealism as she explores all kinds of wandering: children wander, adults drift into unexpected relationships, and footholds can never be certain.

Water meanders like a river in the collection, a powerful presence linking disparate lives: the girls raised by swans swim towards what they hope is a better future in the West, a grandmother swims naked in an isolated bush lake, Magdalene’s behaviour on the fishing boat is under scrutiny by her sisters, while the taniwha Kaiwhakaruaki looms over lovers hiding under a wooden dinghy on the beach.

In settings as unexpected as a European post-war circus or an inflatable pool in suburban Aotearoa, the enduring bonds of family, real or imagined, take centre stage. Frankie McMillan has given us a collection that is poignant, revelatory, and bittersweet.

The Wandering Nature of Us Girls will be launched at Scorpio Books as part of the WORD festival on Wednesday 31 August at 6pm. All welcome – register to attend the free event through the WORD festival here. McMillan also appears at the WORD festival Foundation Pop-Up Festival on 3 September as part of an impressive line-up of some 40 speakers – catch McMillan at 5.45pm to 6.25pm with Luke Elworthy, Chloe Lane and Nick Bollinger. More information is here.

The Wandering Nature of Us Girls is published by Canterbury University Press with the support of Creative New Zealand. RRP $29.99, available online and at bookshops.

About the author

Frankie McMillan is the author of five books of poetry and short fiction. Her last collection, The Father of Octopus Wrestling, was listed by The Spinoff as one of the 10 best New Zealand fiction books of 2019 and shortlisted for the NZSA Heritage Book Awards, and her 2016 collection, My Mother and the Hungarians, was longlisted for the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. She has twice won the New Zealand Flash Fiction Day competition and has been the recipient of numer­ous awards and residencies, including the NZSA Peter and Dianne Beatson Fellowship (2019), the Michael King writing residency at the University of Auckland (2017), and the Ursula Bethell residency in creative writing at the University of Canterbury (2014). McMillan divides her time between Ōtautahi Christchurch and Mohua Golden Bay.

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