Historian Karin Speedy’s writing on power struggles and colonialism becomes personal when she investigates her own family stories. Her memoir reminds us that “…fascinatingly, unknowingly, sometimes spookily, we can find ourselves on paths once trodden by our forebears”.
Genre: Memoir, history, literary nonfiction
Publication date: 17 June 2022
ISBN: 978-0-473-63689-0 (Softcover POD), distributed by IngramSpark and Amazon; ISBN: 978-0-473-63690-6 (Epub), distributed by Draft2Digital; ISBN: 978-0-473-63691-3 (Kindle), distributed by Amazon
The ebook and the Kindle version by Amazon are available for pre-order now!
There comes a point in your life, probably coinciding with the imminent arrival of a milestone birthday or after an annus horribilis (or hell, why not both?), when you feel compelled to look at your life, look at your past and present, and ask how you got to where you are now. Some of us find that such a moment of reflection and introspection (and facing up to your truths and demons) demands to be explored through writing. Last year, at forty-nine and with the big five-o looming large in my mind, in the midst of the pandemic and lockdowns, the setting up of a business, and the writing of a large Marsden Fund grant, I felt that the time was right to put my story to paper. I have always enjoyed a challenge!
Foundations is the end result (or is it the beginning?). It is my genre-crossing memoir/literary nonfiction novel, the proverbial book that we all have inside us, I suppose. It is quintessentially me, my story, yet also the stories of so many others, spread across time and place. Foundations is dark, disturbing at times, but also entertaining, moving and laugh out loud funny in parts. A reviewer enjoyed “the warmth and humour of [my] writing, and the sense of this narrator trying to figure out the world… there is a strong voice, and the narrator has an interesting mind and is good company“.
This is my fifth book and my first self-published effort. While I was hesitant to take the self-publishing route at first, the experience has been brilliant and enjoyable and I have learned a lot in a very short time. As my bestie said, “This is your book and you should be the one making all the decisions. Of all the books you have written, this is the one that really needs to be self-published”. And, of course, she was right.
Here is the synopsis...
Every day we face decisions, crossroads that can take us on wildly different rides. Our lives are never certain, no matter how well we plan. Although, fascinatingly, unknowingly, sometimes spookily, we can find ourselves on paths once trodden by our forebears…
In Foundations, Karin Speedy takes us on a whirlwind journey through time and space as she navigates intersecting personal, local, family and global histories, stories that help her reckon with who she is and where she stands in this complicated (post)colonial world. If colonialism, slavery, violence and heartbreak feature heavily in her memoir so too do friendship, love, poetry, books, music, laughter and resistance. Warm, funny, quirky yet also confronting and, at times, shockingly brutal, her childhood and young adult memories bring to life the scenes and sounds of 70s, 80s and 90s New Zealand. At university, Karin’s unquenchable thirst for knowledge and social justice see her embark on her first research project, a decolonial study of Louisiana Creole, research that cements her future as an anti-racist, activist scholar. Forever questioning the master narratives, digging deeper and peeling back layers to expose what lies hidden beneath and behind, Karin reminds us that history and trauma are all around us, ingrained in our lives, etched into our landscapes and at the very foundations of our cities and infrastructure. When she begins to examine her own family stories, rooted in colonisation and working-class struggle and embedded in the national histories of Aotearoa and Australia, she uncovers astonishing inter-generational palimpsests and starts to grasp the importance of listening to her ghosts.
Author: Historian, academic, writer, literary scholar, linguist, poet and literary translator, Karin Speedy has published extensively on transnational, colonial and anti-colonial Pacific and Francophone history and literature, as well as Creole languages, slavery and forced labour and African and Indian Ocean diasporas in the Pacific. In addition to her scholarly writing, she is a published writer of creative histories, particularly in the form of poetry. ‘Foundations’ is her first memoir/literary nonfiction novel. Karin is a Visiting Research Fellow at The University of Adelaide and lives in Wellington, New Zealand.
I will update this post with links for purchase once Foundations has been published.