March 2014: Launch, Race Relations Day, Friends

We’ve launched The Curioseum. It was a large project – 22 writers, a big editing job, and a great project to be involved with. At the same time as the launch for the book, there was a sleepover for kids in the museum. The sleepover was based on the idea of kids writing their own stories about weird objects in the museum – about half the kids were keen to write, and half of them were excited out of their minds. I would have been too, if I was 12 and could spend a night in a big museum! I love the idea of kids making up their own stories about weird stuff in a museum – as well as finding out the facts of it – and I hope the idea of The Curioseum takes off in museums all over the place.

It’s pretty hard reading your own work about immigrants alongside people who’ve lived through it all as refugees. It’s a reminder of a lot of things. We celebrated Race Relations Day at the Wellington Public Library with Samson Sahele, La Nan, Selia Kassa and I reading work. Samson, as well as being a poet, constantly encourages young ex-refugees like to write about their experiences.

It’s been a really busy few months. Feels like one book after another rolling out. I took the opportunity of talking to Friends of Te Papa to recap several projects – The Score, Abdel’s Favourites, The Curioseum – but also to talk particularly about working on Throne of Emperors, the historical Chinese exhibition on at Te Papa. Also to do a little demonstration of how you can take a piece of very ordinary text and transform it into really attention-grabbing read-at-a-glance text without changing the content. It’s the perfect answer to mis-placed ideas about dumbing-down.