Steve Braunias couldn’t have devised a more Braunian setting into which to invite 23 hopeful scribblers for a workshop on writing nonfiction. The man specialises in writing “fascinating - and sometimes disturbing – stories … about people … their lives, loves, aspirations, and dark secrets” in small-town New Zealand. The Motueka Municipal Band Hall is so quintessentially Braunain that it’s hard to escape the feeling that it’s all a sly joke which he’s playing at our expense.
The Spartan kitchen is full of slightly despairing notes. “Please check Hot Tap is turned OFF” asks the note curled damply above the sink. The note on the fridge begs “Please. Please Do NOT Turn this fridge off at the wall. Leave fridge on and door closed, or it will start to smell & go mouldy”.
A note taped in the foyer hints at dark internecine rivalry “This blue vacuum cleaner belongs to the Pipe Band Hall” it reads,”NOT BRASS: DO NOT put in the Storeroom. Thank you.”