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Telling stories, Jane Westaway

In the Neighbourhood of Fame
Bridget van der Zijpp
Victoria University Press, $30.00,
ISBN 9780864739247

Sleep Sister
Karen Breen
Eunoia Publishing, $30.00,
ISBN 9780994104755

These two new novels appear from what – not long ago – would have been opposite ends of the local fiction-publishing spectrum. One is published by a university press whose literary fiction is widely seen as its crowning glory, and whose novelists and short-story writers – think Knox, Catton, Perkins – often go on to garner glittering prizes both here and overseas. Just as often, these writers and their first works have been nurtured in an International Institute of Modern Letters workshop – a title made grander by rarely being seen unaccompanied by the adjective “prestigious”. Bridget van der Zijpp is one such writer. A couple of years after she emerged from the institute, Victoria University Press published her first novel, Misconduct. This was shortlisted for the regional section of the Commonwealth Writers’ Best First Book Prize and for the 2009 Montana New Zealand Society of Authors Hubert Church Best First Book Award for Fiction. Her latest is In the Neighbourhood of Fame.

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