Friday, 3 July 2015

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins: Prose Workshop with Helen Hagemann @ the Fremantle Arts Centre, Friday 10th July 1pm-3pm.  Reading an extract from the novel, together with writing exercises and discussions on train journeys.

Venue:  Room 3, Upstairs, North Wing
Cost:  $20 OOTA - $25 NON-OOTA

The Girl on the Train (2015) is a best-selling novel by British author Paula Hawkins. The novel debuted at number one on the The New York Times Fiction Best Sellers of 2015 list (the combined print and e-book list) dated February 1, 2015, and remained in the top position for 13 consecutive weeks as of the list dated April 26, 2015. By early March 2015 the novel had sold over 1 million copies, and 1.5 million by April. Many reviews referred to the book as the next Gone Girl, a popular 2012 novel, which the publishers were happy to highlight.
The film rights have been acquired by Dreamworks for Marc Platt Productions.  

When Paula Hawkins first arrived in London, at 17, she spent a lot of time staring into other people’s houses from the District Line. She’d grown up in Zimbabwe and had never been on public transport until she made her first journey on the overground stretch from Putney Bridge to Earls Court. The experience of winding past back gardens and open windows was ‘completely alien’ but somehow reassuring. ‘There’s an odd sense of connection you have when you go past the same house each day,’ she says. ‘I had just arrived in London and hardly knew anyone. I often wondered: “What would I do if I saw something sinister?” Still, like a lot of overnight successes, Hawkins put in a lot of groundwork. She grew up in suburban Harare, where her father was an economist, and had what she calls an idyllic childhood — ‘tennis courts, swimming pools’ — only realising the inequities of post-colonial Zimbabwe as she got older. She moved to England in search of better opportunities in 1989 and graduated from Oxford with a degree in politics, philosophy and economics. She then spent 15 years as a financial journalist. Her most recent post was at The Times (which entailed a ‘horrific’ Clapham-Wapping commute), but while she liked the atmosphere of the newsroom, she says she was never a ‘natural newshound’. Even now she jokes that research is not her strong point and imagines her police procedural details in the book are all wrong: ‘Sometimes it’s interesting, sometimes I’d just rather make it up.’


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