It’s Wellington, now. Acoustic Engineer Michael Stirling’s old life is gone. He’s on the dating scene, learning te reo Maori, living in an upmarket apartment complex, and visiting his father who has dementia. Wearing his online dating disguise, Michael meets Chrissie, the widowed mother of a young son. Then his beloved adult daughter arrives from Auckland with a new attachment, an artist whose project will push them all towards key moments of risk and revelation.
Dad Art is a vibrant, funny new work from the leading chronicler of contemporary life in Aotearoa. Told with great verve, this novel is about the capacity for surprise and renewal.
Long-listed for Ockham New Zealand Book Awards - Fiction 2017.
Damien Wilkins is the author of ten books, including the novels The Miserables, which won the New Zealand Book Award for fiction in 1994 and Nineteen Widows Under Ash, which was joint runner up for the Deutz Prize for Fiction in the 2001 Montana New Zealand Book Awards. His novel The Fainter was runner-up for the Montana Medal for Fiction in 2007 and was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize. He received a Whiting Writers' Award from the Whiting Foundation, New York, in 1992, and his novels have been long-listed three times on the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. His essay-length book When Famous People Come to Town appeared in 2002. He has also published two books of stories, The Veteran Perils and for everyone concerned, and a book of poems, The Idles. His television scriptwriting includes work on Duggan and The Insiders Guide to Happiness. His first play, Drinking Games, was produced at Circa Theatre in 2008. He holds an MFA from Washington University, has worked in publishing and was a founding editor of Sport. In 2005 the anthology he edited, Great Sporting Moments, won a Montana Book Award. In 2008 Damien was awarded the Katherine Mansfield Fellowship. His sixth novel, Somebody Loves Us All, was written during his time in Menton and published by Victoria University Press in 2009. As a musician and songwriter, in 2011 he released an album of original material ('Group Hug') under the name The Close Readers; followed up by 'New Spirit' in 2012 and 'The Lines Are Open' (2014). His most recent publications as a co-editor are The Best of the Best New Zealand Poems, and The Exercise Book: Creative Writing Exercises from Victoria University's International Institute of Modern Letters. In 2013 Damien received an Arts Foundation Laureate Award His 2014 inaugural lecture, 'No Hugging, Some Learning: Writing and Personal Change', can be viewed online. Max Gate (VUP, 2013), a novel about Thomas Hardy, was a fiction finalist in the 2014 New Zealand Post Book Awards. The book will be published in the UK and US by Aardvark in 2016. In 2015 Damien was a guest writer at the Adelaide Writers' Week and also at WordFest in Calgary and at the Vancouver Writers Festival. His new novel, Dad Art, will be launched at the New Zealand Festival in March 2016. Damien is the Director of the Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University of Wellington.