‘For several years after our return, I had the eerie feeling that my Sydney life continued, that I had somehow split in half and lived two lives at once; I had only to somehow find the money for a plane fare and I could slip back inside that other skin.’
For novelist Stephanie Johnson, her relationship with Australia and Australians has been a complex one. She has lived there for periods of her life, and several of her books, including her first, a collection of short stories, have been published in Australia. For Johnson the longing to return has waxed and waned. ‘Why don’t I live there?’ she often asks herself. Yet she is a sixth-generation New Zealander.
In this BWB Text Johnson explores her elusive and ambivalent feelings about the sunburnt country and in so doing casts fascinating light on some of the formative influences that have shaped the work of this award-winning New Zealand writer.
What are BWB Texts?
BWB Texts are short books on big subjects by great New Zealand writers. Commissioned as short digital-first works, BWB Texts unlock diverse stories, insights and analysis from the best of our past, present and future New Zealand writing.
'I enjoyed the honesty of her writing. Her research added an historical element and the timing of the book is right. We are only now brave enough to look at our bigger, richer, stronger neighbour and ask if we are the same or we are different. I can see some robust discussion in a book group arising from this slim volume.' 'Book Review: Playing for Both Sides: Love Across the Tasman', Kathy Watson, Booksellers NZ Blog, 26 September 2016
'Playing for Both Sides is a fresh and intimate addition to the BWB literary memoir collection.' Graham Beattie, Beattie's Book Blog, 18 August 2016