Sharron Came


Publication Date:
September 2022

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There’s Di, waking up in hospital, feeling scrubbed raw. Ritchie and Willy, toasting their dead friend with ginger beer. Kiri, frantically searching for a lost child. Ember Eyes, with his goat and his too-powerful gun. Rachel clambering up a cliff face. Ellen and her friends bashing through the bush.

Loosely centred on three generations of the Carlton family and told with restrained lyricism, Peninsula is a set of ten interwoven stories about the lives of an ordinary rural Northland farming community over decades of change. It’s a community populated with stoic, fierce characters who brim with feeling, embroiled in rich and complex relationships with the land, and with one another. Though it is full of the familiar – peacocks, thistles, tramping huts – it is also a place of dreaming.

Peninsula, by newcomer Sharron Came, won the 2021 Adam Foundation Prize and introduces a new voice in New Zealand fiction.

'Peninsula achieves that incredible thing that great storytelling can do – it creates myth and art about a place and a time, creating layers in our reality, giving it murkier and more meaningful depths.' —Josie Shapiro, Kete Books

‘This stunning book casts an unusual spell. At first blush it all seems as New Zealandy as sheep dogs, septic tanks and muting the TV when visitors arrive. Then you notice the creeping poetry of lives coping with change and how this vividly imagined world of tramping huts, bush runs and squash clubs contains other worlds. Sharron Came is writing from deep intimacy with the rural community she summons on the page. Her terse, funny and hugely poignant stories restore a sense of possibility to the future without turning away from its terrors.’ —Damien Wilkins

‘This superbly crafted collection reaches deep into the heart of family, community and place. It is a measure of Sharron Came’s skill that the rural Northland landscape and the complex, deeply human characters co-exist in perfect equilibrium. I loved this book.’ —Laurence Fearnley

'I could literally smell the soil on my hands, silage in the air, and dust from the road in each of these captivating stories. Peninsula provides glimpses into a rural community as it expands and contracts amidst change. Came is skilled at the "less is more" analogy, and the collection and characters contained within leaves a door cast wide open for further exploration.' —Iona Winter, Landfall Review Online

'I haven’t read a book that captures the people, conversations, and lives of rural New Zealanders as well as this. . . . Peninsula is a beautifully written book rich in detail and full of complex, multidimensional characters that will stay with you.' —Fiona Robinson, Regional News

Sharron Came works as an energy analyst in Wellington. She has an MA in Creative Writing from the International Institute of Modern Letters, winning the 2021 Adam Foundation Prize for Peninsula, which is her first book.

Cover painting: Sonja Drake, Winter Walking with Charlie, courtesy of the artist and Railway St. Studios

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