Apparently Stephanie Johnson first titled this book "A Novel: How to Write a Novel". Which would have been brilliant. As it is, even by a different name, The Writing Class is so clever as a work of fiction, it's almost vulgar. On top of that, it's a pretty cute writer's manual too. So perhaps the more commercial title makes the whole thing a little more accessible.
What's clear is that this novel, like all great art, has a sense of inevitability about it - reading it, you feel that this is a book that had to be born; someone, somewhere, someday just had to write it. And apparently Stephanie Johnson was the woman to do it.
Stephanie Johnson has a depth and breadth of writing experience that spans poetry, short stories, literary and historical fiction, theatre, and radio. There are lots of "ins" to her work; my fandom was secured by her funny, tough short fiction, but yours may equally have been won by quite a different genre. No matter; The Writing Class stands alone as the summit of Johnson's literary experience and prowess, poured forth genrously into delicious, bite-size chapters.
Title: The Writing Class
Author: Stephanie Johnson
ISBN: 9781775532590 (pbk.)
Publisher: Random House New Zealand
- Zoë, Central City Library