In between memories
Auckland-born novelist James McNeish, 78, is returning to the country having been in Berlin for the past year working on a memoir. McNeish will travel home to New Zealand via Australia where he is a guest at the Melbourne Writers Festival promoting his latest novel, The Crime of Huey Dunstan. McNeish, who while researching the novel Lovelock (about New Zealand runner Jack Lovelock, who won the 15m in the 1936 Berlin Olympics) discovered a story about Werner Seelenbinder, a wrestler and communist who took part in the same games but was also part of a resistance group to the Nazis and was eventually executed, is at the point in his memoir when he is trying to answer the question of why he went off on his folk-music travels. But he’s not sure how far he’ll get. “Two days ago my wife said, ‘The Seelenbinder story is more important than your memoir and more urgent; you should do it first.’” McNeish lives in Wellington.