On her own turf2 min readReading Time: < 1 minute
The new novel by well-known multimedia artist and local, Coco Solid (aka Jessica Hansell), has landed – and it’s already creating an impression. Hansell is co-director of Onehunga’s Wheke Fortress at Tin Tacks Corner; an inclusive art space providing an ultramodern gallery and meeting space for experimental artists. She grew up in Māngere Bridge and attended Manukau Intermediate (now Royal Oak Intermediate).
Coco Solid started writing How To Loiter In A Turf War during her time as the Fulbright Creative New Zealand Pacific writer in residence at the University of Hawai’i in 2018. The plot is a take on a day in the life of three young friends, Te Hoia, a political science student “with an interest in gentrification law and environment racism”, Q, a shy and unassuming but talented poet, and Rosina, an artist.
The novel is very readable and its chapters are like short video clips interspersed with poetry – its refreshing style and dialogue is immediate, direct and funny. Amongst the witty dialogue though there’s also a serious thread weaving through it; colonialism is linked to gentrification and property development, and racism is also a central theme. While the suburb they move around in and inhabit doesn’t have a name, it could very easily be Onehunga.
The book’s Publisher, Penguin Books, describes it as lucid and cinematic: “A genre-bending work of autobiographical fiction from one of Aotearoa’s fiercest and most versatile artists.”
To win a signed copy of How to Loiter in a Turf War, send an email by the 17th June to firstname.lastname@example.org with How to Loiter in a Turf War in the subject line. Or you can buy the book at Onehunga Books and Stationery on 251 Onehunga Mall or online at obsonline.co.nz.