Dr Tracey Slaughter Talks

Waikato Museum, Hamilton

Every short story is a ghost story - Tracing the presence of Katherine Mansfield      


Dr Tracey Slaughter may never have started writing had it not been for the influence of Katherine Mansfield. “She was a constant presence,” explains Tracey.  Of her stories, she says; “I breathed them in and they unconsciously infused my own writing.”      


Tracey cites growing up in the Coromandel as another influence on her writing. “The rhythm and imagery of coastal life has had a massive influence,” she says.  Returning to Thames in later years with a young family, Tracey was encouraged to discover a burgeoning sense of creativity begin to flourish in the region, offsetting the isolation she experienced as a creative young person growing up in the Coromandel.  


These days, Tracey’s advice to people wanting to write, is to give yourself permission.     


“Clear away your fears and allow creativity to be totally uncensored.  Creativity flourishes from a place of full permission,” she says.    


“Part of the thrill of my job as Lecturer in Creative Writing at Waikato University is helping people find their voice and helping them connect and build their creative community.”     


This week, Tracey will be giving a free public talk at Waikato Museum alongside the The Garden Party exhibition, currently on display at the museum until 3rd March.  The exhibition includes botanical studies specific to the story’s flora, the iconic Portrait of Katherine Mansfield by Anne Estelle Rice, and a selection of editions of The Garden Party book. Waikato Museum's exhibition coincides with the launch of the Mansfield Garden, located at the Hamilton Gardens on the banks of the Waikato River.    


Tracey’s talk will touch upon key aspects of Katherine Mansfield’s writing through the lens of her own development as a writer, sharing the wealth of ways in which Mansfield’s writing fed into and inspired her own writing, and informed the short story genre as we know it today.    


Tracey charts the links with Katherine Mansfield in many ways. In 2001, she won the BNZ Katherine Mansfield Novice Award, submitting her very first short story. Three years later she won the overall award and bought herself a copy of the Anne Estelle Rice portrait of Katherine Mansfield and had it framed.      


“It symbolised my arrival as a writer and finding my voice as a writer,”  says Tracey.    


Many years on, Tracey is an international award-winning writer. Katherine Mansfield’s influence as a short story writer continues to inform and inspire - not only her writing but also her work ethic. Katherine Mansfield was fiercely dedicated to her craft, as is Tracey.      


“I love the short story form - it’s where I live,” explains Tracey. “It can encompass poetry, musicality of language, richness and sensory impact - all by using vivid enough language.”    


The talk promises to be an informative and enlightening hour, ideal for anyone interested in writing and creativity, and those who are intrigued by the life and writing of Katherine Mansfield. Tracey’s talk will offer insights and appeal for those interested in other arts too, lending a cinematic and musical approach to Mansfield’s writing.      


Dr Slaughter’s talk is called “Every short story is a ghost story - Tracing the presence of Katherine Mansfield”.   Find out more here.


Friday 8th February 6:00pm-7:00pm  

Waikato Museum, 1 Grantham St, Hamilton  

Free admission      

Contact info:


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