Joanita Wibowo


5 minutes with author Kayte Nunn

5 minutes with author Kayte Nunn

In 5 minutes with authorOver 60 asks book writers about their literary habits and preferences. Next in this series is Kayte Nunn, author and former book and magazine editor based in Northern Rivers, NSW. After publishing two country town-inspired novels, Rose’s Vintage (2016) and Angel’s Share (2017), Nunn released her first historical fiction work with The Botanist’s Daughter (2018), which became the country’s top ten bestseller. Her newest novel, The Forgotten Letters of Esther Durrant is out now.

Over 60 spoke with Nunn to discuss her ride-or-die books, the genre she reads for fun, and the biggest obstacle to writing.

Over 60: What is your best writing tip?

Kayte Nunn: Block the Internet/hide your phone and set aside time to write every day – even an hour will add up. Show up for the work.

What book(s) are you reading right now?

I’ve recently read The Whisper Network by Chandler Baker and loved it. I’ve also recently discovered the novels of Sarah Winman and Maggie O’Farrell, and am catching up on those.

What is your favourite literary character?

Mrs Danvers in Rebecca – she is terrifying. Honorable mention to Anne Shirley, a character I have adored since I was a young girl.

What book do you think more people should read?

Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleeve.

Paperback, e-book or audiobook?

Paperback mostly, audiobook on a road trip, e-book when I am travelling or can’t get it in paperback.

What genre do you read for fun?

Crime – it’s the opposite of the books I write, but I love figuring out whodunit.

If you could only read five books for the rest of your life, what titles would you choose?

L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables (I still cry when Matthew dies); Jilly Cooper’s Riders (it never fails to cheer me up); Alan Bennett’s Untold Stories (so many gems that are a joy to reread); Up the Line to Death: War Poets 1914-18 (I love poetry, and particularly those written at this time in history); and Chris Cleeve’s Everyone Brave is Forgiven (a beautifully written book with a wonderfully emotive story).

Which trope grinds your gears?

Girl – generally blonde – found dead in the first chapter. I’ve read it too many times.