The Author: Jane Higgins
I was born in Ōtautahi Christchurch, the largest city in Te Waipounamu – the South Island of the beautiful country of Aotearoa New Zealand. Over the years, I’ve traveled away, but always returned and now I live in an old cottage with a big garden with my husband, Paul, and our dog, Tilly.
Growing up, I read a lot of classic science fiction, fantasy and myth, and was captivated by the astonishing beauty and strangeness of the universe and by the writers who explored it – in fiction and non-fiction. I tried some exploring of my own, in the company of the very cool people in the Canterbury Astronomical Society – people who made their own telescopes and tracked the patterns of the solar system from their own backyards. I watched Dr. Who (almost, but not quite, from the beginning), the original Star Trek (favourite episode: The Trouble with Tribbles – great, because so silly) and The Prisoner (great, because so weird), and kept reading. I went to university and completed a degree in astronomy and mathematics and thought about spending my life sitting on a mountain being an astronomer.
A trip away to Europe in my early twenties changed those ambitions. Seeing serious poverty and frightening preparations for war for the first time was a powerful experience. I came home to study social science and learn from some amazing people about its concrete expression in the world through campaigns against poverty, oppressive labour laws and racism in New Zealand and elsewhere.
I became an academic at the University of Canterbury then at Lincoln University, specializing in research with young people about their lives. I wrote a lot of non-fiction for academic journals, kept reading and finally had a go at writing a novel, The Bridge. I was lucky to be part of the inaugural intake of the Hagley Writers’ Institute – more wonderful people, including tutors and fellow scribblers. In their company, The Bridge grew from a short story into something longer and more complicated.
Havoc followed in 2015 – a sequel to The Bridge about, of all things, a pandemic.
And now Glimpse. This story was born of my experience of two big earthquakes in 2010/11 that killed nearly 200 people and destroyed our city centre and many homes. Those big quakes were followed by thousands of others (some small, some not). That’s something we all learned about earthquakes – there’s never just one. Glimpse is a tribute to the many great people who worked (and still work) for a just rebuilding of the city.