Dunedin Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute

Dan Davin Event to celebrate publication of A Field Officer’s Notebook


Sadly ill health forced Vincent O’Sullivan to pull out and we missed his personal insights but Phillippa Duffy from the UBS stepped up and shared the story of how she came to Dan Davin.  Her passion for Davin’s writing got us off to an electrifying start.

Fiona Farrell shared the story of how as a young married woman in England she and her husband experienced some of the legionary Davin hospitality.

Robert McLean who edited A Field Officer’s Notebook and Roger Hickin who published it talked of now they assembled the collection – the bulk of which has never been published before.  Going through Davin’s journals which are housed at the Alexander Turnbull Library in Wellington was fascinating but difficult because Davin had terrible handwriting.  Roger shared that they had really wanted to include one poem but were unable to come to a consensus on what some of the words were so had to leave it out.

They also shared that their next project is to finish Davin’s biography of Paddy Costello which he never managed to complete.  Anyone who has read James McNeish’s Dance of the Peacocks will know how exciting that news is.

Tony Eyre who has amassed an extensive collection of Davin’s publications gave us an entertaining talk of just how much is out there if you begin to look.

The weather on the day was stunning so we were delighted to have a full house.  Thank you to all of the intelligent audience who gave up valuable time in the garden to celebrate this great New Zealand writer.

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