A Quota of Heartbeats: a novel & "The Interminable Son": a radio documentary

Sewell, Hamish (2007). A Quota of Heartbeats: a novel & "The Interminable Son": a radio documentary MPhil Thesis, School of English, Media Studies and Art History, University of Queensland.

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Author Sewell, Hamish
Thesis Title A Quota of Heartbeats: a novel & "The Interminable Son": a radio documentary
School, Centre or Institute School of English, Media Studies and Art History
Institution University of Queensland
Publication date 2007
Thesis type MPhil Thesis
Supervisor Dr Stuart Glover
Subjects 1999 Other Studies in Creative Arts and Writing
Abstract/Summary This thesis is comprised of two creative works: a compact disk recording of a radio feature, “The Interminable Son,” and a seventy-two thousand word novel, A Quota of Heartbeats. There is also a short contextualizing introduction to both pieces and their genesis. The introduction looks at the drafting of the novel, A Quota of Heartbeats (AQOH). It focuses on the shortcomings of the earlier draft, the Untitled Novel, the forces at play, and how the final draft, AQOH, has moved away from the earlier ‘autobiographical provenance’ to now work within the conventions of the novel. The radio feature and the novel are placed next to each other in this thesis in order to contrast them. They represent opposite ends of the story telling process. The radio feature began in 1999 and heralds the raw, autobiographic seeds of a story. It was commissioned by Radio National’s Radio Eye in 2000. It covers fifteen years, from the mid 1970s to the late 1980s, and documents Hamish Sewell’s return to New Zealand where he reckons with the legacy of his mother, Elizabeth Sewell. Elizabeth was a notable New Zealand feminist and abortion campaigner during the seventies and eighties who died in 1989. The radio documentary adopts a creative style and is comprised of personal interviews with Elizabeth’s former colleagues, archival sound bytes and personal reflections and flashbacks from Hamish (see recording details of the radio script in Appendix B). Similar to the radio feature, A Quota of Heartbeats is also set in New Zealand during the 1970s and 1980s and concerns the issues of feminism, abortion politics and a central, motherson dynamic. At its heart, however, is the relationship and unfolding lives of senior New Zealand politician, Maddy Serron; her youngest son, Liam Serron, and Maddy’s feminist friend and Liam’s lover, Kimberley Thompson. It is primarily told through the eyes of Maddy and Liam within a duel past-present time frame. It follows Liam Serron’s returns from Australia to New Zealand to see his dying mother in Wellington. Meanwhile, his mother, Maddy Serron, waits for him on the rocky vantage overlooking the sea while she contemplates her life as an activist, politician, mother, and her impending death. The closer Liam gets to his mother, the more the mother-son struggle from the past is revealed, and how the woman, Kimberley Thompson, changed their lives.

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Created: Fri, 21 Nov 2008, 15:35:33 EST