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Sandi Hall
Sandi Hall
  Sandi Hall
Sandi Hall
Although she was born in Cornwall, England, Sandi grew up on the Canadian prairies. Her first writing jobs were with CHQR Radio in Calgary, and then CFRN Television. Her writing career began in earnest with non-fiction articles for Canadian newspapers and My Golden West magazine. She has continued to write non-fiction.

Sandi left Canada to return temporarily to England, leaving for Zambia eight months later, where she lived in Ndola for the next four years. She worked there as a senior copywriter and account manager for Barker McCormack Advertising.

She moved to New Zealand in 1974, becoming a permanent resident, and found work in the advertising and public relations industry. It was in Auckland that she discovered a pool of feminist activists who were creating New Zealand’s first feminist magazine, Broadsheet. In the twenty one years of its existence, Broadsheet investigated everything from politics to cosmetics from the focus of how they affected women. Sandi promptly began to work voluntarily with this group.

Sandi HallHer first novel, The Godmothers, written for an adult readership, was published by the prestigious Women’s Press in London, England, in 1982. The novel was translated into German and Danish, and the 1984 American edition spent several weeks in the top ten on the Women Writers’ best seller list.

The Godmothers sees the beginning of Sandi’s exploration of age-old questions affecting women. This novel explores how, in the face of corporate bulldozing tactics, women’s past and present wisdom protects children and therefore the future of humanity.

At this time, Sandi founded the New Zealand Women’s Political Party (NZWPP), standing in the 1984 election in the sitting Prime Minister’s electorate. She didn’t win it, but neither did he! A central tenet of the NZWPP was that, in accordance with the Magna Carta which says ‘No taxation without representation’, women’s taxation should reflect their gender representation in parliament. At that time, it meant that women would pay only 8% of men’s taxation – and the ratio is only marginally lifted in 2010 to 17%.

With the publication of The Godmothers, Sandi left advertising and began teaching part-time to support her writing career. She continued voluntarily to work and write for Broadsheet. The Godmothers also occasioned the NZ Department of Internal Affairs to send Sandi – with poet Bub Bridger --as representatives of women writers in New Zealand to the month-long Women and the Arts Festival in Sydney.

Sandi HallIn 1985, Sandi was privately commissioned to write a full length film script, Elysian Fields, set in Mexico, where she then went to live. Although both Tom Conti and Penelope Keith’s agents said their principals were interested in taking the roles Sandi had written for them, difficulties with finance meant the project was shelved.

While living in the arts-minded town of San Miguel de Allende in northern Mexico, Sandi was commissioned by the New Zealand Listener to write an in-depth article on the position of women in Mexico. This eventually became the 8,000 word feature article A Struggle with Many Faces, eventually published in full by the Toronto Star in Canada.

Sandi HallHer second novel, Wingwomen of Hera, created for a young adult readership, was published in 1986 in California and won an American Library Association Award in that category in 1987. In this purely sci-fantasy novel, Sandi explores the ‘what-if’ possibilities of a planet whose two main sentient species are either female or gender-neutral.

On Hera, war is unknown, and conflicts resolved perhaps vehemently, but always peacefully. Hera’s Wingwomen are known throughout their cosmos for their comprehensive knowledge of plants and plant productivity. The young of Hera know they will become Pilots when they receive a living Globe as their education begins. Star-going Pilots travel the universe to increase their botanical knowledge, and come to know well how other societies develop. But when an alien disease strikes at the heart of Hera, the first murders begin.

Also featuring Hera’s Wingwomen, Globes of Ulso, is due for publication in the late spring of 2011. In this novel, Sandi explores the theme of destiny, revealing the life cycle of winged women and their full function on Hera.

Sandi HallMoving back to New Zealand, Sandi discovered that the NZWPP had folded, and that Broadsheet had changed, eventually ending its 21 year publishing career. But the country was in the grip of impassioned protests occasioned by the prospects of the coming Springbok rugby tour. At the heart of the protests was the iniquity of racism. The tour did take place in spite of protest action, some of which was effective enough to half one match. This directly led Sandi to write Change of Heart, a stage play performed at Auckland’s beloved Mercury Theatre.

Set in a television station’s news room, Sandi addresses the twin phobias of racism and homosexuality. She does so by cutting between a male rugby-mad newsreader’s homophobia while he is announcing the protest actions taking place against the Springbok tour, which he abhors, and his female colleague’s home, where her marriage is ending because she has discovered her true sexuality.

Sandi HallIn the following year, Sandi was commissioned to write a made-for-television drama, Just Passing Through. Its theme is love thorugh time, suggesting that deep love can span the centuries but always brings immeasurably difficult challenge. The drama screened nationwide on New Zealand’s flagship television channel, Television One.

During this time, she also had published several short stories, which were included in anthologies. One, The Exploding Frangipani, includes her short story In the Fresh Lap of the Crimson Rose. This was an anthology of erotic writing. Sandi’s tale contains no direct sex and only the merest touch of implicit sex. “I wanted to show how language itself is erotic – the story is mainly about a garden, though hints at Pan’s arrival at the end,” she explains.

A hiatus in her writing happened in the early 90’s because the shadow of tragedy fell across her family. Because of it, she returned to Canada for some time, later living in England in an effort to trace some family roots.

Sandi HallShe returned to New Zealand in 1997, to find the country in the grip of millennium fever. Wondering what she could do to mark this epochal time, she conceived and produced the Millennium Festival of the Children, which saw a girl and a boy (ages 8- 12) from 88 countries come to New Zealand to be billeted with their peers while attending an 8 day Festival. This included the Children’s World Parliament, held in New Zealand’s Parliament Buildings, and producing the Children’s Charter of Children’s Rights. This document rests in the Parliamentary Library, and is believed to be the first charter of rights written by children for children. Its first point is ‘All children have the right to be safe.’

She settled in Wellington, New Zealand’s capital, and began to teach WRIT101 at Victoria University there. This course specifically addresses the successful writing of academic essays. She has written a booklet about the strategies necessary for an essay to earn a top grade, titled Essay Power - and how to get it. For more information and to buy, click here.

Sandi HallHer next novel, Rumours of Dreams, written for an adult readership, was published by Australia’s Spinifex Press in 1999. This novel is perhaps the most provocative of her work to date, challenging as it does the roots of Christianity. The beginning and end of the novel are set in modern times, but the bulk of the book is set in the Mediterranean 2,000 years ago. In her main characters of Mary, and Santer, Sandi explores ancient Mediterranean society, researching those times in depth to give a startling new perception of what created the rise of Christianity.

Sandi HallDays of Blood and Gold is also historical and written for the young adult market. In it, Sandi takes readers back to Minoan Crete, the first civilization in the pre-literate Western world. Through Praxinoa, an 18 year old Trader for the House of Phaestos, readers are introduced to an age when pregnant women were revered and the main deity was Koré, the Moon Goddess.

Crete was a prosperous and creative society, known for its architectural inventions, for its extraordinary murals and ceramic art, and gold jewellery. Festivals marked the seasons, with the Spring Games—Anthesteria –containing the audacious Bull Leaping, for which a fresh set of Leapers are in training as the story opens.

As well as painting a vivid picture of Minoan Crete, in this novel Sandi presents a plausible explanation for the legend of the Minotaur, and for the Phaestos Disc, now in the National Museum in Iraklion, which perhaps demonstrates that the so-inventive Minoans had just begun to invent writing.

Publication is expected in early November 2010.

Sandi HallThe Unpacked Heart, Sandi’s sixth novel, is her first openly lesbian novel. While all of her fiction is clearly informed by her lesbian feminism, this is the first time Sandi has spun a story around a lesbian life. Written for an adult audience, the story traces Daisy Cairn’s journey out of deep melancholic depression through saving a baby boy from being murdered. Along the way, she finds a new adult lesbian relationship and hopefully, true happiness!

Publication of The Unpacked Heart is set for the spring of 2011.

Sandi HallMoving to the seaside village of Paekakariki, a well-known artists’ community, in 2005, Sandi wrote her second play,
a comedy, Public Sex, which was performed at St. Peter’s Hall in that village, on one of only two remaining ‘raked’ stages in New Zealand. Public Sex explores themes of reincarnation, miracles, lesbian love, and the uses of gin.

Demands of family mean Sandi is again living in England, where she is working on a light-hearted tale of art fraud, lust, love and community set in Paekakariki, titled Paekakariki Mischief. Publication is aimed for mid-2011.
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