Set in Bouganville island during the backdrop of the 1990's civil war, and only 220 pages long, there is so much to be found within the pages of this little book. It was certainly well received around the world. We were surprised as we read out some of it's awards:
Mr Pip was shortlisted for the Mann Booker Prize in 2007. It also won the 2007 Commonwealth Writer's Prize for the overall best book and the 2007 Montana Medal for Fiction and Poetry. Lloyd Jones was also awarded the New Zealand Creative Writers Berlin Residency award that year and received A$24,000 book prize at the Calabash International Literary Festival in Kingston Jamaica.
We looked at an article on the author which gave us a little information about his background, and how he came to write Mr Pip. We also had a look at Lloyd Jones talking about Mr Pip and listened to the Bookbits Author interview with Lloyd Jones We then watched a little part of this documentary: Inside Bouganville (1997) which gave us an idea of the setting of the story and looked at a picture of the open cast Bouganville copper mine. We were also lucky to have De's insight into Bouganville, Papua New Guinea and her impressions on life over there and the history of the period. By then, time had gone by and we were possibly suffering from information-overload so we launched into some discussion-questions.
We discussed the main characters in the book and our reaction towards the roles that they played. We talked about Matilda's mother in detail and her actions in bringing about certain events that happened in the book. We talked about the difference between Redskins and the rebels. We also talked about the relationship between Mr Pip and his wife and what happened back in New Zealand in the past and when Matilda visited Mr Watts home over there.
We talked about Great Expectations and those of us who can't remember much felt that it would have been nice to have it fresh in our heads before reading the book. We talked about books that we remember being read to as children ... and thought about our favourite books, when we were young.
(Ant strongly recommends Hugh Laurie's reading of Great Expectation in audio book format!!)
Our last video clip was Leonard Kania's Bouganville sung in pidgin English with interesting glimpses of the island and how the war has affected it.
We have just heard the news that Hugh Laurie is going to be acting in the film production of "Mr Pip" !! Filming will start next month.