Síle Mannion

Síle Mannion

Síle has been takahē’s reviews editor since 2022, curating a diverse and fascinating set of reviews for each edition, but is sadly now moving on to other opportunities. We interviewed her to chat about what’s next, her writing plans, and what’s been her favourite thing about editing reviews at takahē.

What has been your favourite thing about being takahē’s reviews editor? What do you think it has taught you? 

I think the thing that I have enjoyed the most is the whanaungatanga … I loved connecting with tangata tuhi and reading their work. I’ve always loved reviews and the opportunity both to write them myself and to offer others that same opportunity was just so engaging and rewarding. Hmmm, it taught me something more about the great benefits of a different point of view and the delights of diversity.

The reviews ecosystem in Aotearoa has been through quite a bit of change in the last two years, as has takahē. It must be a fun space to work in?   

Yes, it was very entertaining. I felt like it was such a good time to be working in that space, a very positive and encouraging time for indigenous tangata toi in particular. And not before its time. I was delighted to be an eager member of the audience—pakipaki-ing.   

If you could have dinner with one other writer, dead or alive, who would it be? What would you ask them?   

Oh, there are quite some few … but today, I will say Maggie O’Farrell.  Because I love everything she has ever written. Everything. I’d ask her how she does it and why. And I’d thank her for it. I might also ask her what was her first loss?

What are you reading at the moment? Or, what was the last book you read that you really loved?  

I am always reading at least three books. At the moment, I have Hagstone by Sínead Gleeson on my Kobo, I have the truly beautiful book by Ruby Solly, The Artist, by my bedside and I always always have Raymond Carver’s complete works to dip into. The last book I really loved was A Ghost in the Throat by Doireann Ní Ghríofa. I liked Paul Lynch’s Prophet Song too.  

What about writing? Do you have writing plans on the horizon?

Ah, yes, plans. I do have plans but … yes, life gets in the way. I’m very busy enjoying things and so that does take up time. But I am really always writing something in some way, I think. However, I do think it’s time to take myself and my work a little more seriously. I do want to get my collection published and I do want to write another one. I am also doing a series of kōrero with a series of kupu-kind. And I am really longing to play some music and write some songs with anybody who’s interested—not easy when you’re a uke player. Nobody loves a uke player.  

We’re really sad to see you go! But hoping you’ve got exciting and fulfilling opportunities coming up. What are you looking forward to this year? 

Yes, it’s always a bit sad to leave. But it felt like time to give someone else a go. It’s such a great role; it should be shared. It’s important to create space in your life too, even if only to fill it again. Change is not always welcome but often revitalises. I am looking forward to a few things this year, spending more time in Te Whakaraupō on the wai. Travelling to the Islands. Eating more kimchi with eggs and toasted sourdough—seriously delicious. Learning to reverse down that damn cursed driveway up top of Lyttelton Port. Views to live for but killer access. One week in and I’ve already bashed the bumper twice. Those vertiginous straitened streets are not for the fainthearted or big-bumpered. But I was born and bred in a port town and I am at ease there. A good place to be. 

Sláinte, agus go neirí an bothar leat.