Talk of Treasure: Words on writing, meditation and life


Format: ISBN: 978-1-925760-16-3 Trade paperback 272pp Rights: Australia Release / Publication Date: 01 /02 /2019


Jane Carswell began her working life at Pegasus Press shortly after its audacious publication of Janet Frame’s novel Owls Do Cry, and years later she went on to write an award-winning memoir called Under the Huang Jiao Tree: Two journeys in China.

The road between one book and the other was paved with both delight and self-doubt, the experience provoking Jane to write again, this time about the transformation between the private interior worlds of reading and meditation and the noisy exterior world of publication, between the books we read and treasure and the ones we write. With a wry and engaging tone, she invites us into her world and its jostling demands of music teaching, writing, friends and family, a succession of Chinese guests, and travels to a world of meditation and monasteries.

In the spirit of the works of Anne Lamott and Kate Llewellyn,  the daily activities of Jane’s life are bound to small breakthroughs and quiet illuminations. The author becomes a  perfect companion to the reader as her life,  writing, and meditation coalesce in profound ways. But as the perfect ending to her own writing journey and understanding threatens to elude her, Jane journeys to where Janet Frame grew up to find the courage and wisdom to complete her own story. Lyrical and literary, Talk of Treasure is a compelling memoir about how to be a writer, and more simply, just how to be.

Praise for Jane Carswell’s writing

‘Carswell’s understated writing has a rare clarity and honesty.’ The Dominion Post

‘Her powers of description are so acute and tender.  An enjoyable and  fascinating account of the ways in which our passions enable us  to become fully human.’

Ruth Fowler, Community Meditation teacher

‘Jane Carswell treads not only carefully, but thoughtfully and originally.’
The Age


Jane Carswell was born in England, has studied Italian in Perugia and taught English in Chongqing, China – which led to her first book, Under the Huang Jiao Tree, winner of
the Whitcoulls Travcom Travel Book of the Year 2010. Jane works now as a piano teacher in Christchurch and practises as a Benedictine oblate. She has a 1912 straight-strung Bechstein
piano, a split-cane fly rod, and grandchildren who remind her what really matters. She is a regular visitor to Australia.