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by Alexia Johnston

Timaru’s connection to Rachel Wilson’s debut novel, Voiceless, has people talking.

Miss Wilson hosted a launch party for the book in Timaru on Tuesday last week, which was attended by about 80 people.

Among those who helped Miss Wilson celebrate her success was Bethany Waugh, who has already read the book.

“I really liked it,” she said.

The book is a young adult science fiction duology, set in Timaru.

It tells the story of Adelaide Te Ngawai (13), who had her voice stolen.

Adelaide is plunged into silence when a high school bully infects her with an incurable disease that leaves her unable to speak, write or create.

“I loved how it portrays Timaru in a futuristic sense,” Miss Waugh said. “It’s cool seeing that in the novel.”

She also commended Miss Wilson for blending Maori culture into the story.

Sarah Hogg, who attended the book launch, hosted at Timaru’s Grindhouse Cafe, was also impressed by the book, which she was partway through reading.

“It’s really good. It’s nice that it’s set where we are from as well. It’s science fiction, but you recognise [local place] names.”

Miss Wilson sold 40 of the books at the launch.

“We sold out,” she said.

“Everyone seems pretty excited. I think that they like that it’s set in Timaru. It’s a bit different because we are so used to American fiction.”

The book, which is available online, will soon be joined by the sequel, called Expression.

“We are in the final stages of editing that at the moment,” Miss Wilson said.