March has rolled around again and so has New Zealand Book Month. Time to think about favourite New Zealand authors, books and characters. An idle few minutes brought these authors to mind.
Fiona Farrell. How lucky are we that this woman is living and writing in our general neighbourhood?
Janet Frame. Yes she can be hard to read, especially if you’ve been lulled into a false sense of security by the autobiography, but who can resist her words? She said herself “a word which is exciting to look at and say and doesn’t slop its meaning over the side is good’, and she knew lots of them.
Fiona Kidman. She’s written over 30 books and is always so good it’s almost easy to take her a bit for granted. Which is not a trap whoever is responsible for the cover of her latest book of short stories, The trouble with fire, has fallen into. It’s as beautiful as her work.
Margaret Mahy. Truly a national treasure. It seems like yesterday that we celebrated her 70th birthday in Our City O-Tautahi, but it was 2006. This woman has won the Carnegie Medal (twice) and the Hans Christian Anderson Award. All New Zealanders can bask in her reflected glory.
Ronald Hugh Morrieson. ‘”The same week our fowls were stolen, Daphne Moran had her throat cut.” Surely one of the top ten best opening lines in literature. Plus they pulled down his house and put a McDonald’s on the site. “Who wants to remember that old drunk?” said one of his fellow Haweraeans to attempts to save the house. I like to think R.H.M. would have liked that.
C. K. Stead. Dauntingly distinguished and more than a little bit scary in person at literary festivals (I’ve longed to ask questions but never quite dared), C.K. Stead writes books that are clever, subtle and surprisingly funny.
Paul Thomas. The first New Zealand crime writer I read and I think he is still one of the best. His ear for how we speak is unsurpassed. And he’s written a new book and he is coming to Christchurch during New Zealand Book Month.
Who is the first author that pops into your mind when you think of New Zealand books?