Guide The Random Reader: New Zealand Short Stories Volume One

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I re-read it a few times to make sure. Kiwi writers have always been very much at home in Australia, attracted by the energising, cosmopolitan atmospheres of Sydney and Melbourne, and Australian authors have long been welcome and highly visible at New Zealand literary festivals. And, despite various successes of our own in the last ten years, notably in commercial cinema, New Zealand persists in measuring itself against Australia. In the four decades since the publication of her novel The Bone People , there has been consistent and substantial interest in Keri Hulme, though her productive output since has been a thin trickle.

Janet Frame Memorial Lecture

Even so, while Australians obviously are reading New Zealand authors from all backgrounds, have they, or rather you , moved much further beyond the well plowed fields of The Bone People and An Angel At My Table? This other London is musically organised.

Publishers delight in this sort of positive buzz, but nothing succeeds like a scandal and as Oscar Wilde said, the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about. In part this is because it deals with the early history of Tasmania, but mostly because it was at the centre of a plagiarism ruckus.

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Following publication by Penguin Random House, New Zealand Listener reviewer Jolisa Gracewood noticed a number of short, unacknowledged passages from other writers and historical sources. The Listener confronted Ihimaera more robustly than was perhaps necessary , who apologised, putting it down to oversight.

The whole thing blew up into a needlessly vulgar hot mess. The University of Auckland, where Ihimaera was teaching, investigated and found no deliberate misconduct. Nonetheless a chastened Ihimaera had Penguin Random House remove the book from public sale and proceeded to buy up all the remaining stock himself.


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Though there was a planned revised edition with additional acknowledgements in the works for , it was subsequently cancelled, and consequently your best bet for finding a copy is in a library. Becker also informed me that Katherine Mansfield and Janet Frame are still widely read in Australia as early and mid-twentieth century classics.


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  • News of the ban made it all the way to Time magazine with interest from translators and even Hollywood. Some New Zealand authors do well in the Australian market simply because they know how to tell good stories.

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    Kidman imagines what happened after, providing Batten with a rich, incognito fictional life. Meanwhile she is also nursing a young soldier with a head injury and amnesia whom she also tries to engage with stories, which she does with consequences. The novels of Catherine Chidgey I can only think to compare to Margaret Atwood in their tangled tales of dirty deeds and magical realism. Tracey Slaughter is a master of lyrical and atmospheric prose, densely literary without caring overly much for the rules.

    Her novel The Forrests Bond Street Books remains a staggering literary achievement which caused a bit of a sensation in the UK with its sprawling family and human relationships rendered with an almost forensic attention to minutiae though no less a reader than Ursula K Le Guin felt obsession with details dragged it down.

    A related matter is how receptive Australian publishers are to New Zealand authors, which appears to be quite open with the anecdotal proviso that neutral or Australian settings and themes are preferred Australian authors come up against similar with UK and US publishers. Anecdotally it is particularly difficult for genre and more commercial authors in New Zealand. One either has to have a pre-existing market like British-expat science fiction author Phillip Mann, or look overseas to Australia, the UK and the US, like Nicky Pellegrino with her Italy-set novels, and gritty noir writer Carl Shuker.

    There is also, of course, the phenomenon of the trans-Tasman author with roots in both countries. The place was derelict, with birds roosting inside and a scatter of mildewed newspapers and torn books on the floor.

    The Random Reader: New Zealand Short Stories Volume One

    From a small basin in one of the rooms, I tore off a grimy plug and chain as a memento. Owen Marshall is a renowned short story writer and novelist, who worked for more than 25 years as a teacher before retiring to work full time as a writer. His writing has been extensively anthologised and he has edited several collections of New Zealand short stories.

    He has received numerous honours, awards and fellowships for his work.