I hope you will find some great new books here and discover new authors from the Antipodes but I hope you will also share with us your favorite New Zealand authors and their books!
Even thought it is winter time in the Emerald Isles, New Zealand’s book world is really hot.
It has just been announced that New Zealand will be the Guest of Honor at the next Frankfurt International Book Fair. They will have their own pavilion, featuring the best of the best in their Art world, representing over 60 authors and 100 performers.
It is a rightly deserved honor as there is a plethora of great talent in a country with a population of only a few million. Hence, it is not surprisingly that New Zealand books do not get enough exposure and recognition on other shores. I have always been fascinated by one of their greatest writers Katherine Mansfield, but I am not the only one as she was also admired by Aldous Huxley and Bertrand Russell, to name but a few. She was also an inspiration to D. H. Lawrence, and Virginia Wolf was envious of her writing. If you have never read her take the time to discover a true gem.
I was also really taken by Janet Frame and her incredible trilogy beginning with An Angel at My Table in which she vividly recounts the time when she was committed to a mental institution for her supposed madness.
Some of you might also remember the film Whale Rider which was based on a novel of a distinguished contemporary New Zealand writer Ihimaera Witi. If you are interested in Maori culture blending with European inhabitants don’t miss another fantastic classic The Bone People by Keri Hulme, but be forewarned this story is extremely wrenching experience.
I think New Zealander’s have a knack of dealing with very difficult or fraught subjects and the intense feelings they engender. Two other contemporary writers Lloyd Jones and Emily Perkins exceed in this: Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones is one of my all time favorite books. How can any lover of books not fall for a story that presents reading as having a power of redemption from even the most unimaginably horrible situations. I have to admit that I have not read the new Emily Perkins novel The Forrests but her descriptions of madness and obsession in one of her previous books Novel about my Wife haunted me for weeks.
If there is nothing that captures you in these recommendations you might also want to check the three shortlisted titles for the 2012 New Zealand Post Book Award:
The Trouble with Fire by Fiona Kidman. This last one you might remember from my recent post about short stories since it is also nominated for The 2012 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award.