This week New Zealand revealed its first Academy of New Zealand Literature, and I really have to say that it is incredibly wonderful me to be included in the first 100 Members. I left New Zealand young, only to return and to return in childhood and then as an adult for several years at different times — a country whose landscape and peoples arouse something in me so deep and mysterious — the both decimating and delirious power of the landscape, its intense relationship to the oceans around it, its cliffs and craters and hot pools of iridescent blue — a country one of the most isolated in the world, and hence with a purity and beauty all of its own. I cannot do it justice in a five minute blog post, but I am very proud this week and for all the future. I studied New Zealand Literature at 21 for my Columbia BA and was a news reporter on the Wellington newspaper writing at 17 and 18 and also 21. My MA was from New Zealand, in 2003, and my second novel Miss Me A Lot Of, published there. Many many other things to say, and of course of ancestors — but I have to go and drink champagne and walk the beach of Lake Ontario to enjoy my good fortune. Thanks to the writers there who made this happen, in front of and behind the screen. Especially Paula Morris and Fiona Kidman and Vincent O Sullivan, Eleanor Catton.
Here is the link to the Academy.
And here is a link to my particular page.
New Zealand Or in Maori aotearoa — Land of the Long White Cloud