Monday, April 30, 2012

Pounamu Pounamu 40th anniversary edition

This anniversary edition of Witi Ihimaera's Pounamu Pounamu celebrates the 40th year in print of one of New Zealand's most seminal works of fiction.
When Pounamu Pounamu was published in 1972, it was a landmark occasion for New Zealand literature in many ways. It was the first work of fiction published by a Maori writer, it was the first collection of short stories that looked at contemporary Maori life and it launched the career of one of New Zealand's best-known authors.
The Pounamu Pounamu 40th Anniversary Edition is a beautiful hardback collector's volume. It features a foreword by Dame Fiona Kidman and a commentary by Witi Ihimaera on each of the stories. In these author's notes Witi Ihimaera looks back to events from his own childhood that inspired Pounamu Pounamu and the experience of writing and launching the book as a young man in the early '70s.
Penguin Books have done the author proud with this handsome new hardback edition.
I still recall the huge impact this book had on me way back in 1972 when I was a young bookseller in Napier.
I look forward to re-reading the stories although continue to be baffled by Ihimaera's wish to rewrite his early work. I mean if George Orwell was still alive would he rewrite 1984?


John McIntyre said...

Baffled? I'm annoyed- it was the freshness and the immediacy of Witi's original stories that rocked my boat, and I have no intention of reading revisionist versions.

Maureen said...

Every time I have bought a copy of Pounamu Pounamu some bugger has borrowed it and failed to return it...the most thieved book in our house. I love it because that describes my childhood on the other side of the mountain from the 70's
I agree with John...can't revise it because it is what it is...the stories were real in that time and space.

Debra Millar, Penguin Books NZ said...

I just thought I should clarify that the 40th anniversary edition of Pounamu Pounamu published by Penguin includes a new introduction to each story by Witi Ihimaera, as well as a lovely foreword from Dame Fiona Kidman. However, the stories themselves have not been revised in any way.