Tuesday, June 14, 2011

NZ's only Booker Prize Winner Keri Hulme talks to Bookman Beattie in response to The Observer's Robert McCrum's suggestion that she has been "silent for decades"

Well Keri you have certainly started something with your comments about VS Naipaul?

It appears so, unintentionally...I've had some good feedback via private emails too.

It is interesting that a comment posted on a blog here in New Zealand has ended up in The Observer newspaper in the UK? One cannot underestimate the power of the Internet.

Well, it's not the first time, is it?! And, as all of us know, who enjoy your blog visit daily,  your traffic stats show a large overseas visitor component.

Robert McCrum at The Observer suggests that “VS Naipaul's remarks about Jane Austen and other female writers have finally stirred a fellow Booker prize winner – who has been silent for decades – into action. It doesn’t seem to us here in the NZ writing community that you have been “silent for decades” but what is your reaction to this?

"Silent for decades?"  That's a really risible comment.. The last book that was published was "Stonefish", a collection     of short stories (pub. Huia, 2004.) There were 4 books published between "the bone people" and "Stonefish"  (and   one before "tbp.") There has also been well over a hundred essays, articles, reviews, and columns published over the last 2  and half decades, not to mention attendance at dozens of lit fests in that period. And interviews beyond my counting - the  last week on Radio New Zealand National.
I'd be first admit that I am not a fast writer or hugely productive, but I am a writer. Writer means just that - someone who writes.
And I've been doing that, and getting what I've written published, since I was in my teens. For the past 25 years, I've been self-employed as a writer and made, averaged out, a modest living.

What are you currently working on?

"The Huia Book" (on the bird) for Huia Publishers birthday celebrations this year; "Fisher In An Autumn Tide" (poetry); the long-ongoing twinned novels, and -right after I finish this - my quarterly column for "Te Karaka" (my tribe, Kai Tahu's magazine.)

Of course it has been rumoured for years around the book world here in NZ that you were writing another big novel?

"BAIT" and it's complement, "On Shadowside", have been around since 1986. The novels exist as 890+ pages of typescript, and many drawings, and I continue to work on them when I can. They are not finished yet. Lotto would help!

Dominion Post report
Author photo at top of story - Don Scott, The Press.

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