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?