Friday, January 20, 2012

"Sharp, original and clever": Dame Kidman praises Kiwi crime

I just stumbled over something interesting today - in a recent article in the Sunday Star-Times, one of New Zealand's most popular newspapers, fifty New Zealanders - from sportspeople to actors to musicians to comedians to everyday folk - were asked what they were most optimistic about for the coming year. In amongst those fifty New Zealanders was 71-year-old Dame Fiona Kidman (pictured), a doyenne of the New Zealand literary scene. Dame Fiona, who amongst many accolades over a long and stellar career has been awarded both the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Artes et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters) and the L├ęgion d’Honneur (French Legion of Honour) by the French government.

Dame Fiona is a leading contemporary novelist, poet, short story writer and scriptwriter. She is the President of Honour of the New Zealand Book Council, and has been a judge for the Commonwealth Fiction Prize. Her bibliography includes almost 30 books and more than 60 film, TV, and radio scripts. Her latest short story collection, THE TROUBLE WITH FIRE, was released in 2011 and spent several months on the bestseller list. Her book, THE BOOK OF SECRETS, has continuously been in print for the past 25 years. In short, Dame Fiona is one of the pillars of the New Zealand literary community.

So, why I am so excited about stumbling across Dame Fiona's reasons for optimism for 2012? Well, because Dame Fiona noted the burgeoning New Zealand crime fiction scene. "I am more optimistic, more buoyant, than I can recall, about the future of good local fiction," said Dame Fiona to the Sunday Star-Times. "While my own past year felt positive, my work was in the company of so many wonderful novels and short-story collections that it seems as if New Zealand writers are finding a collective voice that roars. New Zealand crime writing is the new noir here and abroad; sharp, original and clever. As readers increasingly engage with historical fiction, writers are rising to the challenge of providing work of real literary quality in the genre. I predict another great year." (emphasis added).

When a literary voice of this stature gives a nod to the quality of local crime writing, well, perhaps things really are beginning to change down here. Thank you Dame Fiona, for putting a big smile on my face.

1 comment:

  1. Yay! Bless Dame Fiona. Great to hear that from an esteemed and astute writer.