The course is called New Zealand: History & Culture, and it's taught this year by six visiting Academics from Massey University: Associate Professor Kerry Taylor, Dr. Peter Meihana, Professor Peter Lineham (all History), Dr. Gillian Skyrme (Linguistics), Professor Michael Roche (Geography) and Dr. Jack Ross (English).
So the net result of all this is that I've been asked to fly to Beijing to give two lectures on New Zealand literature to the students there: those lucky souls studying at the NZ Centre, at any rate.
It's simultaneously exciting and terrifying for a homebody such as myself. Never mind, we shall see what we shall see. I've divided the lectures into "Then" and "Now" (original!).
Here are some of the writers and books I'll be discussing with the students:
Lecture 1: Then
- Frank Sargeson (1903-1982)
Frank Sargeson: Conversation with My Uncle (1936)
- Ruth Dallas (1919-2008)
- Hone Tuwhare (1922-2008)
Hone Tuwhare: No Ordinary Sun (1964)
- Janet Frame (1924-2004)
Janet Frame: An Angel at My Table
Lecture 2: NowAnd here's what I'm roughly hoping to cover:
- Witi Ihimaera (1944- )
Witi Ihimaera: The New Net Goes Fishing (1977)
- Cilla McQueen (1949- )
- Alison Wong (1960- )
- Scott Hamilton (1974- )
Scott Hamilton: To the Moon, in Seven Easy Steps (2007)
In the first lecture, covering the early to mid-twentieth century, we will look at two things:
- Writing by settler Europeans in New Zealand
- The beginnings of Maori writing in English
There are three major topics in the second lecture, covering the late twentieth century to the early 2000s:
- Witi Ihimaera was the first Maori writer to publish a novel in New Zealand. His work is part of a major regrowth of Maori culture.
- Alison Wong’s poem about the poll-tax paid by Chinese settlers in New Zealand is an example of the important work now being done by writers from many immigrant groups, Chinese-New Zealanders among them.
- Cilla McQueen’s poem comes from the late twentieth-century Women’s Movement, which demanded complete equality between the sexes.