28 Apr 2024

The return of Auē: fast favourites with Becky Manawatu

From Culture 101, 12:10 pm on 28 April 2024


Becky Manawatu

Becky Manawatu Photo: Stewart Nimmo

It’s rare for an Aotearoa New Zealand writer to appear at book festivals about a novel, months out from its release. But then the sequel to a book as beloved and devastating as 2019’s Auē by Becky Manawatu (Ngāi Tahu) is no small event.  

As Auckland Writers Festival has aptly put it, Westport based Becky Manawatu’s debut novel took both the public and literary world by storm. The winner of the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction, it’s a book of poetic beauty charged by Aotearoa’s coastal landscape, but  unrelenting in dealing with the trauma and visible damage to whanau of domestic violence and gang culture.  

Sequel Kataraina will be published again by Makaro Press on 1 October, and it centres its narrative around a central but quieter character in Auē, Aunty Kat.  

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Photo: Makaro Press

Manawatu is speaking alongside Irish novelist Sinéad Gleeson at Auckland Writers’ Festival on May 17. Before that, at the Featherston Booktown Festival on 11 May, Manawatu and her publisher Mary McCallum discuss Auē and another classic West Coast award winning novel Keri Hulme’s The Bone People, joined by translator Francesca Benocci, and its original publisher Marian Evans of Spiral Collectives. 

Westport based, Becky Manawatu joins Culture 101’s Mark Amery to share her  love of other artists.

Shoutouts include to the West Coast's own biannual Blackball Writers Festival (next on Winter 2025), Ruby Solly’s book The Artist, her visual poem 'Risk' (which you can read online here) and a musician Manawatu went to school with Mel Parsons, who has a strong new single out