Navigation for Janet Frame Memorial Lectures

Marilyn Duckworth

Learning to Swivel: The Changing Face of New Zealand Literature

4:06pm Sunday 4 March 2012

“Once books spoke for themselves. Writers found their own way, without being taught, and without needing to be part of their own marketing machine.”

This lecture is intended to provide an overview of the “state of the nation” for literature and writing in New Zealand,  such that the reading public may have a greater understanding of what it means to be a writer in New Zealand.  Marilyn’s lecture is aptly entitled Learning to Swivel and addresses the changing face of New Zealand literature, reflecting on the very different path and mode of travel for an aspiring novelist today. Marilyn speakings from a personal hindsight, gazing across more than fifty years.

Marilyn describes herself as a novelist and sometime poet. She was born in Auckland and spent her childhood in England but has lived mainly in Wellington. Her first novel, A Gap in the Spectrum, was published when she was twenty-three; her fifth, Disorderly Conduct (1984), won a New Zealand Book Award. Her fifteenth novel Playing Friends was released in 2007. She has held the Katherine Mansfield Fellowship in Menton, a Fulbright Fellowship in the USA and also writing fellowships at Victoria and Auckland universities. In 1996 Leather Wings was short listed for a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. In 2000 she startled herself by publishing her autobiography, Camping On The Faultline.

The lecture, organised by The New Zealand Society of Authors (PEN NZ Inc) as part of New Zealand Book Month, was recorded at Te Papa Tongarewa on 1 March 2012.