For many kiwis the big OE is a right of passage, it is almost a qualification and wouldn’t look out of place on a curriculum vitae. During the 19th and early 20th century many New Zealanders viewed Britain as home even though they had never been there. This has continued and London is usually the home base and trips to Europe aretaken as soon as enough money is earned. Arriving in the NZ Collection this month Flying Kiwis A History of the OE Jude Wilson provides a history of the Kiwi OE. Also new this month is a book by Kirsty Gunn about her experience of returning to Wellington and her time spent writing at Katherine Mansfield house. This got me thinking about how Mansfield was of course one of New Zealand’s most famous OE travellers. So I have also included some of the titles that Kirsty had in her bibliography as a celebration of Mansfield and of course the OE.
Flying Kiwis : a history of the OE / Jude Wilson.
“Leaving home to see the world is something that succeeding generations of young New Zealanders have done in ever-increasing numbers. The ‘overseas experience,’ or the ‘OE,’ has been the topic of countless individual travel accounts, and has provided subject matter for plays, films, and novels. Until now, there hasn’t been a history of the OE. Based on the oral accounts of several hundred travelers across all seven decades of the OE, this vibrant history shows how the OE has changed over time. Well illustrated with the ephemera of popular culture surrounding youth travel, Flying Kiwis traces the emergence of the OE, as well as the transport, media, and other networks that have supported it. Laced with humor and entertaining anecdotes, Flying Kiwis is an essential read for anyone who has arrived in a foreign city with only a few dollars and the address of a friend’s cousin.” (Back cover)
Thorndon : Wellington and home : my Katherine Mansfield project / Kirsty Gunn.
“For London-based writer Kirsty Gunn, returning to the city of her birth to spend a winter in a tiny colonial cottage in Thorndon is an exciting opportunity to walk the very streets and hills that Katherine Mansfield left behind on her departure from New Zealand, but later longed to revisit. For Mansfield, Gunn writes, home was an instant ‘go-to’ zone for invention and narrative and characterisation and setting. For Gunn, home is now two places – Here and there the same place after all.” (Publisher information)
Katherine Mansfield’s New Zealand / Vincent O’Sullivan.
“A stunning, fully illustrated guide to the country and times that shaped our greatest short story writer — a feast of images and relevant excerpts from Mansfield’s stories and journals. Katherine Mansfield was born in Wellington in 1888 and died in France in 1923, regarded as one of the finest short story writers of her time. Her country of birth, initially a source of frustration for her, in time came to influence her writing. From Kezia’s Karori journey in Prelude, to the landscape of The Woman at the Store, the images of colonial New Zealand are a distinctive and compelling part of Katherine Mansfield’s writing.” (abridged Syndetics Summary)
New Zealand stories / Katherine Mansfield ; selected by Vincent O’Sullivan.
“A collection of Mansfield’s short stories set in New Zealand, selected by Vincent O’Sullivan, and published in the order in which they were written. An introduction by the editor is followed by 29 stories and unfinished sketches written between 1905 (About Pat) and 1922 (The Canary).” (Syndetics summary)
The Katherine Mansfield notebooks / edited by Margaret Scott.
“The first of two volumes of the first publication of Mansfield’s private notebooks including diary entries, letters, unfinished works, poems, published stories in embryo form, recipes, and shopping lists. This volume covers Mansfield’s childhood and adolescence, and the cover features photographs of the 46 notebooks in the collection of The Alexander Turnbull Library.” (Syndetics summary)
Katherine Mansfield : a secret life / Claire Tomalin.
“British biographer Tomalin (Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft) here reinterprets the life and career of the great New Zealand-born short story writer and her relationships with family and friends. Writing from a perspective different from that of previous biographers Antony Alpers and Jeffrey Meyers, and allowed to examine letters not available to them, she is less sympathetic than they to John Middleton Murry and more appreciative of D. H. Lawrence’s importance to Mansfield.” (abridged Syndetics Summary)
The collected letters of Katherine Mansfield / edited by Vincent O’Sullivan and Margaret Scott.
“The second installment in the projected five-volume edition of the correspondence of one of the most significant twentieth-century short-story writers. During the months covered here, Mansfield was battling the lung disease that would eventually kill her; she was in and out of England, seeking warmer climates, and as a consequence was often separated from her husband, critic John Middleton Murray. Loneliness, ill health, her work, her moods these preoccupations come across in her letters with the same sort of rigorous insouciance that characterizes her incomparable short fiction. Even in an informal piece of correspondence, Mansfield could not fail to be incisive and eloquent. These letters are essential reading for anyone interested in twentieth-century literature.” (abridged Syndetics Summary)