Dame Fiona Kidman discusses This Mortal Boy!

It’s not easy to win a New Zealand Book Award–and it’s even harder to win one on four separate occasions! But that’s exactly what Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize-winner Dame Fiona Kidman has managed to achieve, claiming an award in 1988, 2001, 2006 and now in 2019 with the fantastic This Mortal Boy.

This Mortal Boy is the story of Albert Black, the second-to-last man to be executed in New Zealand. Judges described it as a work that “pulls the reader into mid-century New Zealand–the restlessness of a new urban youth culture, the moral panic that led to the Mazengarb report, the damning assumptions of the legal profession and the unchallenged omissions that eased the pathway to a young man’s death.”

Wellington City Libraries recently had the pleasure of hosting Dame Fiona Kidman as part of our Mystery in the Library event at Karori Library, along with fellow authors Kelly Dennett, Kirsten McDougall, Jennifer Lane and Brannavan Gnanalingam. If you weren’t able to make it to this excellent event, never fear! You can now listen to it in its entirety via the podcast below–including Dame Fiona Kidman describing the process that brought This Mortal Boy to fruition. Enjoy!

Mystery Writers Panel this Saturday night at Karori

Are you a fan of mysteries? The Ngaio Marsh Awards and Wellington City Libraries invites you to Mystery in the Library this Saturday night (13 April, 6pm, at Karori Library), a fantastic (and free!) after-hours event featuring four outstanding and highly acclaimed local storytellers.

Dame Fiona Kidman, Jennifer Lane, Kelly Dennett and Kirsten McDougall will discuss how they craft memorable characters and page-turning storylines, whether fictional or factual, and infuse their books with real-life issues and insights into people and society. Brannavan Gnanalingam will prosecute the offenders.

You can read profiles of all our speakers at the links below:

Dame Fiona Kidman
Dame Fiona Kidman
Kirsten McDougall
Kirsten McDougall
Jennifer Lane
Jennifer Lane
Kelly Dennett
Kelly Dennett

 

Mystery Writers Panel Author Feature: Kelly Dennett

Are you a fan of mysteries? The Ngaio Marsh Awards and Wellington City Libraries invites you to Mystery in the Library, a fantastic (and free!) after-hours event featuring four outstanding and highly acclaimed local storytellers.

Photo by Emma Miller

When?
Saturday 13 April 2019

Where?
Karori Library (Please note the new location for this event)

What time?
6pm-7.30pm

One of the outstanding panellists at our Mystery in the Library event is Sunday Star-Times news director Kelly Dennett.  Her book The Short Life and Mysterious Death of Jane Furlong was published last year and is a gripping and empathetic account of the life and unsolved murder of Jane Furlong, a seventeen year old who disappeared from Auckland’s Karangahape Road in 1993.

We were lucky enough to talk to Kelly last week about her book.

Kelly told us she had forged strong relationships and trust with Jane’s friends and family as she painstakingly pieced all the different strands of the story of Jane’s disappearance together. As a result, she felt an enormous responsibility to Jane’s family and the memory of Jane to write the best book that she could. She felt that it was important to get the tone of the book right and concentrate on details that would bring the story and the charismatic personality of Jane to life rather than salacious and sensational details. Being able to read Jane’s diaries meant Kelly could get a good understanding of Jane’s character and she told us that she would often consider what Jane would think of the book as she was writing it.

We asked if Kelly had any thoughts on why unsolved murders and true crime, for example the television series Making a Murderer, were more popular than ever.  Kelly told us that because cold cases are about real people it is easy for us to relate to the characters, and put ourselves in their shoes. She also thinks that the genre gives audiences the appealing chance to be armchair detectives.

Jane’s body was discovered 19 years after her disappearance and her murder remains unsolved. Kelly believes that this case could be solved in the future and pointed to some recent arrests in Australia that have been made decades after the murders were committed.

Kelly speaks eloquently about her writing. Come along to Mystery in the Library this Saturday night (6-7:30pm) to hear more of the fascinating details of this book that has been called a “brave look at a cold case” (Otago Daily Times).

For more tasters of Kelly Dennett’s writing and The Short Life and Mysterious Death of Jane Furlong  listen to this interview with Wallace Chapman on RNZ or read this article in The Spinoff.

Join us on Saturday, 13 April at 6pm at Karori Library to hear Kirsten McDougall, Dame Fiona Kidman, Jennifer Lane, Kelly Dennett and chairperson Brannavan Gnanalingam discuss some fantastic works of mystery!

Mystery Writers Panel Author Feature: Jennifer Lane!

Are you a fan of mysteries?

The Ngaio Marsh Awards and Wellington City Libraries invites you to Mystery in the Library, a fantastic (and free!) after-hours event featuring four outstanding and highly acclaimed local storytellers.

WHEN: Saturday 13 April 2019
WHERE: Karori Library (Please note the new location for this event)
WHEN: 6pm-7.30pm

This year’s panel includes author Jennifer Lane!

Jennifer Lane’s debut novel, All Our Secrets, is the story of 11-year-old Gracie Barrett and her life in small town Australia in the 1980s. With religious tensions, serial murders and all the complications of being on the cusp of teenagehood, All Our Secrets is a work of insight and high excitement.

Book Review: All Our SecretsThe Reader, December 13, 2017

All Our Secrets was the winner of the Best First Novel Award at the Ngaio Marsh Awards, and has been described as “a hugely enjoyable mash-up of small town horror and coming-of-age story, with plenty of quirky and sometimes downright weird humour thrown in.” Lane has also published widely in journals across Aotearoa/New Zealand and Australia, including Southerly, Pulp, Viola Beadleton’s Compendium and Island.

So join us on Saturday, 13 April at 6pm at Karori Library to hear Jennifer Lane, Kirsten McDougall, Dame Fiona Kidman, Kelly Dennett and chairperson Brannavan Gnanalingam discuss some fantastic works of mystery!

Mystery Writers Panel Author Feature: Kirsten McDougall

Photo by Grant Maiden
Photo by Grant Maiden

Are you a fan of mysteries?

The Ngaio Marsh Awards and Wellington City Libraries invite you to Mystery in the Library, a fantastic (and free!) after-hours event featuring four outstanding and highly acclaimed local storytellers.

WHEN: Saturday 13 April 2019
WHERE: Karori Library (Please note the new location for this event)
WHEN: 6pm–7.30pm

This year’s panel includes author Kirsten McDougall!

We are totally thrilled to have the award-winning Wellington author Kirsten McDougall as one of our illustrious mystery writers panellists. McDougall’s critically-acclaimed book Tess is a wonderful, multi-layered can of worms, and Wairarapa’s answer to Southern Ontario Gothic. As The Listener describes it, “Tess is authentically, affectingly abrasive and vulnerable. The physical world is alive and jumping, and the narrative never lets go of your throat.”

As well as Tess, McDougall has published The Invisible Rider, as well as short stories and non-fiction in a range of books and journals. She has also given several excellent interviews about her writing process–including this great piece in The Pantograph Punch.

So join us on Saturday, 13 April at 6pm at Karori Library to hear Kirsten McDougall, Dame Fiona Kidman, Jennifer Lane, Kelly Dennett and chairperson Brannavan Gnanalingam discuss some fantastic works of mystery!

Mystery Writers Panel Author Feature: Dame Fiona Kidman!

Are you a fan of mysteries?

The Ngaio Marsh Awards and Wellington City Libraries invite you to Mystery in the Library, a fantastic (and free!) after-hours event featuring four outstanding and highly acclaimed local storytellers.

WHEN: Saturday 13 April 2019
WHERE: Karori Library (Please note the new location for this event)
WHEN: 6pm

This year’s panel includes a very special guest: Dame Fiona Kidman!

Fiona Kidman’s contribution to literature in Aotearoa/New Zealand has been immense. Since publishing her first novel in 1970, Kidman has gone on to create a powerful and imaginative body of work ranging from novels to short stories, memoirs to poetry, plays to radio series. She has won a range of awards, fellowships and residencies and in 1998 she was awarded a Dame Companion New Zealand Order of Merit for services to literature.

Kidman’s latest work, This Mortal Boy, tells the story of Albert Black, one of the last people executed in New Zealand. It’s been called “powerful and haunting… and bloody convincing”, and has been shortlisted for the Acorn Prize as part of the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.

So join us on Saturday, 13 April at 6pm at Karori Library to hear Fiona Kidman, Jennifer Lane, Kelly Dennett, Kirsten McDougall and chairperson Brannavan Gnanalingam discuss some fantastic works of mystery!

Mystery Writers Panel–Now at Karori Library!

Are you a fan of mysteries?

The Ngaio Marsh Awards, in association with Wellington City Libraries, invites you to Mystery in the Library, a fantastic (and free!) after-hours event featuring four outstanding and highly acclaimed local storytellers.

Dame Fiona Kidman, Jennifer Lane, Kelly Dennett and Kirsten McDougall will discuss how they craft memorable characters and page-turning storylines, whether fictional or factual, and infuse their books with real-life issues and insights into people and society. Brannavan Gnanalingam will prosecute the offenders.

WHEN: Saturday 13 April 2019
WHERE: Karori Library (Please note the new location for this event)
WHEN: 6pm — 7.30pm

Panelists include:

Dame Fiona Kidman has published over 30 books, including novels, poetry, non-fiction and a play. She has worked as a librarian, radio producer and critic, and as a scriptwriter for radio, television and film. Her latest novel, This Mortal Boy, has been shortlisted for the 2019 Ockhams and the 2019 NZ Booklovers Awards.

Jennifer Lane is a copywriter, short story writer, and author. Her debut novel, All Our Secrets, won a 2018 Ngaio Marsh Award and has been called “a hugely enjoyable mash-up of small town horror and coming-of-age story, with plenty of quirky and sometimes downright weird humour thrown in” (New Zealand Herald).

Kelly Dennett is a news director at The Sunday Star-Times, and lives in Wellington. She was previously a senior journalist for the Weekend Herald and Herald on Sunday, and a crime and justice reporter for Fairfax Media. Her first book, The Short Life and Mysterious Death of Jane Furlong has been called a “brave look at a cold case” (Otago Daily Times).

Kirsten McDougall is a Wellington publicist and author. Her second book, Tess, was a finalist for the 2018 Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Novel and longlisted for the 2018 Ockhams. It is a gothic tale centred on a teen runaway who becomes entwined in the family troubles of a man who picks her up from the side of the highway. “A gripping novella about a troubled teen” (New Zealand Listener).