A Lecture From A Literary Legend

Thursday 15 September 2022

Read NZ Te Pou Muramura is delighted to announce Dame Fiona Kidman as the author that will deliver its 2022 address The heart of the matter.

Marking the 50th birthday of the organisation, Dame Fiona’s Pānui spans her own personal reading journey to her job as founding secretary of the then New Zealand Book Council, a career as a celebrated author, and her lifelong love of the written word.

The heart of the matter will take the listener on a journey from Dame Fiona’s childhood where she learned to read in a Kawakawa hospital, to her instrumental and often hilarious accounts of early Book Council days, where she helped set up the programmes, like Writers in Schools, that continue to make their mark on the literary landscape of this country.

The heart of the matter is a celebration, a history lesson, and most of all, a passionate statement for the importance of reading and how it can transform our lives.

Dame Fiona is a fiction writer and poet whose first novel A Breed of Women was published in 1979. Since then she has published a wide range of novels, short story collections, poetry and memoir, often exploring women’s lives and themes of social justice.

In 1988 she was made an Officer, Order of the British Empire for services to literature, followed by a Dame Companion New Zealand Order of Merit for services to literature in 1998.

Read NZ Te Pou Muramura CEO Juliet Blyth says it’s an honour to have Dame Fiona deliver the Pānui this year.

“As one of the founding members of the then Book Council, her voice is so fitting in this 50th year of our organisation.

“While so much in our country has changed since 1972, we believe Read NZ Te Pou Muramura has stayed true to its original kaupapa, and many of the programmes Dame Fiona helped to establish continue to flourish today,” she says.

Dame Fiona is the latest in a line of writers to deliver Read NZ’s provocative annual talk that includes Renée, Lani Wendt Young, Selina Tusitala Marsh, Ben Brown and Joy Cowley.

The 2022 Pānui will be held at the National Library auditorium on November 9 at 6.30pm. Entry is free, but seats are limited so bookings are essential. Tickets will be made available to the public on October 10.

Audio and ebook versions of Dame Fiona’s Pānui will be available for free public download on Read NZ’s website on November 9.