Paula Morris (Ngati Wai), fiction writer and essayist, presents the Academy of New Zealand Literature/Te Whare Mātātuhi o Aotearoa.
Last year, when I returned to New Zealand after too many years away in the United Kingdom and United States of America, I did what I always do, wherever I live: I became embroiled.
The elements of the “literature sector” based in Auckland – publishers, festival, directors of the New Zealand Society of Authors (NZSA) and Book Council – were having a series of conversations, and I infiltrated various drinks and meetings, keen to hear about what was going on. There was a new spirit of cooperation, perhaps, and a desire to make the most of ever-decreasing resources. In-fighting in a small market with low stakes is inevitable – irresistible, even – but in-fighting, parochialism and short-sighted self-interest seemed like relics of a different, simpler, stupider time.
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