Dame Fiona Kid­man is the Hon­oured New Zealand Writer at the 2017 Auck­land Writ­ers Fes­ti­val, which runs from May 16-21.

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - CONTENTS -

Fiona Kid­man

When I need ex­tra in­spi­ra­tion to write… I close my eyes some­times and am trans­ported back to places like Men­ton in the south of France where one won­der­ful year I held the Kather­ine Mans­field Fel­low­ship, or Greece where I have spent sun­lit writ­ing hol­i­days. Other times, I take a brisk walk down

the street where I live, look­ing out on the ocean and moun­tains, and mar­vel at liv­ing in such a beau­ti­ful world. The fic­tional lit­er­ary char­ac­ter

I would bring to life is… Becky Sharp from Thack­eray’s Van­ity Fair. She’s not par­tic­u­larly nice and needs some lessons in good par­ent­ing, but she is witty and de­ter­mined, and pokes fun at staid con­ven­tional so­ci­ety.

My ul­ti­mate in­dul­gence is… A train trip through the North Is­land that ends at Na­tional Park, where Ian (my hus­band) and I are picked up and taken for two bliss­ful nights to the Chateau Ton­gariro. The per­son who has most in­flu­enced my work is… Kit Spencer, the head li­brar­ian I worked for in a small town when I was young. She in­tro­duced me

to a wide range

of Euro­pean literature that opened my eyes to other cul­tures. The piece of ad­vice I’ve never for­got­ten

is… “Drive by your mir­rors.” As an older driver, I try to stay alert to what is be­hind me as well as

ahead of me on the road. If I could in­vent one thing it

would be… A ma­chine that irons shirts. If I could have only three books on my shelf they would be… Opened Ground, Po­ems 1966-1996, by Sea­mus Heaney, Se­lected Sto­ries, by Alice Munro, and the hand­writ­ten book left by my mother, Flora Eakin, record­ing her and my fore­bears’ story. My ad­vice to my 15-year-old self would be… Don’t let go of your dreams, even when you are up against things. If I could have any five peo­ple to a din­ner party they would be… Cana­dian short story writer Alice Munro; the poet Lau­ris Ed­mond, who was my friend for many years; for­mer Prime Min­is­ter He­len Clark; Sir Peter Usti­nov; and Aus­tralian nov­el­ist Pa­trick White. Two have eaten at my house and I wish they could come again. I raise my glass in mem­ory.

For tick­ets to the Auck­land Writ­ers Fes­ti­val, see writ­ers­fes­ti­

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