SONZA interviews Shirley Wine

Recently, I was interviewed by Sonza (Society of New Zealand Art) and some of the questions made me really think about my writing and the craft of writing.


Questions about how my rural background is woven into my stories and what do I think is unique about New Zealand literature to what NZ writers have left me with a lasting impression.

An author that has left a lasting impression on me is J K Baxter  …

 He was a great poet with a dark character, a well known conscientious objector and he struggled with alcoholism and his own religious identity … something which is reflected in his work

Speaking at a writers’ conference in 1951, Baxter had argued that it was ‘reasonable and necessary that poetry should contain moral truth, and that every poet should be a prophet according to his lights’.

Baxter spent his last years at Jerusalem on the banks of the Wanganui River.

Another author who made a lasting impression on me was Mona Anderson.

This tiny, twinkle-eyed Mona Anderson woman wrote twelve books about her years spent on a remote back-country station in the New Zealand South Island high country. Her first book, A River Rules My Life, captured the imagination of new Zealanders as she related the story of her move with her husband, Ron Anderson, to Mt Algidus Station, up the Wilberforce River, an alpine tributary of the Rakaia, early in World War II.

She arrived on horse and drat to a world without electricity or communication with the outside world, the Wilberforce River swirling around her at the fords. When she left in 1974 it was by truck, and she left behind a home with all the mod-cons.

Sadly I can’t find a photo of this remarkable woman.


To read the full SONZA interview  …

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Published on Saturday, May 16th, 2015, under Latest News

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