New Zealand Society of Authors (PEN NZ Inc) Te Puni Kaituhi O Aotearoa will soon be releasing our second season of the NZSA Oral History Podcast Series. New Zealand veteran broadcaster, NZSA member and author Karyn Hay hosts Season Two which takes us inside the writing life of some of New Zealand’s most important poets, playwrights, novelists and writers for children.
Season One, released last year, included authors Lauris Edmond, Gordon McLauchlan, Dame Fiona Kidman, C.K. Stead, Kevin Ireland, Bernard Brown and Dame Christine Cole Catley. It focused on the battles writers fought through the upheavals of the 1980’s and 1990’s to advocate for writers rights. Podcast producer, Elizabeth Kirkby-McLeod, says Season Two authors are a little different in focus.
“A real theme is emerging in Season Two of the endurance needed to maintain a writers’ life. Elsie Locke discusses how people didn’t take her seriously as a writer because she wrote predominately for children while Ian Cross does the maths and realises he will never be able to survive and care for his family on a writer’s earnings.”
NZSA CEO, Jenny Nagle notes that though these writers wrote half a century ago their struggles are still the experience of many writers today. “The NZSA Oral History Podcast Series helps us see what has changed and what still needs to be fought for. Sustainable careers for writers is a key example. Just last month the Writers’ Earnings in New Zealand report concluded that on average, writers’ earned only 31% of their personal income through writing. Just over half the respondents said that they relied on their partners’ income and/or relied on having a separate job, to supplement their writing earnings. The maths Ian Cross did is still true for authors today.“
The Podcast uses interviews from the Turnbull Library archives first recorded for the NZSA Oral History Project. Three sets of interviews have been conducted with members over the last thirty years to capture these recollections, with a fourth series in planning.
NZSA thanks Pub Charity Limited for provided funding to enable us to develop Season Two of the NZSA Oral History Podcast Series. Like Season One, these new episodes will sit on our site permanently, as a repository, a record and a celebration of our history, our writers and New Zealand’s literary heritage.
“The idea was conceived over 30 years ago to record an oral history of the New Zealand Society of Authors and PEN in New Zealand,” says NZSA CEO Jenny Nagle. “When we realised what rich social and literary history they contained and that the intimacy of the interviews was so compelling, we couldn’t leave them tucked away in the Turnbull.”