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Introducing Bernard Beckett

March 18, 2011

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I think Beckett’s work is great – and he keeps winning the awards to prove it! But, there isn’t much academic criticism following it.  Possibly, this is reflective of that academic aversion to popular fiction (especially when it’s written for ‘younger readers’), but whatever the reason, he should be getting academic attention and isn’t.  Yet!

He’s worth a read.

Brief Bio:

– born 13 October 1967 in Featherston

– teacher, writer, husband (Clare Knighton, co-author of Deep Fried), father (2 sons)

– multi-award winner: 2007 Esther Glen Award, NZ post Awards, 2010 Prix Sorcieres

Beckett on writing:

“in the end, the actual process of writing doesn’t take any time at all…. If everything is going well I can get down 1000 words an hour.’ But talk to other writers and that’s a word count many would aim for in a day. ‘That is my day,’ he laughs. ‘I never really get much more than an hour.  A huge part of what is required is that time offstage where things sort themselves out while you are going for a run or a walk or are driving to work. Doing those other things means you come back a day later and stuff has fallen into place.”  Graham Reid interview, p30 Canvas; Weekend Herald, March 12, 2011

Check out YouTube to hear Beckett on ‘a book that changed his life,’ Sydney Bridge Upside Down.

Malcolm and Juliet, Bernard Beckett

More info at:

I won’t repeat what other sites say in terms of biography:  (now owned by Random House NZ)

So does the New Zealand Book Council:

Academic literature:

Giffney, Sarah. (2011) ‘The impossibilities of fiction: narrative power in Bernard Beckett’s ‘Genesis’.’ English in Aotearoa, Jul 2011, Issue 74, p64-70

Anna Jackson, Geoffrey Miles, Harry Ricketts, Tatjana Schaefer, and Kathryn Walls (2011) A Made-Up Place: New Zealand in Young Adult Fiction (Victoria University Press: Wellington). This work is arranged thematically, so references are scattered throughout.

And hopefully there should be more as the years go by and the academics catch up! Like I say, his work is great 🙂

Question, though: why do some see Genesis as a book that would appeal more to boys than to girls?

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  1. Malcolm and Juliet, Bernard Beckett | Backyard Books NZ

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