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Margaret Mahy – “the inhabitant of a country that didn’t exist”

March 12, 2012

“I know writing isn’t just sitting down and looking at something and describing it. It involves a whole lot of subtle and mysterious things like the ability to give landscape a mythical quality and for some reason I wasn’t able to give the New Zealand landscape that quality … I was made the inhabitant of a country that didn’t exist.”[1]

I’ve always rather liked this quote (and still do), but when I read it again in Anna Jackson’s chapter Englishness (in A Made-Up Place), it occurred to me that what Mahy describes in this quote, while familiar to most New Zealanders, is another sort of biculturalism inherent to New Zealand (if you are willing to accept Pakeha culture as being distinct from English or Scottish culture…). … maybe???

[1] Margaret Mahy as quoted p.58 Anna Jackson, Geoffrey Miles, Harry Ricketts, Tatjana Schaefer, Kathryn Walls (2011)  A Made-Up Place: New Zealand in Young Adult Fiction   (Victoria University Press: Wellington)

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