Poetry Shelf noticeboard: The Public History Talks – Fiona Kidman on This Mortal Boy

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The Public History Talks are hosted by the Ministry for Culture & Heritage History Group at the National Library of New Zealand. They are usually held on the first Wednesday of the month from March to November.

Talks in this series are usually recorded and available online

  • Date: Wednesday, 7 August, 2019
  • Time: 12:10pm to 1:00pm
  • Cost: Free. You don’t need to book.
  • Location: Taiwhanaga Kahau — Auditorium (lower ground floor), Corner Molesworth and Aitken Streets, Wellington. Entrance on Aitken Street.
  • Contact Details: ATLOutreach@dia.govt.nz

Please join us to hear Dame Fiona Kidman discuss the writing of her award-winning book ‘This Mortal Boy’.

Albert Black, born in Belfast, was eighteen when he arrived in New Zealand as an assisted work immigrant, in 1953. Although his life in New Zealand started well, he was found guilty of murder after an altercation in an Auckland cafe, two years later. He was hanged in December 1955.

In writing the novel ‘This Mortal Boy’ (Vintage, 2018), Fiona Kidman explores the story behind the headlines and asks whether Black might have been found guilty of manslaughter rather than murder.

The 1950s were a time of social upheaval in New Zealand, and form a background to the events she describes. Central to this talk will be the methods of research employed and the boundaries between fact and fiction.

These free public history talks are a collaboration between the National Library of New Zealand and Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage. They are usually held on the first Wednesday of the month March to November.

Most talks are recorded. You can listen to them at New Zealand History

About the speaker

Dame Fiona is a Wellington writer. Over the years she has been a librarian, radio producer and screenwriter.

She has written more than thirty books, including novels, short fiction, memoir and poetry. Her latest novel ‘This Mortal Boy’ was awarded the Acorn Foundation’s Prize for Fiction at the Ockham Book Awards 2019. She has a DNZM, OBE and two French honours, including the French Legion of Honour.




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