This Mortal Boy

Date: Wednesday 7 August 2019, 12:10pm to 1pm
Cost: Free. You don't need to book.
Contact details: ATLOutreach@dia.govt.nz
Part of the Public history talk series

Join us to hear Dame Fiona Kidman discuss the writing of her award-winning book 'This Mortal Boy'. In writing the novel she explores the story behind the headlines. Central to this talk will be the methods of research employed and the boundaries between fact and fiction.

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.

Fiona Kidman with a cup of tea.
Dame Fiona Kidman. Photo by Robert Cross. All Rights Reserved.