Thursday, 15 November 2012

Utlu Meets Aotearoa

Deniz Utlu is a Berlin-based writer doing fascinating things with short fiction. Rest assured that if he does ever finish a novel, it will be good and you'll hear about it here. An Aotearoa Affair is a "blog fest from Kiel to Kaitaita" celebrating New Zealand's year as guest of honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair and featuring writers and bloggers from both countries.

One of the things I've found fascinating during my brief peeks at New Zealand literature this year is that the relationship between - oh God, what words to use? - white and of colour, majority and minority, Paheka and Maori - is the opposite to the one we seem to have in Europe, at least for many of the writers I became aware of. In that the Maori were there first and everyone else came later, and in that I sensed a different kind of respect and a great deal more interest for and in their cultures.

So Deniz's "minimals from the belly of the beast", imagining a Berlin without the immigrants and their descendants who make the system work, seemed the perfect piece to submit to An Aotearoa Affair. I'm so glad they came together.

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