September 4, 2019 posted by John Duke

AFTERGLOW: Alan Duff: A Conversation With My Country

AFTERGLOW: Alan Duff: A Conversation With My Country

During lunchtime on Wednesday 28th August we were lucky to be joined by Alan Duff for a discussion on his new book A Conversation with my Country, published by Penguin Random House. Alan was joined by Oliver Hartwill of The New Zealand Initiative, a think tank aiming to ‘sketch pathways towards a better future’, who explained the genesis of Alan’s book for us. Approached by The New Zealand Initiative to write a book akin to J.D. Vance’s popular memoir Hillbilly Elegy which might help to explain the current socioeconomic climate in New Zealand, Alan was at first perplexed as to how he would go about it – until during one of his daily baths (his own ‘think tank’) when the phrase a conversation with my country came to him, and the words flowed from there. Alan spoke briefly about himself and his experiences since the 1992 publication of Once Were Warriors – also hosted by Unity – including his own charitable initiative Duffy Books in Homes (visit the website here) He then opened up the floor for questions from the audience, which came thick and fast, and remained true to his willingness to foster conversation – only having to deflect an aggressive line of questioning once or twice. Covering topics such as the prison system, the effects of bad parenting and the welfare state, it was a riveting 45 minutes and certainly will have provoked some interesting dinner table conversation.

Alan Duff chats with members of the audience before the official talk starts

Oliver Hartwill explains how A Conversation With My Country came into being

Plenty to think about

Alan and Oliver discuss the book’s genesis

The Q&A session gets underway with some impassioned dialogues

A fully engaged lunch time audience

Alan gets to grips with questions from the floor

Audience members commented on the capacity of Alan’s writing to help them engage fully with the issues raised

Alan Duff

The conversation continues over book signing

Photo op

A Conversation With My Country is available in store and online now.

words and pictures by John Duke

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