Becky Manawatu’s Auē an Enthralling Bestseller
Things have gone right for New Zealand author Becky Manawatu. “Spectacularly,” Tina Makeriti writes in a review for The Guardian. “Unusually for a first book, Auē won New Zealand’s most lucrative fiction prize, the Ockham’s Jann Medlicott Acorn prize for fiction, as well as the Ngaio Marsh award for best crime novel.”
“It has received wide acclaim in New Zealand, and has been a bestseller for many months. Behind Manawatu was the support of an indie publisher, Makaro Press, and an eminent senior Māori writer, Renée, who mentored her until the manuscript found its final form. And now Auē has been published in Australia, also unusual for a New Zealand book.
“In bringing to the page characters who maim, but also characters who love fiercely, Manawatu, 40, has had to enter the aching heart of this story and bring her characters back from dark places,” Makeriti writes. “Auē has done well because it is expertly crafted, but also because it has something indefinable: enthralling, puzzling, gripping and familiar, yet otherworldly. I do see [Māori] in it, but I also see more.”
Makeriti is the author of Once Upon a Time in Aotearoa, which won the inaugural fiction prize at the Ngā Kupu Ora Māori Book Awards in 2011 and Where the Rēkohu Bone Sings, which won the Ngā Kupu Ora Aotearoa Māori Book Award for Fiction in 2014.
Original article by Tina Makeriti, The Guardian, March 10, 2022.