Maurice Gee and his wife Margareta
Maurice Gee is one of New Zealand’s most distinguished authors, nevertheless, he is not well known to non-English speaking audiences. This is all the more astonishing as his work shows immense creativity and imaginativeness. His plots are incredibly rich and densely woven and turn in unexpected directions. His characters are tangible and their lives in the small towns and big cities of New Zealand vividly portrayed.
Also see a current article in Die Zeit (in German/page 2) lamenting that not more of Gee’s work has been translated. http://www.zeit.de/2012/41/Frankfurter-Buchmesse-Neuseeland/seite-1
Gee’s break-through probably came with his fifth novel Plumb which won the prestigious James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction in 1978. It is the story of a New Zealand minister, a convinced pacifist and socialist who is on a constant search for the light and loses his religion over it, but never his morality and faith. The sequels Meg and Sole Survivor follow the lives of Plumb’s children and the three novels have been published as the Plumb Trilogy. Plumb’s conflict often shows up in Gee’s many other novels which also include children’s and young adults’ literature. Many of his works have become the basis for films. The novel Crime Story was made into the movie Fracture which, directed by Larry Parr, premièred in 2004. In the same year the book In my Father’s Den was filmed by Brad McGann and was launched in Germany under the title Als das Meer verschwand. His classic children’s novel Under The Mountain was released as a major motion picture in 2009.
For the legacy he contributed to New Zealand culture Maurice Gee received the Art Foundation of New Zealand Icon Award in 2003. In 2012 he became the first Honoured New Zealand Writer of the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival.
Anita Goetthans has long admired Gee’s work and in 2002 was able to see her translation of his novel Live Bodies published in Germany by Black Ink under the title Lebende Fracht. Read a sample chapter on http://www.blackink.de/literatur/buecher/bib14/leseprobe.html
Anita is a free-lance translator and interpreter who also teaches Translation & Interpreting at AUT University and co-founded the New Zealand Literary Translators initiative in 2011. She has been living and working in Auckland since 1996. For her Master’s thesis she translated Maurice Gee’s The Fat Man. Anita has a deep love and respect for New Zealand literature and tries to carefully reflect the author’s intentions in her translations. You can contact her on firstname.lastname@example.org or go to her website www.germantranslations.co.nz
She is currently working on the translation of some of Tina Makareti’s short stories from her collection Once Upon A Time in Aotearoa.