About Fiona

Born: Hawera, New Zealand, 26 March 1940 (nee Eakin)
Married: Ian Kidman (deceased) 1960 (daughter b. 1963, son b. 1965)

I grew up in Northland, and began a library career in Rotorua after I left school.

Books have always played a central role in my life. I learned to read one afternoon in hospital when I was six and, not being aware that there was anything else to read, read all the adult books in the hospital library over the weeks that followed. This didn’t make me especially clever, but it did make me aware of the powerful role of stories, and I have been telling them ever since.

I have worked in the media as a journalist, radio producer, and as a radio, film and television script writer, but now work wholly as a writer and occasional teacher of writing.

I have two grown-up children, and six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. My family is very close and we spend a lot of time together. I travel when I can, and have spent a lot of time in Asia, in particular, in Cambodia. I enjoy Greece and France most of all, and have strong links with both countries. I love film and theatre, and I enjoy gardening, though I am an amateur.

I have an OBE and DNZM for services to literature. I have received various awards and prizes. In 2009, the French government awarded me two honours. The first is the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Artes et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters) and the second is Légion d’Honneur (French Legion of Honour).

President of Honour of the following organizations:

Former President of Honour of the New Zealand Book Council
2008/09  for NZ Society of Authors (PEN International Inc)

Patron of the following organizations:

NZ Refugee and Migrant Family Reunification Trust
NZ Poetry Society

Trustee Emerita (Fiona retired from active Trust membership after 16 years service):

Randell Cottage Writers Trust

Represented at various festivals:

including Auckland, Tauranga, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra, Tasmania, Vancouver (2), Winnipeg, Calgary, Banff, Edinburgh, St Malo, Toronto.

Ambassador:

Te Auaha New Zealand Institute of Applied Creativity (inc. Whitireia Performing Arts Centre)

Festivals and readings

2012

Etonnants Voyageurs St Malo, France

2014

Tauranga Readers and Writers Festival
Marlborough Book Festival
Keynote speaker NZ Association of Teachers of English
Harbourfront Festival Toronto, Canada

2016

March, Ruapehu Writers Festival in Ohakune
Belfast Book Festival
New Zealand Night with Witi Ihimaera, Fiona Kidman, and Jason Bae, Foyle’s Book Shop, London.

Films made:

Needles and Glass (short story) Low Production with Rawiri Paratene and Miranda Harcourt, selection for Montreal Film Festival Clare (the Gibson Group).

Author of over 60 scripts for radio and television (founder member New Zealand Writers’ Guild).
Producer of ‘Writing’ Programme, Radio New Zealand, 1975 -80

Judge of the following:

Commonwealth Fiction Prize, Tasmania Regional Fiction Prize, numerous New Zealand competitions including Katherine Mansfield Short Story Awards.
Commonwealth Fiction Prize, South East Asia Pacific Region, 1996 and 2011.

 

Career History

Early career: Librarian 1960s Free lance journalism. Mentored by Bruce Mason and William Austin in theatre and radio theatre. First short stories appeared In ‘Te Ao Hou’, ‘Arena’, ‘Landfall’. 1970 -80 Media writer, radio producer and critic (winner Ngaio Marsh Award for television writing 1972) 1972 –75 First Administrator NZ Book Council, founded for UNESCO …

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