A Q&A with Fiona Kidman on ‘All Day at the Movies’

This inspiring novel, set in New Zealand, is a powerful exploration of family ties, heartbreaks and the different courses brothers and sisters take. Written by New Zealand’s literary national treasure, All Day at the Movies explores the long-lasting impact of the decisions we make; some with devastating effects in those we love the most. We talked to Dame Fiona Kidman about what makes this novel so special.
Describe All Day at the Movies in one sentence
This novel is a generational novel examining the effects of impoverished beginnings on one family of siblings and how they seek survival.
Why did you write this book?
I am an only child and I have always been a watcher of families and the different courses brothers and sisters take. But the book is also a hymn and a love letter to small town and rural New Zealand, like the places where I grew up. The book is a kind of summary of the country where I have spent my life.
Where do you find inspiration?
Inspiration is all around me, in the conversations overheard, engaged in, remembered. I live in a beautiful landscape, overlooking a mountain range, the sea, small white houses on the hills. Every day something changes and I’m excited by that.
Which writers do you admire?
Alice Munro is right at the top. The Nova Scotian writer, Alistair MacLeod was a wonderful writer. I’ve had a curious life long fascination for the French writer Marguerite Duras: I read a lot of French and Russian fiction when I was young. In contemporary terms Colm Toibin, Joan Didion, Toni Morrison, Ann Enright, Elizabeth Strout. I read a lot of poetry: Seamus Heaney remains one of my favourite poets. I like John Burnside’s work very much.
Who is your hero of fiction?
My fictional hero(s) are Jo March from Little Women when I’m wearing a virtuous hat, and Becky Sharp in Vanity Fair when I’m wearing the other hat – of course she comes to a sticky end, but she is much funnier.
What are you doing when you’re not writing?
I go to a lot of movies – sometimes I will spend all day at the movies. I read, tend my hillside garden that has been filled with beautiful spring flowering native trees over the last month. Best of all, I spend time with my family – my husband Ian, our son and daughter, our six grandchildren and four great grandchildren. With spouses and partners, I have 17 descendants so far, and their company gives joy and meaning to my life.
The super power you wish you had.
I’d like to be one of the world’s best cooks
What are you currently reading?
Decline & Fall on Savage Street a novel by a wonderful New Zealand writer called Fiona Farrell.
Name the book you’ve re-read the most.
Lives of Girls and Women by Alice Munro.
What is next for Fiona Kidman?
I am finishing a novel based on the story of a young man who came from Belfast to New Zealand in the early 1950s. It is the first book I have written in which a man is the central character and it is an interesting and challenging experience. When it is finished, oh, with luck, a long hot summer, cool drinks in the garden. I’ll take it from there.

Posted on January 4, 2018 by jimena in , , , , ,

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