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French honour for NZ writer

In the last couple of days one of New Zealand's writers, Dame Fiona Kidman, has been awarded two very high honours from France, I gather for her work promoting French writers to work in NZ. She was awarded these at a ceremony in the French Residence in Wellington.   One is called the highest civilian award in France.

The website below said, "Dame Fiona received a medal of Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres for her long and distinguished literary career, which also included a long and close association with French culture. As the well-deserved applause for Dame Fiona died down, the Ambassador reminded her that he liked surprises. And he had a very pleasant surprise in store for her. Dame Fiona now became a Chevalier of the French Legion of Honour."

Dame Fiona spent a year at Menton in France, which is where Katherine Mansfield lived and where each year one NZ writer gets the chance to live and work.  I have not realised she was specially connected with France.  The books I know of hers are NZ oriented, I think.  I have read some and generally liked them, though one was a bit of a disappointment.  I am keen to read one of her recent historical ones, The Captive Wife, about an event in NZ's very early European history where a woman was kidnapped by Maori.  

Perhaps I should spend a year reading more NZ fiction.  There seems rather a lot I have missed or want to re-visit.  

Apparently JK Rowling has also received the French Legion of Honour award.  And Dame Fiona thought Sebastian Faulks had too, but I couldn't see that on the web.  

Cheers, Caro.

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