Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search

 

Massey author’s The Naturalist tops bestseller list

Massey author’s The Naturalist tops bestseller list

Massey University author Dr Thom Conroy’s novel The Naturalist is the current bestseller in New Zealand fiction.

Dr Conroy’s novel is a historical tale based on a true story set in 19th century New Zealand, Germany and London. Its central character is German naturalist, botanist and explorer Dr Ernst Dieffenbach, who championed equality between races, was fluent in Mäori and was known for his rebellious stand as a young student supporter of democracy in Germany.

On topping the Neilsen Weekly Bestseller list at one notch above Man Booker prize-winner The Luminaries, by Eleanor Catton, Dr Conroy says it’s been “satisfying and deeply humbling to know so many people are interested”.

The Naturalist, published earlier this month by Random House New Zealand under its Vintage label, is the result of six years’ research and writing. One of Dr Conroy’s main sources was Dieffenbach’s two-volume Travels in New Zealand, an account of his 18-month exploration of New Zealand’s land, people, following his voyage from London aboard the Tory.

The creative writing senior lecturer in the School of English and Media Studies at the Manawatü campus says he was struck by what he read about Dieffenbach while researching natural history for another project. He felt the German deserved more attention in light of his colourful personality and experiences
at the onset of New Zealand’s colonisation.

Among the milestones of Dieffenbach’s time in pre-settler New Zealand were; being the first European to reach the summit of Mt Egmont (Taranaki), and writing the first Māori dictionary and grammar.

Since launching in early August, the book has been well-reviewed and had wide media coverage, including an interview with National Radio’s Kim Hill.

American-born Pennsylvanian Dr Conroy, who has lived in New Zealand for nine years, drew on extensive historical records and research, inventing some scenes and additional minor characters to bring the German’s remarkable personality ad story to life. He hopes hisf ictional rendition of Dieffenbach’s story will have wide appeal – especially to those

intrigued by influential yet marginalised historical figures who provide fresh clues to the tangents and nuances of New Zealand’s colonial history.

Listen to Dr Thom Conroy’s interview with Kim Hill here.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 
Howard Davis: Christopher Marlowe & 'The Tragedy Of Dr. Faustus'

Previous versions of 'The Devil's Pact' can be traced back to the fourth century, Marlowe deviated significantly by depicting his protagonist as unable to burn his books or repent to a merciful God in order to have his contract annulled... More>>

ALSO:

Gold For RNZ: Muslim Post-9/11 Series, Kim Hill Win In New York

The Radio New Zealand podcast series Public Enemy has won a gold award for excellence for its presenter, Mohamed Hassan, at the prestigious New York Festival Radio Awards announced in Manhattan today. RNZ National’s Saturday Morning host, Kim Hill, also received a gold award for Best Radio Personality. More>>

Human Rights Commission: Give Nothing To Racism

A campaign urging New Zealanders to give nothing to racism and refuse to spread intolerance has been launched by some of the country’s most well-known people. More>>

Louis Vuitton Series Win: Emirates Team NZ Will Challenge For The America’s Cup

By beating Artemis 5-2 they now take on Oracle Team USA in the America’s Cup match starting next weekend. More>>

ALSO:

Monterey: Rodger Fox Big Band Invited To Celebrated Festival

The Rodger Fox Big Band has received an invitation to perform at the 2017 Monterey 60th Anniversary Jazz Festival in the USA in September of this year. More>>

AntARTica: Scientist’s Painting Discovered In Antarctic Hut

The New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust has discovered an almost perfectly preserved 118 year old watercolour painting among penguin-excrement, dust and mould covered papers found in an historic hut at Cape Adare, Antarctica. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • CULTURE
  • HEALTH
  • EDUCATION
 
 
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland