Decorated author James Norcliffe opened the floor at the 2023 Storylines Margaret Mahy Day on 2 April as the winner of the Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal and Lecture Award, New Zealand’s most prestigious award in the field of writing, illustrating and publishing for young people. Also a recent recipient of the Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement, James Norcliffe was able to speak in both his capacity as a children’s author and a renowned poet.
His speech, “Irksome Confections: A Defence of Fantasy,” offered a humorous catalogue of accusations levelled against writers of fantasy, and provided a powerful reminder of why we need imagination, magic, and stories. “Of course there is mystery and wonder in the real world, enough for a million mind-bending novels,” he said, “but for all that, there remains room for fantasy […] a wide ranging exploration unhampered by natural laws.”
Read the full lecture here.