, Volume 44, Issue 3, pp 208-221
Date: 15 Nov 2012

Maurice Gee’s Brilliant Borrowings of Maurice Gee and Significant Others: Realism and Postmodernism in Gee’s Books for Children and Adults

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This paper examines the work of one of New Zealand’s most acclaimed writers, Maurice Gee, and the use of his children’s fiction as an experimental ground for postmodernist techniques further developed in his writing for adults. In particular, it considers Gee’s borrowings of his own and others’ non-fictional and fictional material, to produce richly literary, historical novels. The paper argues that realist and postmodernist features are woven into the children’s and adult books, but that the balance is differently skewed in each. It thus addresses an area largely atypical of the children’s novel, but one that should be of concern to children’s literature critics.

Vivien van Rij wrote her doctoral thesis on the children’s fiction of award-winning New Zealand writer Maurice Gee. She is a lecturer in pre-service teacher education at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand where she teaches children’s literature and literacy. She has also taught courses in education, and has an interest in the interconnections between academic and pedagogical features of literature.