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Sometimes, talent runs in the family. These books are by pairs of authors who are related to each other, though they might not demonstrate any great family resemblance, in content, style or voice.
· One of Aotearoa’s most internationally celebrated writers is C K Stead, poet, novelist, short story writer, literary critic and memoirist. His first novel, Smith’s Dream (1971), is set in a New Zealand governed by a military dictatorship; his 2006 novel, My Name Was Judas, offers an alternative gospel. His daughter is the novelist Charlotte Grimshaw, whose latest work, The Mirror Book (2021), is a memoir exploring growing up in a literary family, in which writing and reading frame relationships.
· Writing the smartest chick-lit you’ll ever read, Catherine Robertson’s latest novel is The Sweet Second Life of Darrell Kincaid. Her son Callum is the author of a graphic novel, Bird Dog, about growing up in Wellington as a closeted gay man.
· The Vintner’s Luck is the book that brought international attention to Elizabeth Knox in 1998, but her YA fantasy is beloved by legions, and The Absolute Book is absolutely fabulous. Jack Barrowman is her son, and his short story “The Sharkskin” was included in a recent anthology of Aotearoa New Zealand science fiction and fantasy, Monsters in the Garden.
· A parsonage in Yorkshire was the home of the 19th-century literary family, the Brontës. The three sisters (along with their brother Branwell) developed childhood imaginary play and oral storytelling into collaborative writing and eventually into poems and novels: Charlotte’s Jane Eyre found success first, followed by Emily’s Wuthering Heights and Anne’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.
· The poet, novelist and Booker prize-winner A S Byatt wrote The Children’s Book (2009), loosely based on the life of E Nesbit, following the fates of several inter-related families remarkable for their artistic and literary sensibilities. Her younger sister is Margaret Drabble, whose 2016 novel is The Dark Flood Rises, exploring ageing and mortality in the context of an increasingly precarious world.
· Lani Wendt Young writes YA fantasy, contemporary romance and literary fiction, inspired by the diverse mythology of Oceania and the richness of her heritage as a Samoan/Māori woman; the Telesa series has been described as a Samoan version of Twilight. Her uncle is Albert Wendt – novelist, poet, artist and academic – who has been at the forefront of the development of Pacific literature for decades; in his 2015 short memoir, Out of the Vaipe, the Deadwater, he returns to his childhood in Samoa and explores the role of place, memory and narrative, comparing the real place with the one he has created in fiction.