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Biography Martin Edmond

Martin (1952- ) is a writer, screenwriter, and a poet. Martin Edmond was born in Ohakune, the only son of Trevor and Lauris Edmond, and grew up in small North Island towns. Edmond completed a BA in English & Anthropology at the University of Auckland, and an MA (Hons) in English at Victoria University of Wellington. After briefly working as a Junior Lecturer at Victoria University, Edmond joined the avant garde theatre group Red Mole. In 1977 Edmond began to tour with the Red Mole Theatre Group. These tours took him around New Zealand, to the United States, Mexico, the United Kingdom and Europe. In 1981 Edmond settled in Australia, where he worked as a freelance writer.

Edmond’s first book of poems Streets of Music (1980) won the Jessie Mackay Award for Best First Book of Poetry 1980, and was followed by Houses, Days, Skies (1988). His first book of non-fiction The Autobiography of My Father (1992) won 3rd prize at the Wattie Book Awards, 1993.

Chronicle of the Unsung | Waimarino Country: and Other Excursions | The Resurrection of Philip Clairmont | Luca Antara | The Supply Party: Ludwig Becker on the Burke and Wills Expedition

The Autobiography of My Father is an unconventional account of the life of Edmond’s father, Trevor. Told through the voices of both men, the book was greeted by many critics as a response to Lauris Edmond’s three-volume biography. Praised and condemned, the book was described as both a eulogy and an elegy, or as Ross Stevens writes, ‘this book is more than a re-setting of our perspective on Trevor Edmond: it transcends the transient need for the putting right. It is an elegant elegy, a beautiful and affecting account of father by son.’

Edmond’s other non-fiction works including Chemical Evolution: Drugs & Art Production 1970-80 (1997), The Resurrection of Philip Clairmont (1999) and Fenua Imi: the Pacific in History & Imaginary (2002) and Chronicle of the Unsung (2004).

The Resurrection of Philip Clairmont was a finalist at the Montana Book Awards 2000. Part-memoir, part-documentary and part-catalogue, the book is an account of the life and work of the New Zealand artist who was Edmond’s friend. In Art New Zealand, Tim Walker writes ‘The Resurrection of Philip Clairmont significantly avoids the usual limitations of biography. Almost a decade in the making, this brave and wonderful book is a provocative and deeply moving account of Clairmont’s life, art and death.’

Chronicle of the Unsung is described as a book ‘in which [Edmond] meshes his real life and his thinking life in a fresh take on the notion of biography, a travelogue of the mind.’
Edmond mingles biography and autobiography in an unusual work, beautifully written and often powerful and moving. Four quite separate periods or episodes in author Martin Edmond's life are linked by a number of themes and are often the excuse for discussions of historical figures, typically on society's margins, or reflections on the nature of art and its relation to personal life. The sections are set in Europe, Australia, Fiji and New Zealand, and one of the fascinations of the work is the skillful way in which Martin conveys the power, often sinister and disturbing, of the places in which he has lived and the impact the locations seem to have on his personal life. The book thus becomes at one level an account of Martin's own development, of his process of self-discovery, and is another varient on the theme that has always interested him, the nature of the creative personality. The last section concerns a trip to a school reunion at Ohakune and deals with Martin's relations with his well-known family and especially his mother.

Edmond’s career as a scriptwriter includes the screenplays for the award-winning feature films: Illustrious Energy (1988); The Footstep Man (1992) and Terra Nova (1998). He also wrote the screenplays for the short films, Philosophy (1997) and Earth Angel (2002). Philosophy won Best Short Film, New Zealand Film Awards 1999. Terra Nova won best first film at the Montreal World Film Festival, 1998 and a Gold Award from the Australian Cinematographers Society in 1999. Earth Angel was awarded Best Screenplay at the Brekfast Film and Music Festival, 2003.

Chronicle of the Unsung won the biography category of the Montana New Zealand Book Awards 2005.

Ghost Who Writes (Montana estates essay series)(2004) is an essay on 'voices', in which Edmond turns his attention to the masks behind which writers hide. It was published by Four Winds Press as part of the Montana Estates Essay Series. Edmond wrote 'The Temple of Baal' for Myths of the 21st Century (Reed, 2006).

Luca Antara(Addenda, 2006) is a memoir, a history and a travel book. It draws parallels between the life of the author and the life of a historical figure, Antonio da Nova.

Waimarino Country: and Other Excursions(Auckland University Press, 2007) is a new collection of essays by Edmond, which have been described by the publisher as 'elegant discursions on themes of memory. The The Supply Party: Ludwig Becker on the Burke and Wills Expedition was published in March 2009.

With thanks to New Zealand Book Council for above details

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