Alan Duff: Once Were Warriors

(1884 words)
  • Otto Heim (University of Hong Kong)

Alan Duff's first novel, published when he was forty years old, immediately established the writer as a literary voice not heard before in New Zealand. Drawing on a youth and early adulthood of failed expectations and broken promises and channelling it through a narrative idiom shaped by American literary influences, Duff's novel broke the mould of the Maori novel as it had taken shape in the previous two decades and ushered in a broadening of the spectrum of Maori fiction in the 1990s. No writer before Duff had focused as resolutely or seriously on suburban Maori welfare dependence as a shared experience, and Duff's language successfully articulated it as an ideology or class consciousness that his writing sought to challenge and …

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Heim, Otto. "Once Were Warriors". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 19 March 2009
[, accessed 01 October 2016.]