The connection between a colony and its founder, centre and margin, is always paradoxical. Where once Britain sent colonists out into the world, now the descendants of those colonists return to interrogate the centre. This is a book about four of these returners: Harold Williams, journalist, linguist, Foreign Editor of The Times; Ronald Syme, spy, libertarian, historian of ancient Rome; John Platt-Mills, radical lawyer and political activist; and Joseph Burney Trapp, librarian, scholar and protector of culture. These were men, born in remote New Zealand, who achieved fame in Europe-even as they were lost sight of at home. Men who became, from the point of view of their country of origin, expatriates. A writer of penetrating insight, Martin Edmond explores the intersections of past and present in the lives of these four extraordinary individuals. Their stories combine, in the hands of this award-winning writer, to a moving reflection upon New Zealand's place in the world, then and now.
Martin Edmond was born in Ohakune and grew up in small North Island towns. After university study, and seven years touring internationally with Red Mole theatre, he moved to Sydney, where he continues to live and write. In 2013 he received the Prime Minister's Award for Literary Achievement in Non-Fiction; and in 2015 was awarded the Michael King Writer's Fellowship. This book is the outcome of that fellowship. Also by Martin Edmond: The Dreaming Land (BWB, 2015); Barefoot Years (BWB, 2014); Dark Night: Walking with McCahon (AUP, 2011); Waimarino County (AUP, 2007); Chronicle of the Unsung (AUP, 2004); The Resurrection of Philip Clairmont (AUP, 1999).