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  • Published: 29 March 2022
  • ISBN: 9780143775805
  • Imprint: RHNZ Vintage
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 272
  • RRP: $40.00

So Far, For Now

On journeys, widowhood and stories that are never over

Evocative, wry and thought-provoking, this is a rewarding journey with one of our finest writers.

It is a little over a decade since Fiona Kidman wrote her last volume of memoir. But her story did not end on its last page; instead her life since has been busier than ever, filled with significant changes, new writing and fascinating journeys. From being a grandmother to becoming a widow, from the suitcase-existence of book festivals to researching the lives and deaths of Jean Batten and Albert Black, she has found herself in new territory and viewed the familiar with fresh eyes. She takes us to Paris and Pike River, to Banff, Belfast and Bangkok, searching for houses in Hanoi and Hawera, reliving her past in Waipu and creating new memories in Otago.

These locations and experiences – among others – have shaped Fiona’s recent years, and in this lively book she shares the insights she has picked up along the way.

  • Published: 29 March 2022
  • ISBN: 9780143775805
  • Imprint: RHNZ Vintage
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 272
  • RRP: $40.00

About the author

Fiona Kidman

Fiona Kidman has published over 30 books, including novels, poetry, non-fiction and a play. She has worked as a librarian, radio producer and critic, and as a scriptwriter for radio, television and film. The New Zealand Listener wrote: ‘In her craft and her storytelling and in her compassionate gutsy tough expression of female experience, she is the best we have.’

She has been the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships; in more recent years, The Captive Wife was runner-up for the Deutz Medal for Fiction and was joint-winner of the Readers’ Choice Award in the 2006 Montana New Zealand Book Awards, and her short story collection The Trouble with Fire was shortlisted for both the NZ Post Book Awards and the Frank O’Connor Short Story Award. Her novel This Mortal Boy won the 2019 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize, the NZ Booklovers Award, the NZSA Heritage Book Award for Fiction and the Ngaio Marsh Crime Writing Award for Best Novel.

She was created a Dame (DNZM) in 1998 in recognition of her contribution to literature, and more recently a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and a Chevalier of the French Legion of Honour. ‘We cannot talk about writing in New Zealand without acknowledging her,’ wrote New Zealand Books. ‘Kidman’s accessible prose and the way she shows (mainly) women grappling to escape from restricting social pressures has guaranteed her a permanent place in our fiction.’

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Praise for So Far, For Now

So far, for now: On journeys, widowhood and stories that are never over is a beautiful, must-read memoir from one of Aotearoa’s most treasured writers and activists, Dame Fiona Kidman. . . . Kidman records what many of us intuit about our lives: that there are patterns; that we rest our eyes on what is important or what we want the world to see. She does not go easy on herself or others—far from it. She uses her immense EQ and the ability to peer at situations and people with empathy and a critical eye to form her own conclusions. . . . So far, for now showcases Kidman’s trademark exquisite writing, and is told with tenderness, humour and empathy. There is delight and resignation for how life has turned out and a sense of unapologetically inhabiting her whole self. If we’re lucky, this will come to us, too, in our later years. In Kidman’s own words: “Every life is extraordinary if you allow it to be. I am grateful for mine.”

Caroline Barron, Kete New Books from Aotearoa

“Things keep on happening,” the Wellington author notes in the preface to So Far, For Now. The book covers a period of immense change in her life, with the loss of husband Ian, journeys into the past, and a constant engagement with the present. There is pain and grief, coming to terms with change, and being grateful. Re-exploring earlier works, researching family, and making new connections. And visits to Pike River, and Dunedin, where Kidman was the inaugural Irish Writing Fellow in 2021.

Gavin Bertram, South Books

Fiona is warm, witty and wise, and anything she writes is well worth reading.

Woman's Weekly

Dame Fiona Kidman's very moving new memoir, her third, a book of essays, begins with a loss, and ends with a meditation on grief. . . . threaded through So far, for now is a theme that makes Kidman incredibly likeable: the art of rediscovering oneself, or discovering for oneself. Kidman is a traveller, an investigator, of not just others’ lives, but her own. . . . Kidman endearingly acknowledges shifts in her own reflections, that her perspective about events and other people, has changed with age. This is a feminists' memoir, of being called a w.... in Parliament, patronised, stalked. She contemplates abortion, relationships, and families. As one of our greatest living writers, Kidman’s insights are a joy, a taonga.

Kelly Dennett, Stuff

The subtitle of this new book of autobiography tells us everything about what to expect: “On journeys, widowhood and stories that are never over.” What it can’t say is just how moving these pages are, what a tribute and what a story. Within the first few pages you are struck by the bravery of the author. We should expect no less from Fiona Kidman, author of more than thirty books, but these are deeply personal feelings. She talks about getting older, which can mean the loss of friends and loved ones, but it can also mean the bubbling up of inner resistance . . . I like the conversational nature of what I read, the situations that lead to interesting observations and insights. . . . This is a wonderful addition to Fiona Kidman’s novels and autobiography.

Marcus Hobson, NZ Booklovers

Her latest book So far, for now, a collection of personal and social essays, confirms her as a writer and a person of humility, modesty, and quiet strength. But another quality shows through . . . Kidman is someone who cares about other people, and there are occasions when she cares very deeply.

Steve Braunias, ReadingRoom

This is a personal memoir that doesn't distance the reader. . . . It's an amalgamation that makes sense of what memories stack up to and what they are telling us. . . . People, places, extraordinary events and big life stories have driven the work, fiction and nonfiction, Kidman has made for us over the decades.

Marion Castree, The Dominion Post

So Far, For Now is a meticulously crafted collection, a series of essays that explore the huge life so far by that master of New Zealand literature, Dame Fiona Kidman. Framed by the measured-yet-moving account of her husband's fatal fall and the poignant-yet-practical contemplation of the widowhood that has followed, the collection pays tribute to a truly great marriage, the celebration and loss of which ripples across every page but also reveals both within and beyond, that relationship. Kidman emerges life-size from her words: spirited, adventurous, loud and consistent in her demands for justice, quietly determined in her quest for truth, honest in her admission of vulnerability and of pain. . . [Her] gentle acceptance, however, is belied by the sustained energy and appetite for life and work that emanates from the writing of this collection. There is grace, certainly, in Kidman's reconciliation to the conditions in life she cannot change but in no sense has she surrendered to age. On the contrary, in So Far, For Now, she has mastered it.

Rachel O'Connor, Canvas

So Far For Now is a mixture of biography and history, supposition and imagintation, sharing fragments and "bones" of her past, in a story day by day still of its making.

Jessie Neilson, Otago Daily Times

Awards & recognition

Ockham New Zealand Book Awards

Longlisted  •  2023  •  Ockham Book Awards