I had a very pleasurable time yesterday afternoon at Diane Brown and Philip Temple's home to celebrate her receiving a New Year's ONZM honour for her services to literature. I know I have benefited greatly from Diane's services.
Way back when I was a budding writer but had no idea what I wanted to write I did an extramural creative writing course with the New Zealand Institute of Business Studies. I was very fortunate to have Diane as my tutor, and she was one of these fabulous tutors who told you the truth! My poetry was overdone, my short stories too flowery, but she enjoyed my long prose work and offered lots of constructive criticism that set me a great foundation for my writing career.
When I had the fabulous but terrifying experience of actually getting a publishing contract for my first novel, Overkill, Diane and Philip were kind enough to sit down with me and go through the contract, pointing out potential barbs but also explaining what the whole thing meant. That was hugely reassuring at an exciting but daunting time.
Diane has given so much to writers in New Zealand, nationally through the NZSA and also at an individual level, taking so many under her wing. Congratulations, Diane, your honour is so richly deserved!