I’m thrilled to have FIRE’S CARESS shortlisted alongside some brilliant books in the 2021 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. Congratulations to all the authors!
FIRE’S CARESS is the sixth book in the Telesa world. The judges said of Teuila and Keahi’s story – “Lani Wendt Young brings her characteristic linguistic flair and talent for narrative pacing to this return to the Telesā world. Fire’s Caress is a novel of brilliant collision as the roiling, arcane powers of Sāmoa’s mythological past confront modern-day corporate hegemony. Global themes of environmentalism, neocolonial resistance, and the vitality of traditional stories are embodied in deftly written characters, who crackle with intensity and life.”
My family is teasing me now because “crackling with intensity” makes us think of eating pork crackle and a hefty Size 2 roast pua’a 😂. Which by the way, would be a great way to celebrate being shortlisted in the awards!
Thank you to my NZ publisher One Tree House Press for their fab work on this book, and my editor Pip Desmond who helped make FIRE’S CARESS a better story.
Usually when I write, I write first for brown women, young and old, women from Oceania wherever they may be in the world. I write for the teenager I used to be, growing up in Samoa, hungry for stories, I write for my daughters growing up in both Samoa and New Zealand, navigating multiple cultures and identities. But in Fire’s Caress, I’m also writing for our young men who are so often either left out of the literary narrative, or else they are condemned to forever be the criminal, or the tough (and silent) rugby player. Keahi is a Hollywood movie star who has worked hard for his success, but he carries the scars of unresolved childhood trauma. This book is very much about his journey to work through that. I want our young men to know it’s okay to be vulnerable and that while seeking help for our mental health can be hard, it’s a courageous thing to do and so worthwhile.
This is the second book of mine to be selected as a finalist in these awards. In 2020, AFAKASI WOMAN was shortlisted as well.
I’m not doing too badly with my goal of writing/publishing at least one new novel every year. (And to make sure they’re books that #ArentAwful 😜)
Thank you to all the fab readers for your book support and encouragement. You make this writing journey so worthwhile.