In the Time of the Manaroans

2021 - Shortlisted


This idiosyncratic and engrossing narrative of adolescence in rural New Zealand during the 1970s and 1980s reveals the little-known history of the countercultural Back to the Land movement. Miro Bilbrough’s story is a deft demonstration of the possibilities of memoir as a literary genre. The relationship of the narrator to her subject, her younger self, is mapped with nuance and compassion. Bilbrough writes about her challenging childhood and dysfunctional family without rancour, with an accumulation of vignettes that she leaves the reader free to interpret.