The second generation of New Zealand writers is an informal collective title used in academic writing and literature reviews for those writers born in the 1920s who grew up as the publications of the "first generation" writers appeared.

Second generation writers began to be published in the final year of World War II, but it was not for another decade that their work was recognised as a new and important generation of writing.

annus mirabilisEdit

A period from 1957-1958 is often labelled the annus mirabilis of the New Zealand novel. In this year, five high quality novels were published by new writers. These first novels suggested great promise for the future of New Zealand literature. Five great New Zealand novels in a single year was significant at that time, as perhaps only a dozen of any literary interest had appeared in the twelve years since the war.[1]

Books of the annus mirabilisEdit


Janet Frame and James K. Baxter are the most significant second generation writers. Others of significance include Ian Cross, Bruce Mason (the nation's most respected playwright of that era) and Maurice Duggan.


  1. Jones, Lawrence. "Owls do Cry after fifty years: the novel in Context" in Owls do Cry. (Janet Frame Literary Trust, 50th Anniversary Edition) Auckland: Vintage (2007)