The last time I saw Michael King was at the 2003 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards, which he won for non-fiction that year.
I had gone to support my old friend, Hone Tuwhare, who won the poetry section of the award. During the evening I got talking to Michael, who I had met several times before at literary events without getting to know him well. I had also met him though my sister, film-maker Clare O’Leary, who had filmed an interview with Michael a few years earlier, and which was subsequently shown at film festivals and on Maori Television.
I was surprised and delighted when he told me he had read most of my work and that he really liked it and rated it highly. We talked for a while before he was whisked off into the award ceremony. I remember his last words to me were: ‘Keep writing, Michael’.