Robin Hyde was a pen name used by Iris Wilkinson, a journalist, commentator, poet and novelist born in 1906. Her work has been praised for its intelligence, its stylistic interest and beauty, and its astute social commentary. Hyde's autobiographical novel The godwits fly is now recognised as a classic account of a young woman growing up in a working-class New Zealand family. Hyde had an adventurous life that included reporting from the war zone during the Sino–Japanese conflict in 1938 and championing the cause of Ōrākei Māori. Hers was not an easy life – she had a painful physical disability and was dependent on painkillers, had two children (one stillborn) outside marriage, and suffered greatly from depression, taking her own life in London in 1939. The watercolour shown here is a self-portrait.
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