The History Speech

Author(s): Mark Sweet

NZ Fiction

It is 1960s provincial New Zealand, and a set of upper middle class families enjoy the good life together. But just under the surface of the conventionality, there are undercurrents.


Adolescent Callum Gow's father is a bully, his mother is having an affair, and there are secrets about abuse, suicide and the past. In amongst this, Callum is trying to understand his growing identity and sexuality. His only refuge is his grandfather, but this is in danger as Callum's father has grandfather wrongfully committed as he won't agree to a merger of the family business. Callum has to resolve his internal conflicts about who he is and resist social conformity to rescue his grandfather, get himself and his mother away from his father's control and tell the truth about the past.

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Product Information

Finalist in the Young Adult Fiction Award for the 2020 NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults

Mark Sweet (Ngā Māhanga, Tītahi, Taranaki) was born in Napier and grew up in Waimarama. In the 1980s, he lived in Hong Kong and travelled extensively in China, returning in 2007 to study Tai Chi and Quigong. After careers in the property sector and restaurants, Mark is now devoting his time to writing. His first novel, Zhu Mao, was published in 2011 after Mark participated in Te Papa Tupu, a six-month mentoring programme for Māori writers. With photographer Richard Brimmer, he created the book Portrait & Opinion, and in 2015 he wrote Wine: Stories from Hawke’s Bay. He has also had short stories published in collections from the Pikihuia Awards and in Stories on the Four Winds: Ngā Hau e Whā. 

General Fields

  • : 9781775503958
  • : Huia Publishers
  • : Huia Publishers
  • : October 2019
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Mark Sweet
  • : Paperback