Tessa Duder's Alex quartet of young-adult novels introduced feminism into New Zealand children's literature. They chart the life of Alex, a young woman determined to confront and defeat the social norms of the 1950s and 1960s that are holding her back. In the first book Alex negotiates many challenging situations in her bid to win a spot on the New Zealand swimming team for the 1960 Rome Olympics. The award-winning author of Alex was herself a champion swimmer as a teenager in the 1950s.
The first Alex book was made into a film in 1993. The screenplay was by Ken Catran, who had also adapted Maurice Gee's book Under the mountain for television. In the 2000s Catran himself was an award-winning author of young-adult novels.
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