Beattie's Book Blog - unofficial homepage of the New Zealand book community
Former leading New Zealand publisher and bookseller, and widely experienced judge of both the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, talks about what he is currently reading, what impresses him and what doesn't, along with chat about the international English language book scene, and links to sites of interest to booklovers.
Two Otago Alumni will be conferred with honorary
doctorates at May graduation ceremonies next month.
Hon Justice Forrest Miller
Honourable Justice Forrest (Forrie) Miller’s contribution to the
modernisation of New Zealand’s court systems will be recognised when he
receives an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Otago at its
18 May graduation ceremony.
Born in South Otago in 1956, Justice Miller gained a Bachelor of
Arts (History) from Otago in 1978 and an LLB with honours in 1981.
After his studies he worked in Alexandra for Bodkins Solicitors
and in the mid-1980s moved to Wellington to join Chapman Tripp, where he worked
in a range of general practice areas, including commercial and public law
litigation (specialising in securities) and regulatory and competition law. He
became a partner at the firm in 1987.
He was appointed to the High Court of New Zealand in 2004, and to
the Court of Appeal in 2013.
In 2013 he also became one of the first New Zealanders to receive
the Australian Institute of Judicial Administration Award for Excellence.
The award jury recognised his efforts establishing the Earthquake
Commission list, created in 2011, which was aimed at reducing the burden on the
courts system by dealing with cases efficiently in the wake of the Christchurch
earthquakes. All case-managed
conferences – where judges and lawyers meet before the litigation process to
resolve differences – were managed by Justice Miller until his appointment to
the Court of Appeal in 2013.
Before his appointment to the Court of
Appeal the Judge was heavily involved in reforms which reducing waiting lists
for civil hearings in the High Court.
Justice Miller has been
instrumental in developing electronic casebooks, which are now routinely used
for hearings in the Court of Appeal. He chairs the Judicial
Reference Group, which is a cross-bench committee working with the Ministry of
Justice to modernise the court system
by, among other things, developing an electronic filing and case
management system for all New Zealand courts.
He also chairs the Judicial Libraries Management Board, which
exercises governance responsibilities over the quality of judicial libraries.
The Board’s current focus is on improving judges' access to electronic
resources, to ensure they have access to important works from the judicial
Justice Miller has maintained strong links with the University’s
Faculty of Law and has often returns to Otago to judge student competitions. He
has also engaged with research in the Faculty, including a 2018 Legal Issues
Centre report on delays in the High Court to which he contributed feedback and
He has also served as chairman of Unison Networks Ltd, the
electricity distributor for the Hawke’s Bay, Rotorua and Taupo regions, and as
a Wellington Girls’ College Board of Trustees member.
18 May graduation ceremony at 4 pm (Commerce and Law) Justice Forrest Miller,
Court of Appeal, Hon LLD
Williams, the founder of New Zealand’s leading specialist non-fiction press and
alumna of the University of Otago, will receive an honorary Doctorate of
Literature on 18 May.
Williams (ONZM MBE) is considered a hugely influential figure in New Zealand
letters and publishing, and an outstanding graduate of the University of Otago,
where she completed a Bachelor of Arts.
initial foray into intellectual life was in Oxford as a research assistant to
literary scholars Dame Helen Gardner and Richard Ellmann. After a stint at
Oxford University Press in the United Kingdom, Ms Williams returned to New Zealand
in 1976. She worked initially for the New Zealand branch of Oxford University
Press, where she helped shape what would become the Oxford History of New
Zealand, a volume that marked the coming of age of New Zealand historical
she struck out into independent publishing, founding Port Nicholson Press in
Wellington. Taking this small New Zealand firm into multi-national ownership
with Allen & Unwin Australia in the mid-1980s, Ms Williams became the
managing director of Allen & Unwin New Zealand.In that capacity, she established a
publishing partnership with the multi-volume Dictionary of New Zealand
Biography as well as important scholarly works such as Claudia Orange’s The
Treaty of Waitangi.In these years
too, her publishing reflected the new engagement with feminist writing, and she
had a key role in establishing the nationwide Listener Women’s Book Festival.
she established Bridget Williams Books, a press that has risen to become New
Zealand’s leading specialist non-fiction press. She has worked with New
Zealand’s leading social scientists and humanities scholars, producing a large
number of award-winning volumes.Significant amongst these has been a commitment to works on Maori
history, with the landmark Tangata Whenua:
An Illustrated History by Atholl Anderson, Judith Binney and Aroha Harris
published to acclaim in 2014.In recent
years the BWB Texts Series – short, moderately-priced volumes – have catalysed
public debate over a range of pressing cultural and political issues.
respected in the world of publishing, Bridget Williams has played an integral
role in facilitating public conversations in New Zealand, its history, identity
and politics, she has been extremely influential in shaping New Zealand intellectual
life and cultural debate.
Sat 18 May
graduation ceremony at 1 pm (Humanities) Bridget Williams, Publisher, Hon LittD
I’m always drawn to a book with an
animal in the title. . . . Is the book about the animal or the people who
work with it? Or, just as interesting, what is the animal meant to
symbolize?: What does a wolf have to do with a coming-of-age story, or an
octopus with a tale about a man and his dog? For all the animal lovers
out there, here is a menagerie of animal-titled books.
Brayda will join the Harper One Group on
April 24 as art director for Harper Via, Amistad and Harper Espanol, reporting
to Judith Curr. He was previously with Riverhead.
Director of events at Copperfield's Books Barbara Lane debuts a column
for the San Francisco
Chronicle, Chapters and Verse, where she will "discuss
what I love about the literary world, often focusing on our rich Northern
California scene, personalities, trends, controversies and more."
As agent Esther Newberg had indicated
in an interview a year ago, the unfinished memoir by the late Prince Rogers Nelson
will be published
October 29 by Random House, still listed as a Spiegel & Grau book even
though that imprint was recently discontinued. The portion Prince had already
written, "pages that brings us into Prince’s childhood world through his
own lyrical prose," comprises the first of four parts. The rest of the
book features "a scrapbook of Prince's writing and photos," another
set of images showing his evolution, and "his original handwritten treatment
for Purple Rain." New Yorker writer Dan Piepenbring, whom Prince had
selected as a collaborator for the book, writes an introduction.
Bookselling The Barnes
& Noble in the Virginia Beach, VA's Town Center will close
for renovation on April 28, reopening in late fall. The renovation will include
a redesigned children's section and a space for author visits, based on
"one of Barnes & Noble's latest prototypes."
In Daytona Beach,
FL, the company opened
a new 15,000-square-foot store at Tomoka Town Center, their 11th new format
store. It replaces their store on W. International Speedway.
Horowhenua author, Carole Brungar, has won a gold
medal for her third novel, The Nam Shadow, in the internationally
acclaimed Independent Publisher Book Awards.
Brungar’s novel won first place in the Australia/New
Zealand/Pacific Rim category.
Independent Publisher Book Awards, known as the IPPY Awards, were established
in 1996 to recognise excellence in independent publishing worldwide and reward
those who exhibit the courage, innovation, and creativity to bring about change
in the world of publishing.
Each year the awards are intended to reward exemplary
books from among independently owned and operated publishers, foundation or
university presses and independent publishers who publish less than fifty
titles per year.
The Nam Shadow
is the second Vietnam novel in a series by the Levin author. It follows on from
The Nam Legacy,also an award winning novel. The novels
explore the lives of New Zealanders before, during and after the Vietnam War.
Where The Nam Legacy focused on the
affects of PTSD, The Nam Shadow highlights the consequences of
exposure to Agent Orange and other chemicals used during the Vietnam war.
“There aren’t many New Zealand stories that are set
around the Vietnam War, or that explore the consequences of the war,” Carole
said. “I would like to think that those men and women who went to Vietnam and
their experiences as a consequence, are not forgotten.”
The Nam Shadow is available from bookstores across New
Zealand or the author’s website, carolebrungar.com
W H Smith plans to cull its backlist and build areas of
growth such as children's and lighter readers with a
"forensic store by store focus on space management to optimise the
returns from core categories".
The "boomerang" nature of time was discussed at
the Vintage for Change evening, along with teen revolution and the
sensibilities of sexbots, as Jeanette Winterson and six other authors
considered the “turbulent times” of present day.
Once described as “our county's leading writer in this field”*,
Christchurch sci-fi writer Ged Maybury effectively disappeared after 15 years
and 12 successful children's books – two of which made the finals of the NZ
Children's Book of the Year Awards (1994, 2001).
Now he is back with his most ambitious project to date: a
six-book / 800,000-word Steampunk series set upon a bizarre “alt-Earth” where
Britain is a vast mat of hovering “skylands”, America is still a British
colony, and steamships have more in common with flying saucers than anything
Drawing upon a long apprenticeship of producing well-polished
best-sellers for Scholastic, Harper Collins and Cape Catley, he now turns up
the steam (and the adult content) on a multitude of delightfully detailed
fantasy/steampunk settings riddled with mad scientists, villains, dangerous
and/or attractive antagonists and a sad series of intense (sometimes steamy)
'Across the Stonewind Sky' is the series title and each book
advances our straight-laced British hero deeper into various kinds of steaming
do-do the moment he flies into a curious zone called The Storm's Domain
– where airships rule, and Britain doesn't. It's the Victorian era writ large,
but it's not just a man's world. Rodney is constantly thrown into the company
of a series of competent purposeful women, some of them … how to say this: 'are
on the villain spectrum'. Maybury has already earned praise for his female
The first two books; 'Across the Stonewind Sky'** & 'Into
the Heart of Varste' are now available at: