Monday, May 30, 2016

Fair play: can literary festivals pay their way?

With authors demanding payment and overheads tight, organisers are under increasing pressure. What does the future look like?
Illustration by Alex Green at Folio
Illustration by Alex Green at Folio
I think the truth hit last summer, when I was at a festival to interview a group of writers. It was not a literary festival per se, but a combination of music, theatre, comedy and debates, in among which there stood a doughty literature tent, made rustic by the odd hay bale. What one noticed most, though, was the food: an endless vista of eating opportunities, from crepes to dirty burgers to artisanal pizzas to anything but a cheese sandwich.

Mistakenly, given my temperament and my knees, I had opted to camp, albeit in a motor vehicle rather than under canvas. Making my way through the site to literature HQ, I heard a couple of young guys catching sight of a chum. “Hey!” they chirped. “Sweet tent, man! Where’d you get it?” “Harrods,” came the reply.

I will fast-forward you through the rest of the day: the novelists and poets I interviewed were all terrific, and played to a lusty crowd, if smaller than that for the “Gin tasting while playing a ukulele” workshop. Native American headdress count: high. Cost to spend a weekend here: higher. Most surreal moment: spotting John Lanchester wandering through the guy ropes. Departure of your literary correspondent: as soon as possible. Highlight (apart from the writers, of course): the moment when my long-suffering pal and I, having escaped, spotted a municipal leisure centre and flung ourselves sweatily into its pool. That night we pulled up in the chocolate box village of Bourton-on-the-Water, got drunk in a pub and slept in the local car park. Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty we were not.  MORE

A dark tale that navigates the underbelly of urban New Zealand.

A dark tale that navigates the underbelly of urban New Zealand. It is also a very human story of hope and possibility. Expect to hear a lot more about this book, I expect it to gain a lot of attention. I couldn't put it down
On the night that Carla Reid plans on celebrating her wedding anniversary with her husband Kevin and their grown son Jack, their New Zealand farmstead has never felt more like home. But when Ben Toroa and another aspiring gang member brutally force their way into the house with robbery and more on their minds the night and the rest of both their lives take a radically different direction. As Carla struggles to come to terms with the aftermath and bereavement of different kinds, and Ben faces the consequences in prison, their stories continue to interweave.   

About the author

Growing up in a publisher's home in South Africa, Fiona fell in love with language and the written word at an early age. This was during the apartheid era, and witnessing the brutal regime at work sensitised Fiona to the issues of injustice and racial prejudice. This is her second novel following Shifting Colours.
Fiona now lives in rural Auckland, New Zealand with her husband and family..
ISBN: 9780749020262
Allison & Busby- NZ $32.99


 The Divine Muses Poetry Reading & Unity Books Auckland


Judge - poet and teacher VANA MANASIADIS

Results announced at Divine Muses Poetry Reading on National Poetry Day, 26th August 2016

First Prize: $200 in Unity Book’s book tokens Second Prize: $100 in Unity Book’s book tokens

Closing Date: 1st  August 2016

The competition is open only to writers considered ‘emerging’

i.e. have not published one or more books (fiction, poetry, nonfiction) with a New Zealand or overseas publisher,


is a current or former undergraduate (BA, Hons, BSc, BComm etc) or Masters student attending The University of Auckland, Auckland University of Technology,

Manukau Institute of Technology and Massey University (Albany Campus, Auckland only)








Weekly News from Literary Hub

From Literary Hub:

·         On Don DeLillo’s later fiction, which is “rich, chewy and best consumed in small mouthfuls.” | The Guardian

·         Sarah Nicole Prickett and Gary Indiana discuss LA’s more glamorous secrets, people who read Atlas Shrugged when they’re twelve, and sexy serial killers. | Bookforum

·         Yellow is the new black: On the rise of “brighter, bolder” book covers, for which Amazon may be (is probably) to blame. | Wall Street Journal

·         “[W]here Ulysses swells with linguistic inventiveness and gleeful experimentation, Portrait swells with … well, what? Mood.” Karl Ove Knausgaard recalls first reading A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man in honor of its 100th anniversary. | The New York Times

·         “I knew what it was like to encounter the miniature and wish to have it for yourself.” Kaitlyn Greenidge on diminutive tacos, dollhouses, and desiring the unattainable. | Lenny Letter

·         “I scanned them really quickly and thought, Holy shit, these are good.” On the discovery of 3 complete short stories by Raymond Carver 10 years after his death. | Esquire Classics

·         In honor of Short Story Month, stories by Alexandra Kleeman, Lauren Groff, Garth Greenwell, and 14 others. | Huffington Post

·         Tony Tulathimutte on the “nine-month war of attrition to secure the original title of [his] book.”| The Paris Review

·         “Parenthood is not the enemy of anything; it’s the condition without which none of us would exist.” Rumaan Alam on being a writer and a father. | BuzzFeed
Santiago Lyon is the last in a series of profiles of photojournalists, who bear witness to war and catastrophe on our behalf. | The Globe & Mail

More at Literary Hub

The New York Times Best Sellers

The New York Times Best Sellers - June 5, 2016

Combined Print & E-Book Fiction

The world’s first Airbnb bookshop.

I Ran A Scottish Bookshop And You Can Too
There’s a bookshop in Scotland that anyone can run, so I did.

Dan Dalton / BuzzFeed
I’m 20 miles into a 33-mile drive through the winding roads and stunning scenery of the Galloway Forest National Park when I begin to wonder why Scotland’s National Book Town is so difficult to get to. As the sun cuts between firs and roads weave through lochs, I conjure an image of a hidden wonderland, like the town of Spectre in Tim Burton’s Big Fish. A lost city of books, perhaps. Book Narnia.

Even its name has a fairytale quality: Wigtown.
Filled with rows of stone houses and brightly painted door and window frames, Wigtown is home to 10 bookshops and some 900 people. Along with being Scotland’s National Book Town, it also hosts the Wigtown Literary Festival each September. During the festival the town gets as many as 10,000 visitors, but today, as my rental car rolls down Main Street, all is relatively quiet. Less Big Fish, more Local Hero.

I pull up outside The Open Book, a small used bookshop with a spacious flat above. You can rent the flat on Airbnb. When you do, you get the keys to the shop, too.
It’s the world’s first Airbnb bookshop.

Brought to book: when publishers go to court

A writer has just won a legal battle with Marvel and DC, but how do publishers usually fare in the courts?

Leonardo DiCaprio Howard Hughes The Aviator

Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes in The Aviator. His ‘autobiography’ was revealed to be a hoax. Photograph: Photographer: Andrew Cooper/

Howard Hughes v McGraw-Hill (1972)McGraw-Hill believed they’d pulled off a coup by acquiring the “autobiography” of reclusive tycoon Howard Hughes, based on interviews with Clifford Irving. But Hughes angrily telephoned reporters and sued the publisher, saying he’d had no dealings with Irving, who was swiftly exposed as a hoaxer. (McGraw-Hill cheques totalling $650,000 had gone to an “HR Hughes” who turned out to be Helga Hughes, an alias used by Irving’s wife.) Publisher loss
Mr X v Chatto and DJ Taylor (1992)In his novel Real Life, the writer absent-mindedly gave a media figure’s name to his book’s Soho porn baron, chum of the Krays and maker of the film Spank Academy. Awkwardly, Taylor had accidentally also given other personal details about Mr X (eg where he lived) to the fictional character. He paid half of the out-of-court settlement of “the lower end of five figures”. Publisher loss

A Few Book Recommendations for Goldman Sachs

May 29, 2016 - Flavorwire

A Few Book Recommendations for Goldman Sachs

Our list is more fun than your list.

A Powerful Story of a Young Woman and an Unspeakable Crime


Off the Shelf
By Sally Christie    |   Friday, May 27, 2016
The greatest gift of historical fiction is that it provides us with a window into a world diametrically different from our own. Good historical fiction brings us back in time and allows us to imagine, on both an emotional and sensory level, what it would be like to live in a different place and time. Hannah Kent’s Burial Rites does just that, sweeping us off to Iceland in the early nineteenth century. READ MORE

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Standing Room Only for 05/29/2016

Arts stories for 05/29/2016
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Standing Room Only

Standing Room Only is literally radio with pictures... and arts, theatre, film, comedy, books, dance, entertainment and music – all the things, in other words, that make life worth living.

Full programme details are available on the Standing Room Only webpage

Sean Godsell - the park bench shelter

Melbourne-based architect Sean Godsell has designed a park bench that doubles as a shelter for the homeless. That's as well as more traditional architect fare - residential homes through to big institutional buildings. Sean's over here giving talks and looking at our architecture as a guest of the New Zealand Institute of Architects.
May 29, 2016 02:50 pm

Paula Morris - Academy of NZ Literature

A newly launched academy for New Zealand literature has sparked a war of words between writers who're for and against it. Writer Paula Morris wants to support mid career authors by encouraging writing, discussion and overseas interest in their work. But it's invitation only, is only open to adult fiction writers at this stage, and its association with The University of Auckland is putting some people off joining. There have been terse exchanges on the Academy of NZ Literature site and other outlets. Paula's just left to take up a six week residency in Denmark, but she's not leaving the controversy behind her.
May 29, 2016 02:40 pm

Royal textiles shattered by time

How important is clothing as a reference to time and place, and what can garments tell us about the people who wore them and the society in which they lived? The Otago Museum houses millions of objects and around 1100 are part of the European Textiles and Costume collection, including 150 pieces once owned by a descendent of the Belgian monarchy. Items come in varying states, but according to Humanities Collection Officer Jamie Metzger, sometimes it's important to let the garment tell their own story.
May 29, 2016 02:25 pm

The Laugh Track - Annie Whittle

Actor, singer and presenter Annie Whittle is taking to the stage in black comedy SHAM. Her Laugh Track picks are Catherine Tate, Victoria Wood, The Goons and Joan Rivers.
May 29, 2016 02:06 pm

Legendary backing singer Lisa Fischer

Hers in the voice that backed the Rolling Stones for 25 years, but Lisa Fischer has also established herself in her own right. Lisa mesmerized movie-goers in Academy Award-winning documentary Twenty Feet from Stardom and is bringing a one-night-only show to the Wellington Jazz Festival with Grand Baton. Simon Morris thinks she's probably the best singer...ever.
May 29, 2016 01:40 pm

Art and Industry of Imagination

Games, film and television and publishing industry professionals with a love of sci fi and fantasy are gathering to swap notes and help the next generation to realise their dreams. 'Art and Industry of Imagination' involves exhibitions, a conference and master classes. Two of the key players, Weta Workshop's senior concept artist Paul Tobin and senior lecturer at the Massey College of Creative Arts Tanya Marriott explain.
May 29, 2016 01:30 pm

Rat Tribe

Journalist turned freelance documentary photographer Sim Chi Yin has brought to light an underground world in Beijing. It's believed there are around a million people, most of them migrants, living in basements and old bomb shelters under the city. They're called The Rat Tribe. Born in China and raised in Singapore, Chi Yin is fascinated by the stories of migrants and history. Her photographs have been seen in TIME, The New York Times Magazine, National Geographic, Le Monde and The New Yorker. We're about to see her rat tribe images here as part of the Auckland Festival of Photography.
May 29, 2016 12:50 pm

Akura Makea-Pardington 'Spirit of Place'

Akura Makea-Pardington is looking at Northland's colonial history with fresh eyes, and her camera lens. She considers the good and bad aspects of the colonial era in an exhibition she calls 'Spirit of Place', and offers the backstories to the images in her photos - from a flagpole to a pou. Akura, whose mother is photographer Fiona Pardington, says the stories she's telling are "bitter sweet".
May 29, 2016 12:40 pm

The Laugh Track - Fan Brigade

The Fan Brigade is musical comedy duo Amanda Kennedy and Livi Mitchell. They play favourite comedy tracks from Sarah Millican, Shapi Khorsandi, Angela Barnes and Inside Amy Schumer.
May 22, 2016 08:06 pm


Older stories

Painting Elephants - Bulbul Sharma
Tracey Slaughter - Deleted Scened for Lovers
The Magic Flute
Poetry on the Beach
Jazz giant Ramsey Lewis
Not all audio is available due to copyright restrictions

10 War Novels for People Who Don’t Think They Like War Novels

We’re Buying Paperbacks, Audiobooks and Coloring Books — but Not E-Books

PAPER IS BACK After years of seemingly unstoppable growth, e-book sales have started to slip, while paper has improbably bounced back. Digital book sales fell nearly 10 percent in 2015 from the previous year. Paperback sales grew by a healthy 16 percent, according to the Association of American Publishers, which tracks sales from more than 1,200 publishers.
GRAY DIGITAL Those who came of age with digital technology seem, surprisingly, to prefer paper to pixels. Young readers are less drawn to e-books. Only 13 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds primarily read e-books these days, compared with nearly 30 percent of 55- to 64-year-olds, according to a recent survey of 4,992 book buyers conducted by the Codex Group, a publishing consultancy.MORE