Monday, August 31, 2009

From Publishing Perpectives:
Re-thinking the Publisher/Author Partnership
By Robert Miller
NEW YORK: I've just read M.J. Rose's editorial from last Friday, "Publishers Must Change the Way Authors Get Paid," and I couldn't agree more that it's time to re-think the publisher/author relationship. M.J. deserves credit for moving this conversation forward; indeed, for years M.J. has shown by her own example how authors can and should be full partners in the marketing of their books. If anyone has earned the right to question author compensation, it's M.J. Rose.
However, I don't think that the solution is to have authors paid a higher royalty in exchange for their marketing efforts.
First of all, how would this be judged? What amount of marketing effort should be expected of the author before their royalty changes? Shouldn't author and publisher alike be doing everything possible to make a book succeed, without needing to count up who has gone beyond the call of duty and who hasn't and trying to calculate how that should translate into how they share the proceeds of their success? (read on ...)
Munro removes book from Giller contention
Move scuppers anticipated literary showdown with Atwood

Alice Munro (left) won the Scotiabank-Giller Prize in 1998 and 2004. AP
Story by John Barber, From Saturday's Globe and Mail ,Saturday, Aug. 29, 2009

Giller Prize organizers have reluctantly scratched a much-anticipated contest between Canada's two reigning literary heavyweights after one of the expected contenders, short story writer Alice Munro, withdrew her latest collection, Too Much Happiness (out this week), from consideration for the 2009 award.
The 78-year-old writer's decision has disappointed literary punters hoping for a close contest for this year's prize between Munro and veteran novelist Margaret Atwood, author of The Year of the Flood (out in September), which is sure to be nominated.
Her reason is that she has won twice and would like to leave the field to younger writers,” Munro's publisher, Douglas Gibson, confirmed this week. “In my role as greedy publisher I pointed out that the Giller Prize produces so much publicity, that even to be nominated for it is tremendous publicity,” he said. “But her mind is made up on this. Alice preferred to withdraw from the competition.”

Giller Prize administrator Elana Rabinovitch echoed the disappointment. “I appreciate the reason she's doing it, but I also think it's a bit of a shame,” she said. “Ultimately the prize is for the best work of fiction in Canada, period, and this takes a likely contender out of the mix.”
Munro has not only won the Giller twice before – for The Love of a Good Woman in 1998 and Runaway in 2004 – but this year she became the third writer to win the prestigious Man Booker International Prize, awarded every two years since 2005 to a living author for a body of work “that has contributed to an achievement in fiction on the world stage

In confirming rumours that she had withdrawn from competition for this year's prize, Gibson cast some doubt on the chance of Munro keeping other dates this fall. The Vancouver International Writers Festival is staging a special tribute to Munro, which she is expected to attend on Oct. 18. Three days later she is scheduled to participate in a panel with nonagenarian British author Diana Athill on the opening night of the International Festival of Authors in Toronto.
We're hoping that all will go well,” Gibson said. “Alice is 78 years old and doesn't travel especially gladly.”
Munro has previously announced her imminent retirement, only to keep on writing – and continuing to win awards.
Google's plan for world's biggest online library: philanthropy or act of piracy?
Google has already scanned 10 million books in its bid to digitise the contents of the world's major libraries, but a copyright battle now threatens the project, with Amazon and Microsoft joining authors and publishers opposed to the scheme.

William Skidelsky in The Observer, Sunday 30 August 2009

In recent years the world's most venerable libraries have played host to some incongruous visitors. In dusty nooks and far-flung stacks, teams of workers dispatched by Google have been beavering away to make digital copies of books. So far, Google has scanned more than 10 million titles from libraries in America and Europe – including half a million volumes held by the Bodleian in Oxford. The exact method it uses is unclear; the company does not allow outsiders to observe the process.
Why is Google undertaking such a venture, so seemingly out-of-kilter with its snazzy, hi-tech image? Why is it even interested in all those out-of-print library books, most of which have been gathering dust on forgotten shelves for decades? The company claims its motives are essentially public-spirited. Its overall mission, after all, is to "organise the world's information", so it would be odd if that information did not include books. Like the Ancient Egyptians who attempted to build a library at Alexandria containing all the known world's scrolls, Google executives talk of constructing a universal online archive, a treasure trove of knowledge that will be freely available – or at least freely searchable – for all.
The company likes to present itself as having lofty, utopian aspirations. "This really isn't about making money" is a mantra. "We are doing this for the good of society." As Santiago de la Mora, head of Google Books for Europe, puts it: "By making it possible to search the millions of books that exist today, we hope to expand the frontiers of human knowledge."
Dan Clancy, the chief architect of Google Books, offers an analogy with the invention of the Gutenberg press – Google's book project, he says, will have a similar democratising effect. He talks of people in far-flung parts being able to access knowledge as never before, of search queries leading them to the one, long out-of-print book they need.
And he does seem genuine in his conviction that this is primarily a philanthropic exercise. "Google's core business is search and find, so obviously what helps improve Google's search engine is good for Google," he says. "But we have never built a spreadsheet outlining the financial benefits of this, and I have never had to justify the amount I am spending to the company's founders."
It is easy, talking to Clancy and his colleagues, to be swept along by their missionary zeal. But Google's book-scanning project is proving controversial. Several opponents have recently emerged, ranging from rival tech giants such as Microsoft and Amazon to small bodies representing authors and publishers across the world. In broad terms, these opponents have levelled two sets of criticisms at Google.
First, they have questioned whether the primary responsibility for digitally archiving the world's books should be allowed to fall to a commercial company. In a recent essay in the New York Review of Books, Robert Darnton, the head of Harvard University's library, argued that because such books are a common resource – the possession of us all – only public, not-for-profit bodies should be given the power to control them.
The second, related criticism is that Google's scanning of books is actually illegal. This allegation has led to Google becoming mired in a legal battle whose scope and complexity makes the Jarndyce and Jarndyce case in Bleak House look straightforward.
At its centre, however, is one simple issue: that of copyright. The inconvenient fact about most books, to which Google has arguably paid insufficient attention, is that they are protected by copyright. Copyright laws differ from country to country, but in general protection extends for the duration of an author's life and for a substantial period afterwards, thus allowing the author's heirs to benefit. (In Britain and America, this post-death period is 70 years.) This means, of course, that almost all of the books published in the 20th century are still under copyright – and last century saw more books published than in all previous centuries combined. Of the roughly 40 million books in US libraries, for example, an estimated 32 million are in copyright. Of these, some 27 million are out of print.
Read the full piece, tha bove is about half the story, online here.

Many years ago in Murray Sharp's 5th form history class at Gisborne Boys High School the history of World War Two was my favourite subject.
Today the memories of that class, the room itself (it got the morning sun), our late wonderful teacher, my fellow students, and the green covered text book on modern European history that we studied, all came flooding back when I collected the New Zealand Listener from the mail box to see that the cover issue featuring the 70th anniversary of the commencement of World War Two which is observed this week.

The Listener is marking the event in style with an editorial on the subject, a four page story by Ruth Laugesen built around historian Gerald Hensley's new book, BEYOND THE BATTLEFIELD: NEW ZEALAND AND ITS ALLIES 1939-45 (Viking), a further four page piece by Sir Martin Gilbert, Churchill's official biographer, an interesting piece from columnisy Bill Ralston in which he sifts through the myths and truths of his father's wartime experiences in Africa and Europe, and an extract from Ron Palenski's just-published HOW WE SAW THE WAR; 1939-45 THROUGH NEW ZEALAND EYES (Hodder Moa).l

Thank you NZ Listener.

In keeping with the above The Bookman is pleased to post a review of Gerald Hensley's Beyond the Battlefield written by historian and guest reviewer Gavin McLean.

Beyond the Battlefield: New Zealand and its Allies, 1939-45
By Gerald Hensley
Hardback, 415 pp, $65

There have been many books on our generals and on their generalship, but the country’s wartime political leadership has received comparatively little attention since Freddie Wood’s volume in the official war history series nearly fifty years ago.
Beyond the Battlefield fills an important gap and does so impressively. Gerald Hensley, a former diplomat and head of the Prime Minister’s Department, brings an insider’s perspective to a book further strengthened by the National Army Museum’s Literary Fund, which took him to archives in America, Britain and Australia. ‘Relying mainly on New Zealand sources is like listening to one end of a telephone conversation’, he observes in his preface.
And what a conversation! It’s important to remember that in 1939 New Zealand had little experience of conducting diplomacy. London had always set the empire’s political and trade policies and the governor-general’s office had handled all official communications between Wellington and Whitehall. That changed right on the eve of war when Britain sent out its first high commissioner.
Everything had to be done from scratch, and as Hensley shows, many doubted whether the Labour government, immersed in a financial crisis, was up to the job. Fortunately it was. Mickey Savage – ‘the most Christ-like man I have ever known and an absolute ninny’ – and his successor, the dour but principled and masterful Peter Fraser weathered the storm, backed by a small team of skilled advisers such as Carl Berendsen and Alister McIntosh.
Peter Fraser towered over everyone. He could be hell to work with – he had no time for agendas or structured meetings – but he, Walter Nash and the civil servants worked together to balance competing demands on forces in the Middle East and the Pacific, feed both Britain and the American forces in the Pacific and establish diplomatic relations with an increasing number of countries.
Of course there were some glitches. The trade union movement stymied a full coalition government with National. Britain and America resented New Zealand’s comparatively generous domestic spending, and relations between Wellington and Canberra were not always good, but as Hensley shows, the overall war strategy was sound, the economy was robust and New Zealand ended the war on a high note with Fraser and his bureaucrats playing a surprisingly strong role in the creation of the United Nations and its various agencies.
Well researched and told with a dry wit, Beyond the Battlefield is history at its best.

Coincidentally, or perhaps not, in the mail today was a review copy of The Penguin Book of New Zealanders at War (Penguin $45).

Haven't yet had a chnace to read it of course (it is a 500+ page whopper) but spent a happy hour this morning browsing through it at my favourite coffee haunt (Agnes Curran) and I can report that it is drawn from the letters, diaries and memoirs of ordinary New Zealanders in which they describe their experiences of war.
The accounts are first-hand, fascinating, vivid and often moving. They cover wars from the New Zealand Wars of the 1840's through to the Gulf War and all conflicts in between.

Not even the absence of paper stopped some from reaching out
to loved ones. In 1915 Llewellyn Beumont wrote a ‘letter’ (left) on a flat piece of wood to his sister from Gallipoli.

This handsome tome is edited by Gavin McLean, Ian McGibbon and Kynan Gentry who are all historians employed by the History Group of the Ministry of Culture and Heritage.
Gavin McLean is the author of a large number of books of NZ history while Ian McGibbon's military historiesinclude a guide to the battlefields of the First World War and a general history of the Second World War.

Sean Plunket’s on board… and Felicity Ferret returns!

But the real news for bookloving readers of the magazine is the appointment of Iain Sharp as Book Review Editor, something that little is made of by the magazine itself but which delights Bookman Beattie.

Sharp is a highly respected book reviewer, he looked after the Sunday Star Times book reviews back in the days when that newspaper was more generous than it is today with space given to books.
Sharp is a highly versatile, cultured and multi-talented guy. As well as being a noted book reviewer he is also a librarian, published poet, biographer, columnist and works in Special Collections at Auckland Central Library. He published Real Gold: Treasures of Auckland City Libraries in 2007 and his most recent book is a biography of Charles Heaphy, published by Auckland University Press.

Metro has earned itself some brownie points in the literary world with his appointment.
In the new look edition now on sale Sharp interviews Brian Boyd, the world's leading authority on Vladimir Nabokov.


Leaving aside the questions around whether the Google Book Settlement, if it goes ahead, will override NZ copyright law, or give Google an undue advantage over its competitors, the immediate question facing NZ writers and publishers is what to do. Opt out by sending a letter or email by the 4 September deadline, or do nothing and stay in?

The course Victoria University Press will be taking, and recommends to VUP authors, is to stay in. It is important to realise that the settlement does not give Google carte blanche to publish your book online. In fact, it allows you to dictate how much of the text Google can display (nothing or a 20% preview, your choice), or indeed to instruct them to remove your book entirely, and it makes you eligible to benefit from future revenue streams.

In order to realize these powers and benefits, you need to claim your books by the later deadline of January 5, 2010.

Elizabeth Knox
VUP - $28

Due Sep-09 ISBN 9780864736055

First published in 1998, The Vintner’s Luck has been published in many editions and languages, won major awards, and sold over 50,000 copies in New Zealand. It won the Deutz Medal for fiction in 1999 and was also longlisted for the Orange Prize that year.
This new edition features cover art from the film written and directed by Niki Caro and starring Keisha Castle-Hughes, which receives its world première with a red carpet screening at the Toronto Film Festival on 12 September, and opens throughout New Zealand on 12 November.
Elizabeth Knox is the author of eight novels, a trilogy of autobiographical novellas, a fantasy duet for young adults, and a collection of essays. She has won numerous literary awards and was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2002. She lives in Wellington with her husband and son.
The Bookman eagerly awaits the movie.................



Poets for Princess Ashika: Love, Loss and the Sea
Fundraiser for the victims of the Princess Ashika Ferry Disaster in Tonga
2pm Saturday, 5 September

Paekakariki Memorial Hall, The Parade (next to Campbell Park)

Koha entry

Karlo Mila - Apirana Taylor - David Geary - Glenn Colquhoun
and Te Roopu Kapa Haka o Paekakariki

A rare opportunity to hear four of New Zealand's best contemporary poets and writers
Afternoon tea. Bring some biccies if you can!
Gold coin raffle.

Contact: Helen Keivom 9057178
More from Ladies, a Plate
Alexa Johnston
Penguin - $45

Today, 31 August 2009 is a red letter day, Penguin Books NZ will publish the much anticipated sequel to Alexa Johnston’s multi- awarded 2008 best-seller, Ladies, a Plate.
In the same appealing format and with the same popular step-by-step approach this book will, I have no doubt, enjoy the same huge popularity as its predecessor.

Alexa Johnston that "as with Ladies, a Plate, the sources of the recipes are primarily New Zealand home cooks who have contributed them to community cookbooks, or whose handwritten recipes have been lent to me. Some others are from my own family and friends, and a few I found in recipe books from other countries. What they have in common is that I know they all work in a home kitchen, since I have tested them at home myself – often with the delightful company of my niece, Aphra Paine. I welcomed Aphra’s comments on recipe selection as well as those
of my husband, Malcolm Cheadle, and my other recipe-tasting friends – and I’m very pleased with the results".

The Bookman has had an advance copy of the book which has been read (from cover to cover) and enjoyed over the past two weekends. Annie made the delicious Marmalade Tea Cake, a triumph, while I made Honeymoon Sandwiches, so simple but so tasty.
With kind permission of the publishers I am reproducing below the recipes for the two dishes we made.
Marmalade Tea Loaf


4 oz sultanas 115 g
4 oz currants 115 g
4 oz sugar 115 g
4 oz marmalade 115 g
1 cup hot tea 225 ml
1 egg 1
8 oz flour 225 g
2 tsp baking powder 2 tsp
I found this fruity Tea Loaf in Recipes Old and New, compiled and published by the Moana Rua Ladies and Brighton Life Saving Clubs, probably in the early 1970s. The currants and sultanas are soaked in tea overnight, as is usual with these recipes, but with the surprising addition of some marmalade, which contributes a lovely sharp flavour. You can use bought marmalade, but if you have made your own – see recipe on page 124 – here is the perfect way to bring top-quality marmalade further into your day. Why limit it to breakfast time? Although a slice of this loaf would make a very fine breakfast indeed.

Getting ready
The night before you want to bake the loaf, put the sultanas, currants, sugar and marmalade in a large bowl (I chop the peel in the marmalade if it is in long shreds) and pour the hot tea over – any variety of tea will do. Cover the bowl with a plate or cloth and leave on the bench overnight. The next day preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C. Grease and flour your baking tin very thoroughly. You can use a 10 x 4½ in/25 x 11 cm loaf tin, in which case put a piece of baking paper in the base of the tin before flouring it, or a nut roll tin as I did. I like the look of the circular slices, but the recipe makes 3½ cups of mixture, which was too much for my nut roll tin, so I baked the extra as a mini-loaf. Bring the egg to room temperature and sift together the fl our and baking powder.

Mixing and baking
1. Add the unbeaten egg to the soaked fruit and beat well with a wooden spoon. Gently mix in the sifted dry ingredients.

2. Scoop the mixture into the tin or tins and bake for about 75 minutes. Roll tins should be placed upright on a baking tray or other shallow tin and so must be on a low rack in the oven.

3. Remove the tins from the oven and put on a rack to cool. Don’t try to remove the loaf from a roll tin for at least 10 minutes or it may break. Store airtight and serve sliced and buttered.

Recipes, Old & New, compiled and published by Moana Rua Ladies and Brighton Life Saving Clubs, includes a useful guide for ordering vegetables, fruit and meat to feed 25 people and a page of safety directions for Surf Bathers. These include, of course: ‘Don’t bathe directly after a meal.’
This is an extract from A Second Helping: More from Ladies, a Plate by Alexa Johnston. Published by Penguin Group (NZ). RRP $45.00. Available at all good booksellers nationwide. Copyright © Alexa Johnston, 2009.

Among the most successful sandwiches I have ever made. This inspired combination of mint butter and shredded lettuce on brown bread comes from Michael Smith’s Afternoon Tea†.

Have the butter at room temperature and combine with the chopped mint and other ingredients in a food processor to create a soft, green-flecked spread. Michael Smith suggests sieving out the mint leaves but I leave them in. The tiny bit of sugar gives a very satisfying faint crunch.

Spread the butter on brown bread, cover with a thin layer of finely shredded lettuce, then top with another slice of mint-buttered read.
Remove the crusts and cut into triangles.

6 oz unsalted butter 170 g
20–24 large mint leaves 20–24
1 tsp lemon juice 1 tsp
½ tsp salt ½ tsp
½ tsp granulated sugar ½ tsp

The above is an extract from A Second Helping: More from Ladies, a Plate by Alexa Johnston. Published by Penguin Group (NZ). RRP $45.00. Available at all good booksellers nationwide. Copyright © Alexa Johnston, 2009.

The Bookman warmly recommends both of the above dishes, and the book too, which I reckon, along with its predecessor, will become absolutely standard items in every New Zealand home kitchen alongside the famous, long-published Edmonds Cookery Book.

About the author;
After completing a master’s degree in Art History at the University of Auckland, Alexa Johnston spent 19 years as a curator at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki and is now a freelance writer and curator. In 2002 she was the curator of the exhibition Sir Edmund Hillary: Everest and Beyond for Auckland War Memorial Museum and her authorised, illustrated biography, Sir Edmund Hillary: An Extraordinary Life was published by Penguin in 2005.
Her first cookery book Ladies, a Plate (Penguin, 2008) became an instant bestseller and has been reprinted several times. For Ladies, a Plate and A Second Helping she made all the recipes – and photographed all the results – in her home kitchen in Auckland.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Love and Summer by William Trevor: review

William Trevor’s strangely uplifting tale of a faltering love affair deserves to secure the author the Booker Prize

By Lorna Bradbury, The Telegraph, 29 Aug 2009

In this era when we worship youth, it might be said of William Trevor that he is a glorious exception to the rule that writers are at their best when they are young. Even their greatest defenders wouldn’t say that Martin Amis or Philip Roth have in later life come close to anything they achieved in their thirties.
But at the age of 81, Trevor, quietly, steadily, deep in the Devon countryside, produces books that are as consistently brilliant as his first novel, The Old Boys (1964), described at the time by Evelyn Waugh as “uncommonly well written, gruesome, funny and original”.

And if there is no diminution in the quality of the writing, there has been no let-up in quantity either; in the last decade there have been three volumes of stories as well as a novel, The Story of Lucy Gault, all of which are marked by wit and originality, and a chiselled, simple style.
Though the range of his stories is broad, taking in many of the more shocking aspects of modern life (from a serial killer in Felicia’s Journey to sexual abuse in Death in Summer), they are as recognisably his as are those of Alice Munro or of Raymond Carver.

Trevor has carved out a distinct landscape, which he returns to time and again: that of a largely vanished rural Ireland, similar to the one in which he grew up. It is a landscape marked by shame, fear, regret; the quiet desperation of lives marred by tragedy and the overwhelming burdens of the past.
Love and Summer, his 14th novel, is set in the small fictional town of Rathmoye in the Fifties and describes the faltering love affair one summer between Ellie, a foundling brought up by nuns and delivered as a housekeeper and later wife to a local farmer, and a young man, Florian, the son of two recently deceased watercolourists who knows he cannot succeed as an artist and is on the run from the decaying grandeur of his family home.

Though undeniably dark, what is striking is its muted optimism. One feels that though Trevor is unlikely to allow his lovers the possibility of a new life together in Scandinavia, as Florian imagines for himself, their lives may not be ruined in the process. The novel’s undeniably gloomy preoccupations – loneliness, loss, pain – are somehow transformed into something uplifting.
Read the full review at Telegraph online.
Love and Summer by William Trevor
202pp, Viking, £18.99
Author wins Button Prize for story of death in custody
by Kelsey Munro, in The Sydney Morning Herald, August 29, 2009

Chloe Hooper, left. … $20,000 award.
Photo: Penny Stephens

THE Melbourne writer Chloe Hooper has won the inaugural John Button Prize for her book The Tall Man, about the death in custody of Cameron Doomadgee on Palm Island.
The $20,000 award for Australian public policy and political writing was announced at the Melbourne Writers Festival last night.
The judges, the former NSW premier Bob Carr, the ABC broadcaster Kerry O'Brien, the political scientist Judith Brett, the Nobel Prize-winning novelist J.M. Coetzee and the Miles Franklin Award judge Morag Fraser, settled on The Tall Man (Penguin) from a long-list of 31 books and essays on public policy and politics.

Coetzee said in a statement: "It is a very good book. Everything she tried to do she did well."
After the judging Fraser told the Herald, "We were looking for extremely fine writing which had political impact and breadth."
Of Ms Hooper's book she said: "It was a very brave piece of research that gave a strong sense of what it was like to be inside fractured communities."
O'Brien praised Hooper's use of fictional techniques in a "journalistic exercise".
"She made a subject that a lot of people had given up on as too hard, live again," he said.

The prize commemorates the life of the politician and writer John Button, who died last year. In his retirement he wrote three books on politics and a Premier's Prize-winning Quarterly Essay on the Labor Party.
The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood
Margaret Atwood doesn't think she writes science fiction. Ursula K Le Guin would like to disagree

Ursula K Le Guin , The Guardian, Saturday 29 August 2009
To my mind, The Handmaid's Tale, Oryx and Crake and now The Year of the Flood all exemplify one of the things science fiction does, which is to extrapolate imaginatively from current trends and events to a near-future that's half prediction, half satire.
But Margaret Atwood doesn't want any of her books to be called science fiction.
In her recent, brilliant essay collection, Moving Targets, she says that everything that happens in her novels is possible and may even have already happened, so they can't be science fiction, which is "fiction in which things happen that are not possible today". This arbitrarily restrictive definition seems designed to protect her novels from being relegated to a genre still shunned by hidebound readers, reviewers and prize-awarders. She doesn't want the literary bigots to shove her into the literary ghetto.

The Year of the Flood
by Margaret Atwood

Who can blame her? I feel obliged to respect her wish, although it forces me, too, into a false position. I could talk about her new book more freely, more truly, if I could talk about it as what it is, using the lively vocabulary of modern science-fiction criticism, giving it the praise it deserves as a work of unusual cautionary imagination and satirical invention. As it is, I must restrict myself to the vocabulary and expectations suitable to a realistic novel, even if forced by those limitations into a less favourable stance.
So, then, the novel begins in Year 25, the Year of the Flood, without explanation of what era it is the 25th year of, and for a while without explanation of the word "Flood". We will gather that it was a Dry Flood, and that the term refers to the extinction of - apparently - all but a very few members of the human species by a nameless epidemic. The nature and symptoms of the disease, aside from coughing, are undescribed. One needs no description of such events when they are part of history or the reader's experience; a reference to "the Black Plague" or "the swine flu" is enough. But here, failure to describe the nature of the illness and the days of its worst virulence leaves the epidemic an abstraction, novelistically weightless. Perhaps on the principle that since everything in her novel is possible and may have already happened so the reader is familiar with it, the author doles out useful information sparingly. I sometimes felt that I was undergoing, and failing, a test of my cleverness at guessing from hints, reading between lines and recognising allusions to an earlier novel.
Read the full Ursula le Guin article here.
Who's who on the Guardian first book award longlist?
Claire Armitstead, Sarah Crown and Nicholas Wroe discuss the books on the longlist for this year's Guardian first book award, while previous nominee James Lever explains what it meant to be on the longlist last year for his autobiography of Cheeta the chimp
Claire Armitstead ,, Friday 28 August 2009

The longlist for the 2009 Guardian first book award, announced today, is as eclectic as ever: this year's list includes a novel about a child-prodigy cartographer, a collection of short stories set in Mugabe's Zimbabwe and the no-holds-barred memoir of a surgeon, among others.

The Guardian's books team talks through the titles on the list, and discuss the importance of celebrating debut authors. Link here. for the 18 min podcast.
The Future of Reading
Students Get New Assignment: Pick Books You Like
By MOTOKO RICH in The New York Times. August 29, 2009

ONESBORO, Ga. — For years Lorrie McNeill loved teaching “To Kill a Mockingbird,” the Harper Lee classic that many Americans regard as a literary rite of passage.

But last fall, for the first time in 15 years, Ms. McNeill, 42, did not assign “Mockingbird” — or any novel. Instead she turned over all the decisions about which books to read to the students in her seventh- and eighth-grade English classes at Jonesboro Middle School in this south Atlanta suburb.
Among their choices: James Patterson‘s adrenaline-fueled “Maximum Ride” books, plenty of young-adult chick-lit novels and even the “Captain Underpants” series of comic-book-style novels.
But then there were students like Jennae Arnold, a soft-spoken eighth grader who picked challenging titles like “A Lesson Before Dying” by Ernest J. Gaines and “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison, of which she wrote, partly in text-message speak: “I would have N3V3R thought of or about something like that on my own.”

The approach Ms. McNeill uses, in which students choose their own books, discuss them individually with their teacher and one another, and keep detailed journals about their reading, is part of a movement to revolutionize the way literature is taught in America’s schools. While there is no clear consensus among English teachers, variations on the approach, known as reading workshop, are catching on.
Read the full piece at NYT.
(This is the fourth in a series of articles that look at how reading — and learning to read — is changing. Sidebar: Required and Not (August 30, 2009) The Future of Reading: In Web Age, Library Job Gets Update (February 16, 2009) The Future of Reading: Using Video Games as Bait to Hook Readers (October 6, 2008) The Future of Reading: Literacy )

Saturday, August 29, 2009


Check out this blog which offers News and Musings on New Zealand and international crime/thriller writing. The latest post features Dunedin-based author Vanda Symon.


Dear All
I am opting out of the Proposed Google Book Settlement by mail because I do not want to become an unpaid data-entry clerk for Google by opting out online. I have not listed my titles in the opt-out letter (pasted below) because Google already has them in its database. It has your books in its database too, & every NZ book ever published. If you haven’t studied the pros & cons of opting in or opting out by now, you’d better get onto it. If you do nothing, Google will treat your books as out-of-print & out-of-copyright. Feel free to use my letter as a model if you want to opt-out.

Opt out letters have to be sent by airmail to Minneapolis, postmarked on or before 4 September. The safest & most cost-effective mail delivery is NZ Post International Economy Courier ($25, 4-6 days). There’s room in the courier envelope for lots of opt-out letters, so if any Dunedin authors want to share the cost & the envelope, get your signed opt-out letter to me asap.

Feel free to pass this around local authors - or around out-of-town authors who want to make their own postal arrangements.

Also, let me know if you are opting out - the media is bound to be interested so it would be useful to have a tally.

Lynley Hood,

Dr Lynley Hood MSc LittD(Otago)
P.O. Box 2041, South Dunedin, Dunedin 9044, NEW ZEALAND
Ph: +64 3 487 7686, Mob: +63 27 222 9279

Saturday, 29 August 2009
Google Book Settlement Administrator
c/o Rust Consulting
PO Box 9364
Minneapolis, MN 55440-9364

Dear Administrator
I am a New Zealand citizen and a New Zealand author. My books are published by New Zealand publishers. Google has infringed my copyright by digitising my books in their entirety without my knowledge or consent.

My copyright is protected by the New Zealand Copyright Act 1994, by my author-publisher contracts, and by the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Work. An out-of-court settlement between private parties in the US does not have the jurisdiction to over-ride these protections.

I am therefore bound to conclude that, contrary to the claim made by Google, I am not, and never have been, a party to the proposed Settlement.
Nevertheless, for the avoidance of doubt, I am writing to advise you that I AM OPTING OUT of the AUTHOR SUB-CLASS of the manifestly unfair and illegal Proposed Google Book Settlement.
In accordance with the provisions of the New Zealand Copyright Act 1994, and the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Work, no past, present or future copyright-protected work by Lynley Hood may be copied or distributed by Google, or by any other party, without my explicit consent.
Please provide written acknowledgement of receipt of this notice.
Yours sincerely

Lynley Hood

The Google image at the top of this story, which has also appeared on other pieces on this subject posted by Bookman Beattie in recent weeks, was taken from TIME magazine. in a story headed Librarians Fighting Google's Book Deal, by Janet Morrissey Wednesday, Jun. 17, 2009
Site tracks banned-books on Google map

Are some parts of the United States more prone to censorship than others? Not according to a new map of book censorship incidents that has just been posted on the official Web site of Banned Books Week.

Check this story at the FOI Advocate website.
Where the Wild Things Are Makes Beautiful Music
from The Daily Beast

Fans of the classic children's book Where the Wild Things Are have lapped up teaser posters and the Arcade Fire-scored trailers for Spike Jonze's upcoming live-action film adaptation (in theaters October 16), but what kind of music goes with furry monsters?

The soundtrack won't be released until September 29, but the first digital single "All is Love" debuted this week and is streaming (for free) on the film's MySpace page.

Karen O, the frontwoman for The Yeah Yeah Yeahs (and ex-girlfriend of director Jonze), rallied composer Carter Burwell, members of Queens of the Stone Age, The Bird and the Bee, Deerhunter, and The Raconteurs, and an untrained children's choir to score the film.

The effusive, charming track by Karen O and the Kids will appeal to adults and kids, and is (yet another) good sign about the movie whose cast boasts Catherine Keener, Forest Whitaker, James Gandolfini, and newcomer Max Records as the young boy who rules the wild things. Karen said, "I didn't want to make music that was hammering you over the head or go for some kind of pushbutton emotion." Mission accomplished.
Publishers Lunch on all things digital:

E-News: Sony Reader in Europe, Frustration with Kindle Licenses, and More

WHSmith and Waterstone's appear to be heading towards a price war on Sony Readers once the latter retailer's exclusive period ends on September 17th. Waterstone's will be selling the new Sony Reader - Touch for £249.99, however the WHS website is selling it for £219. With the Sony Reader - Pocket Waterstone's is taking pre-orders for £179.99 whereas WHS is offering it at £159.The Bookseller

But don't expect the Daily Edition, Sony's touchscreen wireless reader, to be available in the UK anytime soon. Sony did confirm it will be sold there, but that it may take "a year or two."PC ProAt the same event where the new readers were launched, Sony warned the UK book trade that e-book prices are going to have to drop. The Bookseller

The Sony Reader Touch and Pocket Editions will be also sold in the Netherlands through, priced at 299 and 199 Euros, respectively.BOL (via Teleread)

Sony also has come out in favor of the Google Books Settlement, saying in a court filing that the agreement will "foster competition, spur innovation and create efficiencies that will substantially benefit consumers."Bloomberg

Slate's Farhad Manjoo offers his take on Sony's new e-reader and offers a slew of bulletpoint lessons for Amazon's competitors on "how to beat the Kindle": ramp up the features, emphasize service over the device, and embrace open-source.Slate
Add one more company to the e-reader mix, as Asus sets to introduce one under its Eee PC brand by year's end.Wired

Discovery Communications, which launched a patent infringement lawsuit against Amazon and the Kindle earlier this year (Amazon then countersued in May on similar grounds), filed a patent for "an electronic device that lets people read and buy books" earlier this year, but it only showed up this week.TechFlash
And in their quest to get more information about the vagaries of Kindle licenses, Consumerist receives very vague answers from Amazon on that front.Consumerist

Europe Seeks to Ease Rules for Putting Books Online

By JAMES KANTER in The New York Times, Published: August 27, 2009

BRUSSELS — The European Commission on Friday will propose drafting rules that would make it easier to put many books and manuscripts online. The move is a part of the commission’s effort to bolster access to information and to encourage online businesses.
The changes would be aimed at allowing Internet users to access out-of-print works and so-called orphan works for which it is impossible or very difficult to trace the rights holders, said Viviane Reding, the European Union commissioner who oversees the Internet.

Any new rules eventually proposed by Ms. Reding could also make it easier to acquire a single digital copyright covering the European Union, rather than having to deal with agencies in each of its member states.
European Commission officials briefed reporters on the plans on Thursday.
Ms. Reding is stepping up her campaign to modify the European Union’s copyright rules to suit a new era and to enable citizens to locate content on public sites like Europeana, a digital library of Europe’s cultural heritage, as well as on private sites.

A hearing will be held next month in Brussels on Google’s efforts to digitize major collections of books and the company’s proposed settlement with book publishers in the United States.
Ms. Reding said Europeans should “look very closely at the discussions in the U.S. to see how the experience made there could best be used for finding a European solution.”
On Thursday, European officials highlighted the role that private companies like Google could play in helping financially struggling public authorities carry out the expensive task of digitizing materials like books.
Ms. Reding’s suggestions — which are open to public comment until mid-November — broadly mirror aspects of United States copyright law and echo the proposed Google settlement by creating a central registry for the works.
Under the proposed settlement in the United States, companies like Google would be able to reproduce works contained in the registry in exchange for paying money to a central authority that would redistribute the proceeds.
The full piece at NYT.
From Publishing Perpectives
Publishers Must Change the Way Authors Get Paid
By M.J. Rose

Shout it from the rooftops, or better yet, hashtag it on Twitter. It's time to turn the page on how authors get paid.Times have changed, and with them, every aspect of the publishing landscape is morphing. And from my vantage point, nowhere is it changing more than in marketing. Authors aren't waiting and watching to see what publishers aren't doing for their books - they are jumping in feet first and months ahead of their houses to make sure there's a serious marketing and publicity effort.
And publishers aren't gnashing their teeth over the author's involvement anymore - they are encouraging it. (read on ...)

Dame Helen Mirren is to star in a new film adaptation of Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock.

By Anita Singh, Showbusiness Editor, The Telegraph, Published: 27 Aug 2009
Dame Helen Mirren, pic left, will play Ida Arnold Photo: EPA
The Oscar-winning actress will play Ida Arnold, the unlikely heroine who is determined to bring gangland killer Pinkie Brown to justice.
Sam Riley, who made his name playing Joy Division singer Ian Curtis in Control, stars as the razor-wielding teenager, Pinkie. Andrea Riseborough and Pete Postlethwaite have also been cast in major roles.

Greene’s novel was published in 1939 and made into a 1947 film with Richard Attenborough as Pinkie and Hermione Baddeley as Ida.
The new BBC Films production transposes the action to 1964 and the world of Mods and Rockers.
It marks the big screen directorial debut of Rowan Joffe, who wrote the screenplay for 28 Weeks Later and is the son of acclaimed director Roland Joffe.
“We’re making Brighton Rock as contemporary as we possibly can because the story feels ‘modern’. It’s too alive, too vibrant and too relevant to be contained in the late Thirties,” he said. “Any form of adaptation is corruption. And Greene - who lovingly and pragmatically corrupted much of his own work to fit the big screen - would have been the first to understand that.”
A spokesman for the film said that setting the story in 1964 brings it “as close as possible to our own times without corrupting the innocence upon which some constituents of the plot and characterisation depend."
He explained: "The Sixties was the era of the great British gangster, the kind of working cass hero that the frightened and ambitious Pinkie longs to be. It was also the last year in which the death penalty was actively carried out, the threat of hanging being a crucial motivation in Pinkie’s desperate attempts to get rid of witnesses to his killing.”
The full piece at The Telegraph.
Klein distances herself from Winterbottom adaptation
28.08.09 Katie Allen

Naomi Klein has distanced herself from film-maker Michael Winterbottom’s adaptation of her polemic on free market capitalism, The Shock Doctrine (Penguin), which is due to be broadcast on Channel 4 on 1st September.
Klein, who was originally intended to narrate the film and act as consultant, does not appear in the credits as writer or consultant, and does not act as narrator.
She also did not attend its premiere at the Berlin Film Festival earlier this year, and does not mention it on her website. According to the Independent, a Channel 4 source said Klein had distanced herself from the film after seeing early cuts.She told the newspaper: "I can confirm that the original idea was for me to write and narrate the film. For that to have worked out, however, there would have needed to be complete agreement between the directors and myself about the content, tone and structure of the film."As often happens, we had different ideas about how to tell this story and build the argument. This is Michael's adaptation of my book, and I didn't want there to be any confusion about that. I wish the film success."
The Independent’s reviewer Johann Hari described the film as “garbled to the point of meaninglessness” and "a shocking waste of a masterpiece”.

Publishers find deceased authors draw many readers
By , The Washigtn Times, Friday, August 28, 2009

One can only imagine the excitement an author must feel on seeing his book on the New York Times best-seller list — let alone at the top. Stieg Larsson's latest crime novel, "The Girl Who Played With Fire," didn't just inch its way up. It debuted at No. 1 this month.
Mr. Larsson didn't get to pop open a bottle of bubbly to celebrate, though — the Swedish author died in 2004 at age 50, not long after submitting a trilogy of novels. The first, "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," is on the Times' paperback list; the third, "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest," will be published in America next year.
The runaway success of these novels about an anti-social hacker (the girl of the title) and a crusading journalist (not unlike Mr. Larsson himself) might seem unlikely in the age of celebrity culture.
"Turn the clock back 40 years ago; you're sitting in the office, and someone presents a trilogy by a dead Swedish author and asks, 'What are the prospects?' I'm not sure a lot of people would have said we'll go straight to number one with this," says Paul Bogaards, senior vice president and executive director of publicity for Alfred A. Knopf Inc., Mr. Larsson's American publisher.
But the Swede isn't the only recent posthumous success.
Irene Nemirovsky also became a best-selling author — more than 60 years after her 1942 death at age 39 in Auschwitz. Her "Suite Francaise," two novellas about life in Nazi-occupied Paris, was published here in 2006 after her daughter discovered the manuscripts. Another previously unpublished novel, "Fire in the Blood," followed.
Chilean novelist and poet Roberto Bolano was highly acclaimed in Latin America, but his work wasn't published in English until 2003, the year he died. "The Savage Detectives" finally got him noticed here when it was published in English in 2007, and his final novel, the enigmatic 900-page "2666," earned the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction last year.

The full story here.

Sony warns trade over e-book prices
28.08.09 Graeme Neill in The Bookseller

E-book prices will have to come down to meet consumer demand and grow the market, Sony has warned. The company gave the warning at a round table this week to discuss the launch of its two new reader devices.
Sony's general manager for content and services development, Richard Palk, said consumers were confused about why e-book pricing was initially set based on hardback prices before falling when the paperback was released. He added: "It's fair to expect that prices of digital books will come down. The difference in price between physical books and e-books will have to change to meet consumer expectations. But we are in an evolutionary stage."
Palk was speaking at a round table held on Wednesday at the British Library in central London, which included author Sadie Jones.
Unlike the US, the United Kingdom does not have a common benchmark e-book price. Amazon prices new releases and bestselling e-books at $9.99 in the United States and Sony recently cut the price of bestselling titles to $9.99.
Retailers and publishers appear to be split over who should drive a similar pricing change in the UK. Fionnuala Duggan, group digital director at Random House, said Amazon was loss-leading in its Kindle pricing. She said: "It's not an issue for us but it is for booksellers. How do they respond to a competitor loss-leading on e-books?" Duggan refused to be drawn on an answer and said it was a matter for booksellers. She added: "If retailers want prices to be lower then they need to give away more discount or talk to publishers."
Waterstone's commercial director Neil Jewsbury said retailers had to initially work with the r.r.p. of the hardback, which is set by publishers. He added: "With e-books priced at the same r.r.p. as hardbacks we don't have fair pricing and it's something that needs to be addressed."
In research conducted by Waterstone's, the retailer found that the average price paid for an e-book was £6.50. Jewsbury said that was a "good price to pay" for a digital title.
The Book-Club Hustlers
by Francesca Mari writing n The Daily Beast

Enterprising fiction writers are marketing themselves to book groups in person, by phone, and over Skype to boost sales. Meet the new breed of literary types on the make.

There is a thing authors do, nervously, when they think no one is looking. They check out their numbers—online sales figures, ratings, rankings, reader reviews.
Not long ago, Joshua Henkin, a professor of creative writing at Sarah Lawrence and Brooklyn College, was doing just such a thing in his home office. He was scrolling through, monitoring the reception of his new novel, Matrimony. A user named Shelley had given him a mixed review—three stars out of five. Henkin clicked on her name and decided to email her, offering to attend her book club, if she had one. She did—that very evening—and, after several exchanges, Henkin was set to call into it.
Joshua Henkin has topped 175 visits to book groups. “With 10 people in each group,” he said, “that’s 1,750 books sold right there.”

Henkin had already participated in over 80 groups, most of them personal visits to between 10 and 12 middle-aged women. By now, he's topped 175. “With 10 people in each group, that’s 1,750 books sold right there.” When his first novel came out in 1997, Henkin said the book got good reviews but fell by the wayside in sales, in part because his editor was dying. “I’d heard enough horror stories in publishing that even if a book got great reviews it wasn’t going to sell well, and I got the sense that so many people were in book groups,” he says. So when Matrimony first came out, he emailed friends to put him in touch. Now groups find him. And he's willing to drive up to two hours, one way, to any group that asks. “Most sales are going to come shortly after publication. When you see sales stay steady,” Henkin says, “something is going on in terms of word of mouth. And that tends to be book clubs.”

Henkin’s efforts are an enterprising response to the publishing industry’s chronic woes. Money is scarce for publicity, and the way it’s often hoarded to buy full-page ads for the books that make bank (think: James Patterson, Stephen King) means that authors must be on-call at all times. To make a living off of fiction, most writers must be as attuned to marketing as they are to writing. Mickey Pearlman, an author, editor, and professional book-club facilitator, says, “The only thing that’s going to save publishing is book clubs.” Pearlman offers four-hour book-marketing seminars (for $500), focusing on “how to creatively market your book on the Web and in other outlets”—one of those outlets being, of course, book groups. “You’re building an interest in you,” Pearlman says, “so they’ll be very likely to buy your next book.”

The focus on book clubs has spurred the evolution of a new breed: the author-hustler, the writer who succeeds in large part because of door-to-door salesmanship. After the writing comes a new challenge, one of industriousness, perseverance, and charm.

Since 2000, Adriana Trigiani has averaged two to three book clubs a week by phone, and this past April, she led “The World’s Biggest Book Club,” a 300-person event run out of New York’s Convent of the Sacred Heart High School (the very set of Paris Hilton and Lady Gaga’s [mis]education). Chris Bohjalian, whose book Midwives was an Oprah selection in October 1998, began phoning into groups after he was forced to cancel his book tour in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. Requests keep increasing, and this year he anticipates talking to 120 groups.

As soon as The Divorce Party came out, Laura Dave was reaching out to book clubs at the suggestion of her editor and publicist, both of whom recognized her book’s potential appeal to the middle-aged woman.
“Every time I speak to a book group,” Dave says, “almost without exception that book club refers me to another book club that emails.” Dave has done over 100 discussions in person, by phone, and on Skype. She says that Gwyn, the middle-aged narrator of her second novel, is a composite of some of the women she’s met in groups.

Read the full fascinating piece at The Daily Beast.
WHS undercuts Waterstone's on new Sony Readers
28.08.09 Victoria Gallagher - The Bookseller

W H Smith looks like it is ready to spark an e-reader price war after offering the two new Sony e-readers at prices less than those being charged by Waterstone's.
Waterstone's will be selling the new Sony Reader - Touch for £249.99, however the WHS website is selling it for £219. With the Sony Reader - Pocket Waterstone's is taking pre-orders for £179.99 whereas WHS is offering it at £159.

A WHS spokesperson said: "In addition to our offer of 25% off all e-books, we are selling the Readers at the competitive price of £219 for the Reader Touch and £159 for the Reader Pocket. All of the Readers are delivered free of charge by courier to UK addresses. We are encouraged by the level of customer interest."Waterstone's announced earlier this week that it would be selling Sony's new products exclusively until one week after its launch date on 10th September. With each pre-order of one of the new readers Waterstone's will also offer a free e-book copy of the new Dan Brown novel. WHS will be releasing the new readers on 17th September when Waterstone's exclusive deal comes to an end.
Stephenie Meyer's vampire pushes Wuthering Heights to top of Waterstone's classics chart
Wuthering Heights has leapt to the top of Waterstone's classics chart for the first time thanks to a little help from a vampire.

By Stephen Adams, Arts Correspondent, The Telegraph Published: 28 Aug 2009

Teenage readers of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight fantasy books have been flocking to buy Emily Brontë’s 1847 novel, because it is the central character's favourite book.
In Eclipse, the third book in Meyer's series, Bella Swan, the chaste love of vampire Edward Cullen, makes repeated references to Brontë’s masterpiece.

She compares the vampire to turbulent Heathcliff as she quotes Brontë’s heroine Cathy.
"If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger," she tells Edward.

Sarah Clarke, children's books buyer for Waterstone's, said: "By highlighting Wuthering Heights in her novels, Stephenie Meyer has introduced Emily Brontë to the Twilight generation."
HarperCollins, the publisher, has even printed a new "gothic" jacket for Wuthering Heights - similar to the look of Meyer's books - to attract her fans.
It has sold more than 10,000 copies in Waterstone's booksellers stores since May, more than twice as many as the traditional Penguin Classics edition. pictured above.
Read the full story at The Telegraph online.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Sydneysider picked to edit New Yorker
August 28, 2009 - 12:22PM

A 26-year-old Sydneysider has been picked for one of the most prestigious jobs in the magazine world ... managing editor of The New Yorker.

Amelia Lester's appointment has Twitter buzzing, given her youth and background. Lester, who graduated from Harvard, had been a fact checker at The New Yorker and worked as an editor at Paris Review, according to The New York Observer.
She is replacing Kate Julian. New York's other top Aussie journo is Col Allen, who moved from Sydney's Telegraph to edit the New York Post.

26!!!!!!! Interesting that she has been a fact checker at The New Yorker. I recall at The New Yorker panel at the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival earlier this year the New Yorker writers talking about the lengths the magazine went to in verifying facts.
Press release from NZ Society of Authors:

Ministry of Economic Development refuses to get involved in the Google Settlement

The New Zealand Society of Authors (PEN NZ Inc.) is stunned at the lack of support the New Zealand Government is showing its writers.

For about 5 years, Google has been scanning books (digitizing is the description Google uses) and putting them into a vast database. It is estimated that it currently has 10 million books in its database (including books by New Zealand authors). It has done this in two ways – with the permission of rightsholders who have contracted with Google through its Partner Program; or without permission. As you might expect, authors and publishers of books that Google has scanned without permission became increasingly concerned over Google's plans for their books. Eventually, the Authors’ Guild and the Association of American Publishers together with certain individual authors and publishers sued Google claiming that its digitization without permission was copyright infringement. Google's primary defence was that digitizing books but making only excerpts of the digital copies available online amounted to fair use (a general defence to a claim of copyright infringement in the US, unlike the limited fair dealing defences we have here in NZ). A settlement was reached out of court.

The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, usually known as the Berne Convention, is an international agreement governing copyright, first accepted in Berne, Switzerland in 1886. New Zealand is a signatory to the The Berne Convention, and ironically this international treaty that was established to protect copyright is the mechanism being used to force this proposed settlement on New Zealand authors and over ride New Zealand Copyright Law.

It is our understanding from conversations with the office of the Minister of Commerce that the Ministry of Economic Development claims to not have the mechanism to intervene in the Google Settlement because it is a civil matter under United States law. The New Zealand Society of Authors (PEN NZ Inc.) says that this is incorrect. The Berne Convention is a copyright treaty and clearly falls under the jurisdiction of the MED.

It is outrageous that the MED is trying to hide behind bureaucracy to avoid involvement in an issue that affects every book ever published in New Zealand before 5 January 2009.

We urge the Minister to reconsider his position for the good of New Zealand literature.
Calvin Green from Classics Bookshop is pleased to announce , in conjunction with Penguin Publishing New Zealand,the Shortlist for the

Sam and Susanna by Tim Heath, Auckland
Hiding In Crocks and Rainbows by Lynne Judge-Tocker, Levin
The Fifth Season by Jonathan Barrett; Wellington;
The Power of Merit by Juliet Golightly, Whangarei
Egmont Requiem by Maggi Danby, Christchurch

The winner will be announced in New Zealand Book Month, October.

CLASSICS - "The Little Bookstore That Could"
2007 Business Award Winner - Excellence in Retail
41 Bank Street,Whangarei
New Zealand gets its first 1000 ebooks, available now
August 28th, 2009 ·

While commercial publishers work on their project to bring 1000 Great New Zealand ebooks to market, the New Zealand Electronic Text Centre (NZETC) has been quietly working to convert its collection to free downloadable ebooks — 1150 of them available right now.
The NZETC is afilliated to Victoria University in Wellington and has been busy digitising works of historical and literary interest for several years.

Chcek the full story on Martin Taylor's blog - E Report - Digital Publishing Down Under
Saturday Morning with Kim Hill on Radio NZ National - guest information and links:

8:15 Tim O'Brien
New Zealand journalist Tim O'Brien is a former health reporter now based in California, where he has had personal experience of the US health system and attended one of the Town Hall meetings discussing the public health care proposals.

8:30 Rolf de Heer
Australian film director, writer and producer Rolf de Heer first came to wide public attention with his 1994 film Bad Boy Bubby, which won Best Director and Best Original Screenplay at the Australian Film Institute Awards. His other films include The Quiet Room (1996), Dance Me to My Song (1998), The Tracker (2002), and Ten Canoes (2006), which won many Australian film awards and the Un Certain Regard Special Jury Prize at Cannes. A follow-up interactive internet project, Twelve Canoes, was designed by Rolf's partner Molly Reynolds and made in collaboration with the Yolgnu people of Ramingining. Rolf and Molly are visiting New Zealand for seminars and sessions with local filmmakers, organised by Script to Screen.

9:05 Marilynne Robinson
Marilynne Robinson is the author of three novels: Housekeeping (1980, Faber and Faber, ISBN: 978-0-57123-008-2); Gilead (2004, Virago, ISBN: 978-1-84408-148-6), which received the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction; and Home (Virago, ISBN: 978-1-84408-550-7), which won the 2009 Orange Prize for Fiction. She has written two works of non-fiction: The Death of Adam: Essays on Modern Thought (1998, Houghton Mifflin, ISBN: 0395926920), and Mother Country: Britain, the Welfare State, and Nuclear Pollution (1989, Faber and Faber, ISBN: 978-0571154531). Marilynne teaches at the Iowa Writer's'
Workshop, and held a Dwight H. Terry Lectureship at Yale University this year, giving a series of talks entitled Absence of Mind: The Dispelling of Inwardness from the Modern Myth of the Self.

9:45 Kate's Klassic: An Angel at My Table
Kate Camp will discuss Janet Frame's three volumes of autobiography, To the Is-Lan (1982), An Angel at My Table (1984) and The Envoy From Mirror City (1984), posthumously reprinted in 2008 as An Angel at My Table (Virago, ISBN: 9781844084579).

Kate is in Oamaru, where on 28 August (Janet Frame's birthday), the North Otago Museum unveiled its new display, looking at the relationship New Zealand's most renowned author had with Oamaru. On 29 August at 8pm, Kate will hold a writing workshop and evening of repartee, hosted by the Janet Frame Eden Street Trust at the Oamaru Opera House.

10:05 Playing Favourites with Allistar Cox
Allistar Cox is the founder of ALLISTARCOX Architecture. The company's projects include some of Wellington's most awarded hospitality venues (The Matterhorn, The San Francisco Bathhouse, Good Luck, and Mighty Mighty), the development of the Mojo Coffee Cartel brand, and numerous hospitality fit-outs and residential projects across New Zealand.

11:05 Gardening with Meredith Kirton
Meredith Kirton has been committed to gardening and horticulture for over 20 years. She has contributed to Australian lifestyle magazines, been gardening editor in the Sun-Herald and Australia's House and Garden, worked on television and radio shows, and has two books published this year: Dig:
Seasonal Gardening (Murdoch Books, ISBN: 978-1741965605) and Harvest: a Complete Guide to the Edible Garden (Murdoch Books, ISBN 978-1741964509).

11:30 Amy Whitehead
Canterbury scientist Amy Whitehead was this year's overall runner-up at the MacDiarmid Young Scientists of the Year Awards. She is researching conservation of the whio, or blue duck.

11:45 Jo Randerson
Playwright, author and performer Jo Randerson will speak about death. The new theatre work from her Barbarian Productions company, Good Night - The End, has its world premiere season at Downstage Theatre in Wellington, from 11 September to 3 October.

Just a reminder that CLEO hits bookstores today.

Don't miss this wonderful read. Here is my review from a week or so ago.
And meet the author at:
Auckland - 6pm Wednesday 23 September, Takapuna Boating Club.
Wellington - 6pm Thursday 24 September, New Dowse Gallery, Lower Hutt
Tickets $20 (plus booking/delivery fee) from Ph: 0508 iTICKET (484 253)
Bubbles and nibbles will be provided. Books will be available for signing.
Proceeds going to SPCA.
For more information, visit
Guardian first book award longlist takes in sex, death and quantum mechanics
• Ten debut works, including NZ title, span poetry, history and fiction• Judges begin process of choosing £10,000 winner
Mark Brown, arts correspondent,The Guardian, Friday 28 August 2009

A brutally honest account of life as a surgeon, with eye-opening stories of panic and incompetence that some of us might, in truth, not like to know about, is today named as one of 10 books in contention for this year's Guardian first book award.

Gabriel Weston's well-received memoir, Direct Red, addresses some fascinating questions, such as what is it like to cut into someone else's body? Or how do you tell a beautiful, seemingly fit young man that he will be dead in days?
The book is not an exposé, but it does shine a fascinating light on a hugely stressful profession full of big, mostly male, egos. Among the stories Weston tells is one of the time she panicked during a routine tonsillectomy, with so much blood filling the patient's mouth that the nurse was unable to suck it out quickly enough. When she asked for help, the consultant told her to just get on with it, which proved to be the best way forward.
Weston, who took an unusual route to surgery in that she graduated in English before realising medicine was her vocation, now lives in London and works as a part-time ear, nose and throat surgeon.
Her book is one of 10 longlisted for what is the only prize to honour debut books of all genres. Aside from surgery, the list takes in architecture, oil, mapmaking, Alzheimer's disease, high-school sex, and quantum mechanics. It includes four novels, four works of non-fiction, a short story collection, and a poetry collection.
Claire Armitstead, the Guardian's literary editor, who chairs the judging panel, said: "This year the longlist reflects the way in which the divisions between genres are shifting and collapsing and shows the energy and imagination with which the best new writers are confronting a world in transition."
Zimbabwean Petina Gappah, whose day job is in Geneva as an international trade lawyer, is nominated for An Elegy for Easterly, which tells the stories of real people living under Robert Mugabe's regime in Zimbabwe. Also telling an African story is A Swamp Full of Dollars, by Financial Times journalist Michael Peel, in which he travels to the oil-rich Niger delta.

Edward Hollis's The Secret Lives of Buildings tells the distinct and surprising stories of 13 very different buildings from Gloucester Cathedral to a Las Vegas casino complex. The other non-fiction book is The Strangest Man by Graham Farmelo, about one of the most brilliant scientific minds of the last century, Paul Dirac.
The fiction nominees include Samantha Harvey for her moving portrayal of an Alzheimer's patient in The Wilderness, and The Girl With Glass Feet, by Ali Shaw, which tells the magical story of Ida Maclaird, who is turning into glass.
The only poetry on the longlist is The Missing by Siân Hughes, a collection that deals with parenting, illness, loss, regret and ill-fated love.
The judges are BBC presenter Martha Kearney, poet and novelist Tobias Hill, writer Nadeem Aslam, political philosopher John Gray, and the Guardian's deputy editor, Katharine Viner. Stuart Broom of Waterstone's will represent five reading groups who are also working through all the books. The £10,000 winner will be decided in December.

The contenders:
The Secret Lives of Buildings Edward Hollis
Direct Red Gabriel Weston
The Strangest Man Graham Farmelo
A Swamp Full of Dollars Michael Peel
The Rehearsal Eleanor Catton (pic left)
The Wilderness Samantha Harvey
The Girl With Glass Feet Ali Shaw
The Selected Works of TS Spivet Reif Larsen
An Elegy for Easterly Petina Gappah
The Missing Siân Hughes