Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Bookman attends two exceptional book launches

Attending two book launches on one day is not a common event in my life but it happened yesterday and both events were quite outstanding in very different ways.

First up, at lunchtime was the very attractive The New Zealand Vegetable Cookbook written by three culinary belles, Lauraine Jacobs, Ginny Grant and Kathy Patterson, with  photography by Aaron McLean, styling by Tam West and design by Keely O'Shannessy. Published by Random House this handsome book with its refreshing, uncomplicated recipes all gorgeously complemented by the truly superb food photography of Aaron McLean is crying out to be on the kitchen bookshelf of every foodie in the land.

It was a stunning winter's day in Auckland with hardly a cloud in the sky and not a breath of wind so where better to launch a cookbook than Judith Tabron's outstanding Soul bar & bistro right on the harbour's edge.

After a beautifully presented light three course lunch - Fennel, feta, olive & lmon tart; Gilled hapuka with a salad of radicchio, rocket, oranges, raisons and pine nuts; Tea cup white chocolate and orange biscotti - the eighty guests kicked back and were entertained by the three authors introduced to us by Random House NZ Publisher Nicola Legat.
The authors, all stars in their own right, urged us to grow our own vegetables and herbs and talked of the book being a team effort involving publisher, photographer, stylist, designer and Turners & Growers who supplied the vegetables.
After a coffee and with some reluctance I returned to my home office shortly after 2.00pm but determined to be bolder and more imaginative with the vegetables I cook in future. A most enjoyable interlude.

Then at 6.00pm I headed off to Sky City Convention Centre for the second launch of the day. Wow, this was a biggie. More than 200 turned out for the launch of Ray Avery - Rebel With a Cause.

We were all there as guests of Kiwibank (sponsors of the New Zealander of the Year award of which Ray Avery was the inaugural recipient.), Random House and Sky City with wines from Invivo, Pelorus and Cloudy Bay. It was quite a party.

Brilliantly MC'd by Oscar Kightley, a close friend of Ray Avery, in fact he desribed himself and Ray as brothers from different mothers.Oscar  described the book as "an hilariously sad read".
Other speakers included Sam Knowles CEO of Kiwibank, Jenny Hellen deputy publisher Random House NZ (below right), and then of course the man of the hour, New Zealander of the Year Ray Avery.

 In his moving and impressive address spoke of his fondness of New Zealand, "the Antarctica Riviera", of his philosophy and belief that anyone can achieve anything if they don't give up no matter how tough things get. He went on to pay special thanks to Kiwibank for recognising Kiwis who are making a difference, Paul Little for ghost-writing the book for him, Random House, Sky City amd Pelorus Wines.
As Jenny Hellen said Ray changes the world, he changes everything and everyone around him.

After the speeches Ray patiently and most graciously signed copies of the book and had his photograph taken with numerous fans for well over an hour with Unity Books reporting sales of close to 150 copies. Bravo.

So two books from Random House, (a Random day for me), one to inspire you in the kitchen, and the garden too, and one to inspire you with the remarkable and engaging story of how one man has changed the world by assisting up to 30 million blind people around the globe.
This man really is an inspiration and how richly he deserved to be named Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year 2010 and recipient.of the Sir Peter Blake Medal for Leadership 2010.
We salute you Ray. 

 Pic above  -Ray Avery with MC Oscar Kightley - "brothers from different mothers"
Another great quote from the never shy Oscar Kightley was “I thought I was the man - but he is the man!”

All photos taken at the launch by Bruce Jarvis, thanks Bruce.

Above  -TVNZ’s Sunday top-rating programme lead the ‘Rebel with a Cause’ publicity campaign with their superb, 20-minute story from reporter Cameron Bennett and producer Max Adams.

Below - a selection of shots showing guests. I spy authors Sarah-Kate Lynch and Wendyl Nissen ampng them and is that Garham Wall bottom left?

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