Thursday, September 30, 2010

 Stephen Oliver writes about Antipodes

Stephen Oliver, pic left, is a New Zealand Poet.

Antipodes is a highly regarded North American Journal of (up until the current June issue) Australian / literature.

Antipodes: A Global Journal of Australian / New Zealand Literature’. This is the new sub title as of June this year; it used to be: An Australasian Journal of Australian Literature.
The editors are now open to contributions from NZ authors in the areas of critical work. See the editorial below by the editor, Dr Nick Birns.

As a permanent resident in Australia for twenty years, I have published much creative non-fiction prose in addition to poems in Antipodes over the years.
In this context it is worthwhile noting that I have been pushing the concept of transtasman literature (my spelling – as in ‘transatlantic’) for some time.
I coined the term, transtasman as opposed to the customary, Trans-Tasman label, to suggest a closer cultural identity between the two countries.

A ‘third’ literature or poetic, neither one nor the other, but a combination of both, etc. It is a malleable concept I have played around with for some time.

This undoubtedly is a positive development on behalf of Antipodes that will contribute strongly toward developing a vibrant and sustainable transtasman literature. I celebrate the initiative.
Stephen Oliver


Expanding Our Scope

Yes, we have finally done it! After many years of answering questions about why we do not include New Zealand, both the organization, now the American Association for Australasian Literary Studies, and this journal, with its new subtitle, have embraced Aotearoa. And we welcome submissions of expository material and reviews on New Zealand writers and from New Zealand critics. The creative material (fiction and poetry) will continue to be exclusively Australian.

This is not a huge shift in practice, as we have, de facto, been publishing pieces, such as Helen Gildfind’s essay on Janet Frame, Norman Oder’s piece on Alan Duff, and Stephen Oliver’s periodic Trans-Tasman meditations, pertaining to New Zealand, and New Zealand books by Mark Pirie, Jenny Robin Jones, and Norman Simms have long been treated in our reviews sections, But this formal avowal of New Zealand will help reconfigure the journal into a more cosmopolitan and transnational forum and hopefully enable us to draw more on the surprisingly large contingent of scholars in the US and Europe interested in New Zealand.

The change of the subtitle is, to my mind, at least as important. As I indicated in an essay published in the April 2010 issue of Austalian Book Review, Antipodes has never been exclusively Americana in its perspective on Australian literature, but has published many essays by Australian critics, as well as, from early on, Continental European scholars of the Antipodes, supplemented more recently by voices from India and China. Our contributors have always been ‘international’ (to use the modernist term) or ‘global’ to use the postmodern one. Although ‘international’ is perhaps more elegant as a term than ‘global’, by a similar logic as implied by Jahan Ramazani in his influential 2006 essay in Modernism/Modernity, that modern ‘bricolage’ is more nuanced than postmodern ‘hybridity’, we have decided to ‘bear us like the time’ (the closing line of Shakespeare-and-collaborator’s TheTwo Noble Kinsmen) and use ‘global’. The reality this overused adjective nonetheless indicates is that our vsion is not confined to e.g. how Mark Twain viewed Australian writers, but offers a window on a discourse of Australian and New Zealand writing that is now truly worldwide. Incidentally, ‘Australasia’, admittedly a not-uncontested term, includes the South Pacifoc as well; essays on Fijian, Tongan, Tahitian, New Caledonian and of course New Guinea literature or cultural studies are most welcome). The journal will continune to be edited from. within the US, by Americans; most of our reviewers will continue to be American or Canadian; and the orgnazation will continue to have the adjective “North American”.
But we are open to the entire world, and, importantly, to essays comparing British literature with that of Australian and New Zealand comparative studies do not have to always include an American ‘leg’, however gratifying it is when they do, as in the allusion to the late and much-missed Americam scholar Matthew Bruccoli in Carmel Bird’s new novel, Child of the Twilight (an excerpt of which appears in this issue).

That being said, the visible changes to the journal will be minimal. I had feared that rising costs would lead us to go to a smaller format and eliminate the cover art; but it seems, fiscally speaking, we will be able to avoid doing so. And Antoni Jach’s searing and sombering cover image should remind us of just how fortunate that is, and how art can, in this case, capture the agonized sublime of ecological catastrophe, one of the problems make ‘the global’ as much a term of shared crisis as one of mobile euphoria. Or, as the material devoted to Kevin Hart’s work in this issue might cause us to reflect, that the metaphysical at times makes even the global seem provincial.
Nicholas Birns

Nielsen Book today announced the launch of BookScan India.
The BookScan Indian panel collects sales from 3 October with the first week’s charts released on Friday 15 October. It is estimated the panel covers over 50% of organised book sales in India and by the end of 2010, in a typical week, the panel will measure over 55,000 different titles, with a combined sales volume of over 500,000 units and value of R12 Crore (approx £1.7million a week).

The Nielsen BookScan service is the world’s largest continuous book sales tracking service operating in the UK, Ireland, Australia, US, South Africa, New Zealand, (Nielsen BookScan New Zealand was launched in December 2008 ), Italy, Spain and Denmark.

The launch of the Indian panel in October 2010 will bring the number of territories in which the service operates to 10.

BookScan sales data will be available to subscribing clients and participating retailers on a weekly basis just six working days after the measured period ends, via BookScan Online, the company’s flexible, web-based analysis tool. The panel launches with 24 booksellers including independents, medium and large chains and online retailers which include: Full Circle, Landmark, Reliance Time Out and Flipkart.

BookScan charts and title sales are available for all genres. Market information can be analysed by various criteria including category, publisher, country of publication and format. Market trends are readily linked to the titles driving the results, so patterns can be interpreted easily. The actual price paid for the book will also be tracked so levels of discounting can also be calculated.

Nielsen Book has been collecting test data, which is already providing valuable insights into the Indian market with Frederick Forsyth’s The Cobra heading straight into the number 1 spot last week and Chetan Bhagat taking 4 of the top 10 chart places.

Nielsen Book will be at the Frankfurt Book Fair, Stand H904, Hall 8 and welcomes enquiries on the new service and look forward to meeting Indian publishers and booksellers to develop the panel further.
Haruki Murakami Has 11/1 Odds to Win 2010 Nobel Prize in Literature
By Jason Boog on GalleyCat,  Sep 29, 2010

As literary types speculate about this year's nominee for the Nobel Prize in Literature before the official announcement, UK gamblers are hard at work trying to predict a winner of the prestigious prize.

According to the betting site Ladbrokes,Swedish author Tomas Transtromer has the best chance with 5/1 odds. Japan's Haruki Murakami and Australia's Les Murray both have 11/1 odds of winning the prize.

Take these odds with a grain of salt. Last year, Herta Müller beat some tough odds to win the 2009 prize--Ladbrokes had Israeli author Amos Oz as the 4 to 1 favorite. (Via Michael Orthofer)

I notice looking at the full list at Ladbrokes that Peter Carey is at 100/1 while Bob Dylan is th rank outsider at 150/1 !
Andrew Zuckerman
Hachette-PQ Blackwell - $80

Following the highly acclaimed Wisdom, Andrew Zuckerman now turns his unique photographic perspective to music.
Music includes 50 eminent musicians, composers and producers from rock, pop, hip-hop, classical, country, jazz, and more, who have made an impact on their genre, contributed to the larger conversation, and have a unique perspective on life.
The photographs are amazing and I regret that I can't get anywhere near the quality on the blog but believe me they are stunning.
And the production values achieved by PQ Blackwell illustrate why the publisher is internationally rated in this field.

From Russell Simmons, Iggy Pop and Ravi Shankar, to Roseanne Cash and Eve, and our very own Dave, Dobbyn, Neil Finn and Bic Runga, (pic below), the collection focuses on the thoughts and words and accompanying portraits of some of the most iconic living musicians amongst us today.

We can’t always understand each other because of a language. But everyone, in every culture, understands a battle drumbeat or a mother’s lullaby. – John Williams.

Five percent of the originating publisher’s revenue from the sale of books will be donated to a Music royalty pool that will be distributed evenly among charities nominated by the individuals who participate in the project.
Photo above - Mark Knopfler
About the photographer:
Andrew Zuckerman was born in Washington DC in 1977.
He has published three photography books: Creature,Wisdom and Bird. He is based in New York.
Announcement from The Royal Society of Literature

Monday 25 October 2010 7pm
The V.S. Pritchett Memorial Prize
Chaired by Paula Johnson

Novelist and short-story writer Jane Gardam has been garlanded with prizes and awards. Her most recent collection of stories, The People on Privilege Hill, was described by critics as ‘dazzling’ and ‘pitch-perfect’.
Adam Mars-Jones, twice selected as one of Granta’s 20 ‘Best of Young British Novelists’, is the author of three collections of short stories and two novels, the latest of which, Pilcrow, has been praised in Metro as a ‘genuine, almost miraculous oddity’.
In an evening chaired by RSL prize administrator, Paula Johnson, Jane Gardam opens, followed by Adam Mars-Jones who reads his recent story ‘Irrational Fear of Tom Stoppard’.
Finally, after the announcement and presentation of the Royal Society of Literature's annual V.S. Pritchett Memorial Prize, the winning entry is read by its author.

This event will be held in the Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre, Courtauld Institute.

We are grateful to Prospect for sponsoring this event.

Tickets and booking
Fellows and members of the RSL should book seats in advance via the website –

There is a limited number of tickets available for members of the public at all RSL events. These are sold on the door, from 6pm, on a first come, first served basis, for £8 (£5 concessions).

An invitation from Jamie Oliver
Hi Guys

You may already know that we have an annual fundraising event called "A Big Night Out with Jamie" where all the proceeds from the night go to the Jamie Oliver Foundation.

This year the event is happening in the crypt at St Pauls Cathedral on Thursday 11th November 2010. It is a really fun night with great food from the team at Fifteen with top wines, cool cocktails from Bacardi, and fantastic live music from Diana Vickers and Sophie Ellis-Bextor. My mate Ben Shephard has agreed to co-host with me once again and the event has already sold out!

We are offering the chance to win 2 tickets to come and join us worth £1300! All you need do is enter the raffle draw and buy a ticket for only a tenner!

Good luck, hopefully see you there!
Big Love
Books must be allowed to find their readers, says Google

29.09.10 - Graeme Neill - The Bookseller

Readers rather than publishers should decide the books they want to read, a Google executive told a debate on digital's effect on publishing. Santiago de la Mora, the internet company's director for print content partnerships, was one of the speakers at The Literary Consultancy's Big Publishing Debate held last night.

Other speakers included Faber c.e.o. and publisher Stephen Page, Canongate digital editor Dan Franklin and technology writer Bill Thompson. head of books Gordon Willougby pulled out of the debate at the last moment. De La Mora defended Google's Book Search, which will allow consumers to find, preview and buy titles through Google. The expanded Google Book Search, which will include out of print books and titles Google scanned without permission, is currently waiting final approval by the US Supreme Court after several years of legal wrangling.

De La Mora argued the role of Book Search was to try and find readers for every book, whether it was in or out of print. He said: "Around 75% of books are out of print. It's means zero revenue for the author. The tragedy is that if you want to be published, read and earn a living from books being out of print is a shame. We believe the internet can actively be helpful and give longer shelf lives to books."

He stressed to an occasionally hostile crowd of agents, retailers and authors that copyright holders would be able to recommend the prices of their content through Book Search and could choose to opt out entirely. De La Mora said currently readers make the final decision about the books they buy but this choice is only from the titles publishers choose to keep in print. He said: "The role we are trying to play is helping books find their readers. One fundamental truth is every book has its reader. Through Search it's much easier to find those niches. Even a niche book that is not economically viable to publish may all of a sudden have a very strong readership if you make it available to every English speaker."

Both Page and Franklin maintained the importance of the editor within the digital age. Franklin said: "If you are a setting up a company, you still need someone to read books and give a second opinion on them. That relationship and dynamic is still very important."

Page later argued: "The fundamental of an editor is that the role sits in the middle of what a publishing house is. Without it, it's merely a marketing consultancy. With digital change the role of the editor may rise. In some ways what they could take on is the role of an impresario."
'Bookie Prize' Longlist Revealed

Book2Book - Wednesday 29 Sep 2010

Sporting legends including Andre Agassi, Henry Olonga, Brian Moore and Errol Christie have made the longlist of this year's William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award, the richest prize of its type anywhere in the world.

Now in its 22nd year, the award will be fought out by titles celebrating boxing, cricket, angling, running, rugby, tennis as well as those looking into the psychology and history of sport.

Duncan Hamilton, winner of the award in 2007 and 2009 (for Provided You Don't Kiss Me: 20 Years With Brian Clough and Harold Larwood: The Authorized Biography of the World's Fastest Bowler respectively), is in the running once again, having been longlisted for A Last English Summer, his reflection on cricket's past, present and future. If he goes on to win, Hamilton will make history by becoming the only writer to win the prestigious award three times.

The 13 longlisted books are as follows:

* Open: An Autobiography by Andre Agassi (Harper Collins)

* A Book of Heroes: Or A Sporting Half Century by Simon Barnes (Short Books)

* No Place To Hide: How I Put the Black in the Union Jack by Errol Christie with Tony McMahon (Aurum)

* Trautmann's Journey: From Hitler Youth to FA Cup Legend by Catrine Clay (Yellow Jersey)

* The Grudge: Scotland vs. England, 1990 by Tom English (Yellow Jersey)

* Tea With Mr Newton: 100,000 Miles, The Longest Protest March in History by Rob Hadgraft (Desert Island Books)

* A Last English Summer by Duncan Hamilton (Quercus)

* Blood Knots by Luke Jennings (Atlantic Books)

* Liston & Ali: The Ugly Bear and the Boy Who Would Be King by Bob Mee (Mainstream)

* Beware of the Dog: Rugby's Hard Man Reveals All by Brian Moore (Simon & Schuster)

* We Ate All The Pies by John Nicholson (Biteback)

* Blood, Sweat and Treason by Henry Olonga (Vision Sports Publishing)

* Bounce: How Champions Are Made by Matthew Syed (Fourth Estate)

"From a staggering number of entries - over 130 titles - we have produced a long list of a 'Bookies Dozen' fit to grace the shelves of any sporting library", said Hill's spokesman Graham Sharpe.

Waterstone's Sports Buyer, Joe Browes, said: "If England's World Cup team had been half as strong as this longlist, we might have got somewhere. The William Hill prize shows that sports writing is in ruder health in the UK than many of our own sporting icons. Two contenders stand out; Duncan Hamilton, who is going for the triple, and Andre Agassi, whose book revealed the tortured side of a tennis icon."

The William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award is the world's longest established and most valuable literary sports-writing prize. As well as a £22,000 cash prize, the winning author will receive a £2,000 William Hill bet, a hand-bound copy of their book, and a day at the races. This year's prize was open to any full-length book, providing the subject was predominantly sporting, published for the first time in the UK between 30th September 2009 and 29th September 2010.

The judging panel for this year's award consists of broadcaster and writer John Inverdale; award-winning journalist Hugh McIlvanney; broadcaster Danny Kelly; and columnist and author, Alyson Rudd. Chairman of the judging panel is John Gaustad, co-creator of the award and founder of the Sportspages bookshop.

The shortlist will be announced on 26th October. The winner will be announced at a lunchtime reception at Waterstone's Piccadilly (London), Europe's largest bookstore, on Tuesday 30th November.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

In the UK Sky Arts champions book festivals as The Book Show takes to the road

 Sky Arts Get Creative Fund to encourage creative talents will launch at book festivals

From 14 October on Sky Arts 1 HD at 7pm

The Book Show, the UK’s leading television programme dedicated entirely to books will return for a fifth series and announces its upcoming tour of some of the UK’s best book festivals.

Over the course of the next series, the team will broadcast from The Cheltenham Literature Festival in October, the Bath Literature Festival in February, Words by the Water in Cumbria in March and the Hay Literature Festival in May. Sky Arts has also pledged to support one more festival, to be confirmed in due course.

The new series will launch on the 14 October with a broadcast from Cheltenham, the oldest literature festival in the world, and one of the largest. The first guests to join Mariella will be the award-winning and hugely popular authors Sebastian Faulks, Susan Hill and James Ellroy.

Building on the existing Book Show presence at the Hay Festival and Cheltenham, this increased coverage of literary festivals, championing some of the smaller festivals as well as the more established – represents Sky Arts commitment to books, both on and off screen

Presenter of The Book Show, Mariella Frostrup will welcome some of the biggest names at each of the festivals to the sofa, discussing their latest works and favourite reads in front of a live audience of festival attendees. Previous guests have included Melvyn Bragg, Hilary Mantel, Martin Amis, Ian Rankin, Kate Mosse, Grayson Perry, Christopher Hitchens, Simon Schama, Quentin Blake, Diana Athill, Alastair Campbell and PD James.

The Book Show will feature three studio interviews with some of the most exciting names in the literary world, including best-selling writers, celebrity authors and the biggest names behind the most interesting new reads. Each guest will discuss their most recent work, what inspires them and their writing process. The show will also feature films about literary subjects and issues; the first two films will be a celebration of Agatha Christie with crime-writer Peter James, and a literary tour of The Lady with Rachel Johnson. Popular features will make their return including Bedside Table, which sees a writer talking about what they are reading and Book Club Recommendations, focusing on a bookshop from around the UK, and their recommended reading for book clubs. This season, there will be a new feature which sees guests revealing the books they feel everyone should read by the age of 21.

Sky Arts will also launch its Sky Arts Get Creative Fund at the festivals, which offers one person per festival the chance to win £1,000 to fund a course on their creative passions. Visitors to the festivals will be invited to describe why they feel they deserve a scholarship, and which talent they would like to pursue. The winner will be asked to write a weekly blog on the Sky Arts website as they develop their talents.

Mariella Frostrup, presenter of The Book Show commented: “It’s very exciting to open our fifth series with this new commitment. Book festivals play an important part in inspiring readers and by taking The Book Show to the festivals, we can do even more to bring the experiences and stories of some wonderful authors to life.”

“Supporting book festivals with The Book Show is a hugely exciting opportunity for Sky Arts. It will build on Sky Arts’ reputation for championing brilliant authors and bringing our viewers closer to the very best of literature and books on television,” adds channel director John Cassy. “The festivals are a wonderful opportunity to build the ever increasing passion for books in this country, and we are delighted that we are able to support both established and burgeoning festivals.”

Sky Arts produces a dedicated website which acts as a hub for viewers, featuring weekly updates on guests, extract downloads of the featured books, competitions, recommended reads and an extensive video archive of past authors.

The Bookman must admit to going a deep shade of green with envy when reading the above press release !
In Study, Children Cite Appeal of Digital Reading
By Julie Bosman

Published New York Times: September 29, 2010

. Many children want to read books on digital devices and would read for fun more frequently if they could obtain e-books. But even if they had that access, two-thirds of them would not want to give up their traditional print books.

These are a few of the findings in a study being released on Wednesday by Scholastic, the American publisher of the Harry Potter books and the “Hunger Games” trilogy.

The report set out to explore the attitudes and behaviors of parents and children toward reading books for fun in a digital age. Scholastic surveyed more than 2,000 children ages 6 to 17, and their parents, in the spring.

Parents and educators have long worried that digital diversions like video games and cellphones cut into time that children spend reading. However, they see the potential for using technology to their advantage, introducing books to digitally savvy children through e-readers, computers and mobile devices.

About 25 percent of the children surveyed said they had already read a book on a digital device, including computers and e-readers. Fifty-seven percent between ages 9 and 17 said they were interested in doing so.
Full report at NYT.
Auckland University Press and Unity Books Wellington invite you to celebrate the publication of

by Chris Bourke

6–8pm, Thursday 7th October
to be launched by Wayne Mason at The Ruby Lounge, 14 Bond Street, Wellington
Entertainment: $5
Music: The Vaughn Roberts Quintet

Creative New Zealand will support the translation of New Zealand literature into foreign languages with a new Translation Grant Scheme announced today.

The new scheme was developed in response to 2009 research by the New Zealand Book Council which found that the leading international models for promoting a country’s literature focused on a translation grant scheme.

Administered by the Publishers Association of New Zealand (PANZ) the scheme will contribute up to 50 percent of the translation cost per title, to a maximum of $5000. It was developed after further consultation with the Book Council, PANZ, publishers, overseas funders and members of the literary community.

Creative New Zealand Chief Executive Stephen Wainwright said the Translation Grant Scheme would be important to bringing New Zealand’s unique literary voice to overseas markets.

“We are increasing our efforts to promote New Zealand literature internationally and this is one of a number of funding initiatives which will support our best writers to achieve maximum exposure. Connections made with international publishers will help grow the international market for, and profile of, New Zealand literature.”

The Translation Grant Scheme will be announced at the prestigious Frankfurt Book Fair in October. An online application process and the quarterly 2011 deadlines can be found at the PANZ website:

The scheme builds on, and links to, the Creative New Zealand’s support for New Zealand writers to take part in international literary fairs. PANZ, funded by Creative New Zealand, coordinates a New Zealand delegation to attend the Frankfurt Book Fair each year. In 2010 this funding will assist four publishers to exhibit at the New Zealand stand. To find out more about the fair and who is going go to

There are a number of international literature initiatives funded by Creative New Zealand listed below:

• writers grants to attend international festivals (administered by the New Zealand Book Council)

• Te Mana Ka Tau, the annual incoming visitors programme for international publishers

• support for New Zealand publishers to participate in the Australia Council’s annual Visiting International Publishers programme.

• Translation grants via literature contestable funding applications

Criteria and grant levels for the Translation Grant Scheme

• Applications will be assessed by a five-person panel that will include representatives of New Zealand Book Council, NZ Centre for Literary Translation, PANZ and Creative New Zealand.

• Grants awarded will contribute up to 50 percent of the translation cost to a maximum of NZ$5,000 per title.

• International Publishers can apply online at

• 2011 applications deadlines:
1 November 2010
1 February 2011
1 May 2011
1 August 2011
1 November 2011

For more information go to our website

Or contact:
Hannah Evans
Creative New Zealand
04 498 0725
027 677 8070
Mark Billingham
Little Brown $38.99

Crime fiction is one of fiction’s biggest selling genres but I find it one of the hardest categories to review because essentially they are whodunits and you can’t say too much about the plot without giving away the finale. In fact a couple of times recently I have been criticised for giving away too much of the story when reviewing on this blog.

So let’s start by saying this is the 9th novel from Mark Billingham featuring his likekable but quite complex cop, Detective Inspector Tom Thorne. Almost all crime fiction writers have a good guy protagonist, usually but not always a cop, usually but not always a man, and devotees of crime fiction tend to relate strongly to these characters. A few of my favourites that spring to mind are Ian Rankin’s John Rebus, PD James’ Adam Dalgleish, Sarah Paretsky’s VI Warshawski, Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone, Lee Child’s Jack Reacher, Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch and Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta. I know and like these people, (most of the time anyway!), and read everything published that features them. I like the continuity that characters like this provide, I guess it goes back to my reading as a child, all those books by Enid Blyton, - the Famous Five, the Secret Seven and other series too like the Just William stories, Biggles, and Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazon series.

Some authors within the genre write only stand alone novels. One who comes to mind is English author R.J.Ellory who was in New Zealand recently. He creates a new protagonist for each title. I would like to have seen NYPD detective Frank Parrish, his main character in his latest excellent novel, Saints of New York, developed in future titles but when I asked him about this he said that would not happen.

Back to Tom Thorne, he is a serious and dedicated cop, slightly unpredictable with a dry sense of humour, he and his long time girlfriend Louise live in London but each with their own flat although much of the time they are together at one address or the other. In this latest book their relationship is going through something of a difficult patch. They are both cops and so their personal; lives and plans are often disrupted by police call outs.

So what does he get up to in this latest adventure? Well here is the story in a nutshell. A decade ago Alana Langford was murdered in what was dubbed at the time the Epping Forest Barbeque because his charred remains were discovered in his burnt out Jag deep in that forest. His wife Donna was found guilty of conspiracy to murder her husband and was sent to jail for ten years. It was a pretty cut and dried case, Donna had paid a guy 25,000 pounds to carry out the deed.
But just before she is due to be released from prison she received a nasty shock when anonymous letters start arriving containing photographs of her husband alive and well and enjoying e trappings of an apparent Mediterranean lifestyle. Who was it then who was burnt in the Jag, certainly it was not the man she had paid to be murdered? Enter Tom Thorne. And really the book is about his attempts to solve that mystery about which I will say no more except that Thorne, whose beat is normally London finds himself on the Malaga coast of Spain working on what appears to be an unsolvable case. It is gripping stuff, moves along at a real clip and so captured was I that I read it in three long sittings over the last couple of days.

Mark Billingham is one of the UK’s leading crime writers – he has won the Theakston’s Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year Award twice, the Sherlock Award and has been nominated several times for the Crime Writers Association Gold Daggers, He’s good and if you enjoy crime fiction then read this.
If you don’t know his books you can read the first chapter of each one at his website –

I reviewed this title with Kathryn Ryan on Radio New Zealand this morning, this is a somewhat longer review than I had time for on air.

1. Joy Cowley

You are invited to hear Joy Cowley talking about her memoir NAVIGATION
The celebrated writer of over 600 children’s books, Joy Cowley now tells her own story.
Navigation is a beautifully written memoir, peppered with Joy’s irrepressible love of life.

Friday, 8th October, 12 noon
Joy will be speaking from 12.15 pm

Takapuna Library
The Strand, Takapuna
Entry: $ 2
Friends of the Library FREE

RSVP to Helen ph 486 8469

2. Frank Sargeson’s Stories

Cape Catley Publishers and the Friends of Takapuna Library invite you to join Dame Cath Tizard to celebrate the launch of  Frank Sargeson’s Stories.
A new edition of the short stories from the father of modern New Zealand writing who used the voice of ordinary Kiwis to create stories in which they recognised themselves.
This collection includes thirteen new stories in book form for the first time.

Monday, 11 October 2010
Refreshments from 6pm; Launch from 6.30pm

Takapuna Library
The Strand, Takapuna

Refreshments from 6pm; Launch from 6.30pm
For catering purposes, please RSVP to:
Helen Woodhouse, ph 486 8469; email

What you may ask have the above things got in common.

The answer is that the multi-talented Fifi Colston came third in the Avant Garde section at the World of Wearable Art Awards in Wellington last weekend. Her piece was inspired by none other than Rachael King’s MAGPIE HALL. She was on TV One's Good Morning this morning with her outfit and she gave a huge plug to Magpie Hall.

This from Fifi’s blog:

‘When I read New Zealand author, Rachael King’s novel Magpie Hall I was inspired by her Victorian gothic elements of tattoos, taxidermied collections and a possible flayed woman. A Cabinet of Curiosities and its odd contents was something the fated Dora in the book had to contend with. Ultimately it was to be her downfall … her Memento Mori (you HAVE to read this book!)

‘I created the cabinet with the well known mirror box illusion known amongst magicians. Where is the lady’s middle? She is merely full of curiosities in jars. The botanical illustrations are from Vintage Printable, the cabinet illustrations from ‘A Century of NZ Trademarks’. Her tattoos come from all over, some from friends, others referenced from Sailor Jerry, the famous tattooist of his time who created blueprints for hundreds of flash designs. The heart tattoo in the middle of Dora’s breast belongs to a writer I know- it seemed appropriate that the story should begin with one author and end with another.

Amazon Unveils Kindle for the Web

By Jason Boog on GalleyCat. Sep 28, 2010

Today Amazon launched Kindle for the Web, allowing readers to sample books through a web browser instead of a Kindle interface.

eBookNewser has more: "In addition, bloggers and website owners who are participants in the Amazon Associates Program can embed samples of Kindle books on their sites. These website owners will earn referral fees from Amazon when customers complete book purchases using the links on their websites. Authors Karen McQuestion and John Miller already using the new service on their blogs. Consumers can read a free sample of their Kindle books on their sites."

Real Locations in Crime Fiction
Edited by Maxim Jakubowski
New Holland Publishers - $45
PB - 245 x 190 mm, 100 photographs and 21 maps

Release date:1st October 2010

Whether it be the Edinburgh of Inspector Rebus, the London of Sherlock Holmes or the Ystad of the Swedish detective Wallander, Inspector Morse's Oxford, Sam Spade’s San Francisco or Brunetti’s Venice, the settings chosen by crime-fiction authors have helped those writers to bring their fictional investigators to life and to infuse their writing with a sense of reality – all the more so when the locations in question really exist.

Following the Detectives follows the trail of over 20 of crime fiction’s greatest investigators, discovering the cities and countries that they inhabit. Edited by one of the leading voices in crime fiction, Maxim Jakubowski, each entry is written by an expert contributor, a crime writer, journalist or critic with a particular interest or love of that detective or author.

The book includes beautifully designed colour maps featuring key real-life locations – be they buildings, streets, bars, restaurants and locations of crimes – allowing the reader the opportunity to eat Sam Spade’s favourite meal, drink a pint at Rebus’s favourite Edinburgh bar or to while away hours in a smoky Parisian café frequented by Inspector Maigret.

Aimed at the avid detective fan, the armchair tourist and the literary tourist alike, Following the Detectives is the perfect way for crime fiction fans to truly discover the settings of their favourite detective novels and will be a must for their bookshelves.

About the Editor:
Maxim Jakubowski spent many years in publishing, during which time he was responsible for several crime imprints. He opened London's Murder One bookshop, which he ran for 20 years, and now writes and edits full-time. He is a winner of the Anthony Award for best non-fiction crime book of the year for 100 Great Detectives, and has also been shortlisted. He has compiled many anthologies including the annual Mammoth Book of Best British Mysteries for six years, Pulp Fiction, Future Crimes, London Noir, Paris Noir, Rome Noir, Murders for the Fireside, No Alibis and many others. He is a regular broadcaster on radio and TV and has reviewed crime fiction for Time Out and the Guardian for 17 years. Maxim lives in London.
Surrendering to the Bubbly

Surrender, the winning novel in the NZSA Pindar Publishing prize celebrated its arrival on the shelves with a double launch last week: firstly on Tuesday 21 September in Wellington, and then on Thursday 23 September in Auckland.

The Wellington launch, notable because it’s Malane’s home town and where her novel is set, took place at the Lampton Quay Borders, with many of Malane’s family making the trip to take part in the celebrations, and a great number of those present getting into the spirit by purchasing a book and getting it signed on the night.

Author Donna Malane was also presented with flowers by NZSA President Tony Simpson, and gave a speech thanking everyone involved in the process of getting the book out.

The Auckland launch took place at Whitcoulls Queen Street. One of the masterminds behind the award, NZSA CEO Maggie Tarver, said in her speech that she is always on the look out for “ideas and opportunities to develop new awards for writers.”

“The NZSA/Pindar Prize is for me a step towards raising the profile of New Zealand fiction. This is an area that we recognise needs more promotion and we hope that the publicity surrounding this award will have spin offs for other New Zealand authors of fiction,” she added.

Judge Graeme Lay spoke of the experience of finding a winner among the 508 sample chapters they received. “It was an intriguing experience. The standard of writing was excellent overall, and suggested many of the entrants were published writers,” he said.

The judges narrowed it down to five finalists, and read the full manuscripts. “When the judges met, our decision was unanimous: the most consistently impressive of the five finalists was a crime novel set in Wellington,” said Lay. “From the first reading of Donna’s sample pages, her writing gripped me, as it did the other judges. The central character, Diane Rowe, was both tough and tender, the events swirling about her were sinister but contained flashes of dark humour.

“The standard of writing in Surrender is uniformly high, the ending very affecting. As all novel writers know, it’s relatively straightforward to begin a novel; the really hard part is ending it. And the ending of Surrender is superbly written.”

Surrender is on sale in Whitcoulls and Borders stores around New Zealand, and is being promoted in the New Zealand Herald, with half price vouchers until 16 October.

Photo below shows Graeme Lay, author Donna Malane, and Mia Yardley from Pindar.

Handbags give kiwi kids the gift of reading

Remember Tana Umaga’s handbag? The streaker’s bikini? The Prime Minister’s cast? The scary washing machine?

Anyone eager to get a sneak preview of these and other stories featured in ‘Handbags & Hovercrafts’, the new release from Trade Me and Random House, can do so from today, September 29.

Duffy Books in Homes, a literacy charity which gives away hundreds of thousands of books to children in low-decile schools every year, is selling the first 100 copies of the book via Trade Me’s Daily Deals section from 10a.m. today.

Trade Me is donating 100% of the royalties from the sale of the book to the charity. This is not just limited to the Daily Deal but also applies to all ongoing retail sales.

Paul Ford, Trade Me’s head of community, said Duffy Books in Homes was an obvious choice as a charity partner. “It’s a great cause and should be good for a few laughs as Kiwis remember the weird and wonderful auctions they have talked about at the work water-cooler or at their backyard BBQs for the past 10 years.”

Since the official launch in 1995 with 80 schools, 16,000 students and 14 sponsors, the Duffy Books in Homes programme has grown to encompass 547 schools, around 100,000 students and 198 sponsors in 2010. More than seven million books have been distributed to children in low-decile schools since the programme’s inception and August 24th marked the 15th anniversary of its launch.

The Trade Me Daily Deal for ‘Handbags & Hovercrafts’ is available from 10a.m. on September 29 at

Today, Helen Lowe celebrates The Heir of Night, the first book in her Wall of Night quartet, going on sale in the United States and Canada (its Australia/New Zealand next week) and although the ground may continue to shake in Christchurch she's beating those earthquake blues with a blog party and would love you to join her and share in the fun with a comment.
Cover left shows the US edition.

Helen invites you to join in the celebration! The blog link is:

You can also check out her guest post on her publisher, HarperCollinsUSA's blog!
Global story competition approaches £5,000 in prize money awarded

The team behind the Global Short Story Competition are approaching the £5,000 mark in prize money awarded to writers across the planet.

Certys Limited, based in Darlington, North East England, has been running the competition every month for almost three years. Winners and shortlisted stories have come from all over the world, ranging from the UK, Australia, New Zealand and the United States to the United Arab Emirates, Finland, India, Singapore, Croatia and Trinidad and Tobago.

When the team announce the winners of the September competition, which closes at the end of the month, the prize money will top £5,000. Details of the competition can be found at

The team also runs a free social networking site for authors (complete with free flash fiction competition) which can be found at

Competition administrator, the crime novelist John Dean, said: “We know that most writers are not in it for the money but to receive a cheque for something you have written remains one of the great thrills of an author’s life. We are delighted that we have afforded that experience to so many of the writers who have entered our competitions.”

The company also recently published its first anthology, featuring winning stories from the competition’s first year. Copies can be bought from

* Further information is available from John Dean on
Don DeLillo wins PEN/Saul Bellow award.
Judges including Philip Roth acclaim writer 'in the highest rank of American literature'

Alison Flood, Monday 27 September 2010

Don DeLillo: "terror and comedy and sheer song". Photograph: Shonna Valeska/TimePix/Rex

The "combination of terror and comedy and sheer song" in his writing means that "everyone wants to give Don DeLillo an award", according to Philip Roth and his fellow judges on the panel for the PEN/Saul Bellow award for achievement in American fiction. This weekend "it's our turn", their statement added.

The Underworld author has been named winner of the $25,000 (£16,000) prize, which goes to an American fiction writer whose work "possesses qualities of excellence, ambition, and scale of achievement over a sustained career which place him or her in the highest rank of American literature". Roth, a previous winner, and his fellow judges Nathan Englander and Joan Acocella said it was "fitting" that an award honouring Bellow should go to DeLillo, as "both men were historical novelists who, in their most ambitious works, dealt with American life in the mid to late 20th century, after World War II, and with the dark knowledge we acquired therein".

"In DeLillo, though, because of his later place in time – he was born in 1936 – the knowledge is graver, and crazier," the judges said.

Author of 15 novels and four plays, DeLillo told PEN that it was a "special honour" to be given a prize bearing Bellow's name. "I still have my old paperback copy of Herzog, a novel I recall reading with great pleasure," said the author, answering questions by fax. "It wasn't the first Bellow novel I encountered – that was The Victim, whose opening sentence ('On some nights New York is as hot as Bangkok') seemed a novel in itself, at least to a New Yorker. Bellow was a strong force in our literature, making leaps from one book to the next. He was one of the writers who expanded my sense of the American novel's range, or, maybe a better word for Bellow - its clutch, its grasp."
Read the full piece by Alison Flood at The Guardian.
HarperCollins double in indies' book prize

28.09.10 - Victoria Gallagher - The Bookseller

Man Booker-winner Hilary Mantel and ex-Children's Laureate Michael Morpurgo have won Independent Booksellers Week awards, voted for by bookshops customers.

Mantel's Wolf Hall (Fourth Estate) won the adult category while Morpurgo's Running Wild (HarperCollins Children's Books) took home the children's award. The awards took place at the Independent Booksellers Forum (IBF) conference held at the University of Warwick yesterday (27th September).

Meryl Halls, head of membership services at the Booksellers Association, said: "We are delighted at two such fantastic winners for our Independent Booksellers Book Prize, especially as we know how committed independent booksellers are to both these authors.

"The IBW Book Prize is a key part of Independent Booksellers Week and now, in its fourth year, continues to demonstrate the value of the strong and precious link between independent booksellers and the authors whose works they love and sell."

The winning titles were chosen from a shortlist of 10 adult and 12 children's books, which were showcased in promotions throughout IBW (14th-21st June). The winners were voted for by independent bookshop customers.

Mantel beat the likes of One Day by David Nicholls (Hodder) and The Music Room by William Fiennes, whereas Morpurgo was more popular than titles by Robert Muchamore and Andy Stanton.
Apps and eBooks: Readers Have Great Expectations, But How Do You Deliver?

In a preview of his talk at next week’s Tools of Change conference in Frankfurt, Brandwidth creative director Dean Johnson shares his thoughts on the role apps play in the world of e-reading and offers a guide for how publishers can use them to achieve greatest impact among readers.

Read the article

Should Publishers Launch Branded App Stores?

Dean Johnson says publishers should prioritize launching their own branded presence on the Apple app store. Many, if not most, publishers are already represented in the iBookstore, but relatively few have branded fully-functional apps. Why have publishers held back on this opportunity?

Read the article

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


The Tuesday Poem this week is After Tomato Picking by Maria Garcia Teutsch, an American poet. It has been selected by this week's editor, Auckland poet Elizabeth Welsh who says: 'I was immediately drawn to this poem of Maria's as it possesses such a strong grounding in the landscape.' And there are blossoms and bookshops, wild pigs and earthquakes in the Tuesday Poem blog roll this week where the 30 Tuesday Poets from NZ, the US and the UK reside. Stimulating stuff.
If you dwell even a moment on one of these poems - slip, even for a second into one of these poet's minds, or better, let them slip into yours - your day will be ever so slightly changed for the better. This is a promise. 

Sharp said it would launch an e-book service and tablet-style computer in Japan in December, taking on Apple's iPad and domestic rival Sony's Reader.

Sharp's GALAPAGOS reader will go on sale in December, and will initially offer access to about 30,000 books, newspapers and magazines, the company said at a launch event in Tokyo. It plans to expand its offering to include movies, music and games next year.

The launch of the new reader comes four months after the iPad was launched in Japan and is set to clash with a domestic offering from Sony. Japan's powerful and conservative publishers have slowed efforts to create an e-book market in Japanese.

Sharp hopes to sell about 1 million units of the WiFi-only tablet in 2011. The gadget features Google's Android operating system and comes with either a 5.5-inch or a 10.8-inch screen. Sharp did not reveal prices.

The firm is also considering launching the gadget overseas and is in negotiations with Verizon Communications of the United States, Masami Obatake, director in charge of the company's communications business, told reporters.

Sony has said it will launch its own reader and e-book service in Japan by the end of the year, in cooperation with telecoms operator KDDI, the Asahi Shinbun newspaper and printing company Toppan Printing
Harper Launches Broadside

As of January, executive editor Adam Bellow's list of conservative books at Harper Collins will formally constitute an imprint, Broadside Books, with Bellow as editorial director.
The line will "project an attitude of forward engagement with the war of ideas, both between right and left and within the conservative movement." The company says "Broadside will publish across a wide spectrum of nonfiction genres -- political and philosophical critiques of liberalism, revisionist histories investigative journalism, issue-focused books by leading political figures, political memoirs, and books that challenge or rethink various aspects of conservatism itself."

Rowling to Appear on Oprah

J.K. Rowling did a "wide-ranging interview" with Oprah Winfrey in Edinburgh that will air this Friday, October 1. The announcement says her remarks include addressing the pressures of sudden stardom: "You ask about the pressure. At that point, I kept saying to people, yeah I'm coping...but the truth was there were times when I was barely hanging on by a thread."
Why is Indie OK for Musicians and Filmmakers.......But Not for Writers?

Publishing Perpectives

Plenty of self-published books have made it to the bestseller lists. So why don't self-published authors have the same cool factor as indie bands and indie films? Amy Edelman of explains what she is doing to change that.

Read the article
‘White House Diary’

By Jimmy Carter

Reviewed by Steven R Weisman, New York Times

Patient readers will find in Jimmy Carter’s diary entries a sense of what it is like to be president.
Review at NYT.

Photo - Sara Saunders.
Simon Cowell biography tops list of books left in hotel rooms
Study of X Factor creator turned up the most in survey of books found by Travelodge staff

Anil Dawar, The Guardian, Saturday 25 September 2010

Simon Cowell may be popular on television, but his life story is not so compelling – a Cowell biography tops the list of books most frequently left behind in hotel rooms.
According to a survey of thousands of books found by staff at 452 Travelodges after guests had departed, Simon Cowell: The Unauthorised Biography, by Chas Newkey-Burden, turned up most. His Britain's Got Talent co-stars, Ant and Dec, fared little better. Their joint autobiography Ooh! What A Lovely Pair: Our Story was in second place. Third was Lib Dem business secretary Vince Cable's book on the world economic crisis.
Fry and Richards top Xmas prediction poll

27.09.10 - Victoria Gallagher - The Bookseller

Memoirs by popular polymath Stephen Fry and rock legend Keith Richards could be filling festive stockings this year with both titles predicted as the best Christmas sellers.
Six retailers and wholesalers were polled by The Bookseller last week to predict 2010’s Christmas hits—Fry and Richards topped the poll with four votes each. After a disappointing Christmas 2009, retailers hailed a diverse list of publishing and a better spaced release schedule as aiding promotions this year.

Fry’s and Richards’ ­memoirs have been eagerly anticipated—the Rolling Stone has never before told his story and Fry’s first memoir, Moab is my Washpot, was published in 1997.

Jon Howells, Waterstone’s spokesman, called Richards’ memoir possibly the coolest book of the season. “Fry’s status as national treasure is rock solid, it’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t like him,” he added.

Nelson Mandela’s Conversations with Myself (Macmillan) caught people’s attention, picking up two votes as did Freedom by Jonathan Franzen (Fourth Estate). Howells called Franzen’s title the most talked about novel in years. He said: “This book puts Franzen up there with the American literary greats, but has the potential to sell like a summer blockbuster.

“It’s a really strong fiction year. Last year there was the tendency towards the more literary, something which was good for us but doesn’t necessarily equate to great sales. This year there are some fine literary books but there’s also the likes of Dawn French, Jilly Cooper’s first in years, the ­latest Martina Cole, Jed Rubenfeld and Sophie ­Kinsella.”

Amy Worth, head of books buying at, said: “There is a lot of great non-fiction out this Christmas. Cookery books are particularly well represented with offerings from Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson and the Hairy Bikers likely to be among our top titles.”
More at The Bookseller.
What makes a novel ‘big’ or a ‘must-read’?

Quill & Quire

American author Jennifer Weiner interviews Emma Donoghue on her blog about her seventh and most talked-about novel, Room. They discuss the recent topic-du-jour, what defines a “great American novel” and if women writers are given a fair shake at writing it:

JW: Do you think Room is a big book? What do you look for in a great novel (American or otherwise?)

ED: I do see ROOM as a big book, in that it’s got high ambitions, and it’s about the most universal human issues. I tried to write on on several levels, so that one reader could enjoy it as a page-turner about an imprisoned boy, and another could recognise it as a thought-experiment along the lines of Plato’s cave. But that does mean that at least some reviews have stuck to considering it as a description of kidnapping, or perhaps seen it as a simple celebration of motherhood… when I’d prefer them to make that leap and understand Jack’s story as not just Everychild’s story but Everyperson’s too. After all, each of us is locked inside one skull. But this is an age-old argument. A woman writer, a domestic setting, and a small number of characters, often cause a novel to get mis-filed as small, ever since Jane Austen.
The rest at Quill & Quire.
Chatto buys McCartney cookbook

27.09.10 - Victoria Gallagher - The Bookseller

Chatto & Windus has acquired a vegetarian cookbook by Paul and Linda McCartney's daughter Mary.
Senior editor Poppy Hampson bought world rights to the title directly from McCartney herself. It is due to be published in 2012 and will include "uncomplicated, tasty meals to tempt both vegetarians and meat-eaters alike". McCartney works as photographer and the title will use photos and stories to tell her life through food.

Publishing director Clara Farmer and senior editor Poppy Hampson said: "We’re extremely excited about working with Mary – a book about vegetarian cooking that appeals to non-veggies as well as the lifetime vegetarians is what we’ve all been waiting for."

They added: "As a mother, Mary is the perfect person to write a book about good food, cooked well, and with ease, for all the family. And as a photographer she has a unique vision, and a story to tell – the book will look as irresistible as the food."

McCartney said: "Vegetarian cuisine has come a long way and with the addition of my other love, photography, we are going to try and show just how sophisticated and varied the vegetarian palate has become."'s bookstore of the future: pay to preview content?

What will's bookstore of the future look like?
A newly granted Amazon patent hints that people may have to pay if they want to preview excerpts of a book before deciding whether to buy it. The patent, which lists Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos among its inventors, envisions a system in which consumers "pay different amounts to view portions of content from the electronic form of a work," including individual chapters, pages, even words.

The patent, titled "Method and apparatus to facilitate online purchase of works using paid electronic preview" was granted Sept. 21. The original application dates back to July 2004. Along with Jeff Bezos, the other inventors are Udi Manber, the former head of Amazon's search unit A9 (now at Google), and Colin Bryar.

According to the patent, people are often unwilling to buy a book online that they can't see first, and internet retailers have been able to address that problem by letting consumers preview excerpts, "essentially the electronic equivalent of browsing through the pages of a book or other published work in traditional brick-and-mortar stores." But, the patent adds, some people "are loath to pay for a work when they can view the work for free," and notes such a preview system costs money.

The solution? Pay-to-preview. The Amazon patent describes a system of paying to electronically preview "one or more chapters, sections, pages, paragraphs, or sentences from a work" with variable fees based on the genre or publisher, or "consumers' past viewing behavior or purchases." The patent also suggests incentives such as credits or discounts for people to view content online, and describes a "personal viewer account" to track balances.
Full story at Techflash.
Librarians honour publisher

27.09.10 - Caroline Horn - The Bookseller

Klaus Flugge, m.d. of Andersen Press, has become only the second publisher to be awarded an honorary membership of the Youth Libraries Group after the National Literacy Trust’s Liz Attenborough.

Flugge was recognised for his passion for picture books and his nurturing of talents including Tony Ross, Michael Foreman and David McKee, as well as his courage in publishing controversial novels such as Melvin Burgess’ Junk and Angry Arthur (Hiawyn Oram and Satoshi Kitamura).

Librarians also noted his warmth and generosity and called him a unique character.
Achebe Wins $300,000 Prize

By Patricia Cohen, New York Times

The Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe has won the $300,000 Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize, which recognizes artists who have had an extraordinary impact in their field. The award, named after the silent film stars, will be delivered at a ceremony on Oct. 27 in New York.
Past winners include Robert Redford, Ornette Coleman, Merce Cunningham and Frank Gehry. Mr. Achebe’s books are among the most widely read in African literature. His 1958 novel, “Things Fall Apart,” has sold more than 10 million copies, and he has also won the Man Booker International Prize for Fiction and the Nigerian National Merit Award.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Wellington: The Best Little Capital City in the World
I wrote about this appealing book a couple of weeks back. Now it has been officially launched and the photo shows the author/photographer Graham Stewart, right, with deputy mayor of Wellington, Ian McKinnon, and Mayor Kerry Prendergast.

Writing about Stewart's latest title Paul Smith wrote:

For this book he was up in choppers or planting his tripod at twilight to take shots of Wellington - it’s what he’s done, always done.

The difference is, he’s 78 and shouldn’t really be leaning out of helicopters, restrained not by a harness, but by a seat belt. One way or another, Stewart has been doing this for the better part of 60 years, working on dailies like the New Zealand Herald and the late lamented Weekly News.

“I’m not one who goes out and plays bowls and I’ve never been a golfer, so I guess I had to put my energy into something” he says,
“I’m probably coming to the end of this particular road” he adds - and in the next breath says he has just published two commissioned books to join other 17 he has authored. What brought him out – and above the streets of Wellington - was his latest pictorial history, Wellington the Best Little Capital City In The world.

Before its makeover, the capital was arguably the best little frump in the country, a necessity for those making their pilgrimages to power. But then things changed. For years, it has been a cultural and artistic hub, its man-made aesthetics far outshining Auckland’s. All of this is captured in Stewart’s book which incorporates a mix of historic and modern photos so readers can easily assess the extent of the city’s transformation.

But before being bewitched by what looks almost like a Riviera waterfront, it’s worth remembering that apart from night shots, most were taken in glorious sunlight. What’s left unspoken is Wellington’s notorious weather.

For all of that though the city emerges through this pictorial reflection as a people-friendly place and one sprinkled with uplifting sculptures and artwork.

Wellington, The Best Little Capital In The World, by Graham Stewart, published by Grantham House, $24.95 GST inclusive, was released on September 21.

This is what another reviewer had to say in The Domnion Post:

Dear Wellington…
Publisher and photographer Graham Stewart’s latest book, Wellington: The Best Little Capital City in the World, is a love letter to the city he has been romancing most of his life.
Auckland-born Stewart, 78, spent nearly nine months photographing his adopted home town from almost every angle, even the air.

He matches historic photographs from the Alexander Turnbull Library, private collections and his own vast archives of old pictures – even some that he took himself in the 1950s and 1960s – with their modern-day locations, showing how Wellington’s architecture, geography, transport and fashion have changed over the decades.

Stewart loves how the city has “reincarnated” itself since he went to live there in the 1970s. “Xnumber of years ago, people would say, ‘Why do you want to live in Wellington?’ Now there’s been a culture and attitude change.”

During the 1950s, Stewart worked as a photographer for the New Zealand Herald, before turning to publishing, and would spend about a month in Wellington each year.
He took street scenes, which appear in the book and show his fascination with trams, boats and buses. The harbour and the comings and goings of ships, ferries and yachts form a big part of the book, as does the way Wellington has embraced street sculpture.

He says the works that line Evans Bay Parade, including Phil Dadson’s Akau Tangi and Phil Price’s Zephyrometer, are really special. “I just fell in love with them.”
The Story Sisters
By Alice Hoffman
HarperCollins, $28.99
Reviewed by Nicky Pellegrino

Much of Hoffman’s writing is filled with symbols and rich in fairytale and her latest novel, The Story Sisters, is no exception. But if the more fanciful layers were skimmed away what would remain here is a family saga, a gritty story of teenage dysfunction, love, loss and redemption.

The three Story sisters Elv, Meg and Claire are striking girls with pale eyes and long black hair. They are diligent, beautiful, well-behaved, thoughtful and people find them charming, even their odd habit of chattering away in a private, made-up language that’s lovely to hear, rather musical, like birds.

But there is something rotten at the heart of this family. Eldest sister Elv has a secret. She is traumatised having rescued the youngest of the trio, Claire, from a paedophile teacher and been molested in her stead. As a result Elv’s faith in almost everything but magic and ritual has been destroyed.

Hoffman glosses over the harsher details of the molestation, instead showing Elv disappearing into the fairytale land she calls Arnelle, weaving stories and creating myths for her sisters, shutting out the rest of the world by speaking in their secret shared language, Arnish.

Then Elv’s rebellion begins to follow more conventional lines. She plays up at school, tattoos black stars on her skin, shoplifts and takes drugs. Desperate to stop this self-destruction, her well-meaning mother Annie incarcerates her in a brutal reform school. There Elv finds love with the enigmatic Lorry whose fatal flaw – a heroin addiction – soon becomes another of her problems. The misery only deepens…their grandfather dies, Annie develops incurable cancer, Elv retreats further into a world where no one can reach her… until the book’s central crisis is reached.

The Story Sisters ought to be an unbearably sombre book but, while it is deeply sad in parts, Hoffman writes with such delicacy and detail, she captures so much beauty in her words, that even when the story is at its bleakest there is a joy in reading it. Her take on sibling rivalry and teenage angst is startlingly original and it’s clear that Hoffman, who’s suffered breast cancer and the loss of close family members in recent years, has laced the story with her own emotional experience.

Aside from the minor annoyance of some extraneous sections littered through the story that do little apart from help create atmosphere, Hoffman pulls off this blend of fairytale and gritty realism. Fans of her work will find The Story Sisters bewitching.


Nicky Pellegrino, a succcesful Auckland-based author of popular fiction, (The Italian Wedding was published in May 2009 while her latest, Recipe for Life was published by Orion in April, 2010), is also the Books Editor of the Herald on Sunday where the above piece was first published on 26 September, 2010

Controversial novel not republished

By Paul Harper 2:09 PM Tuesday Sep 21, 2010

Witi Ihimaera. Photo / Richard Robinson

Book publisher Penguin has decided against republishing Witi Ihimaera's controversial novel The Trowenna Sea, despite last year promising an amended version would be released this year.

The Whale Rider author was found to have plagarised the work of historians in the historical fiction released last year by Penguin imprint Raupo.
The plagarism was discovered by a reviewer who googled extracts from The Trowenna Sea, which were found to match the works of other writers.

Following the revelation Mr Ihimaera said he would purchase the remaining warehouse stock of the book and Penguin promised they would take back stock from retailers who wished to return it.
Mr Ihimaera and Penguin's publishing director Geoff Walker also said a revised edition would be released this year, with a section by the author acknowledging the authors of the work he had used.

However Mr Walker today said they will not be republishing The Trowenna Sea "in the foreseeable future".

Full piece at NZH

This story appeared in the NZH last Tuesday but somehow or another The Bookman missed it in both my morning paper edition of the paper and in the online edition. Sorry to be so far behind the news on thos occasion.