Friday, May 31, 2013

Bloomsday 2013

Italian literati in campaign to save Trieste's historic James Joyce Caffè San Marco Coffee shop has been a destination for writers and poets for decades and lists James Joyce as one of its famous patrons

In its heyday the Caffè San Marco was one of the fixed points on the vibrant intellectual map of Trieste, frequented by James Joyce, the writer Italo Svevo and the poet Umberto Saba.

Decades later, in a world increasingly dominated by quick caffeine fixes and multi-ingredient beverages, the historic Viennese-style coffee house has remained a beloved part of the port city.

Now, however, the San Marco faces an uncertain future, and one of its most faithful and prominent regulars, the writer and academic Claudio Magris, has made a public appeal for it to be saved from closure or conversion.

The cafe's former manager Franco Filippi died in December and owners Assicurazioni Generali (AG), Italy's largest insurance company, based in Trieste, are looking – apparently as yet without success – for a replacement.

Locals fear that either AG will decide to give up on the San Marco, or new management will be found that has a different vision for the venue.

In an impassioned article in the Corriere della Sera, Magris, a Trieste-born novelist and cultural philosopher who often works from the cafe, urged the owners to save what he said was a unique place known throughout the world for its history and atmosphere.

"A place where you're at peace, you read, you write, you chat," he wrote.
"A heart of the city; a strong heart that beats calmly." Urging AG to ensure the cafe stays open and retains its traditional function, he said that a "transformation" under new management into a restaurant or other business would, in his mind, also signify closure.

Gabriella Valera, chair of the local Poetry and Solidarity association, said that San Marco was famous for its history but also had an important role as a modern place of encounter and exchange. "It's not only the [city's] past. It's its present and its future," she said, adding it was vital the cafe retained "the same features and the same spirit". Her group will hold an event on Friday evening aimed at keeping the fight to save the cafe in the spotlight.

First opened in January 1914, when Trieste was still part of the Austro-Hungarian empire, the San Marco instantly became popular among politically-active students and intellectuals. Destroyed during the war by Austro-Hungarian troops, it lay abandoned for years before being reopened.
The Guardian, 30 May, 2013

Meanwhile... in Auckland, preparations are underway for the annual James Joyce Bloomsday celebration.

Dancing In The Wake, a one-hour dance show about Lucia Joyce and her relationship with her father James and with the young Samuel Beckett will be running at the Basement Theatre at 4pm and 6pm.

Later in the evening will be the fabled Jews Brothers' Bloomsday, this year with guests Michael Hurst, Noelle McCarthy, Rick Bryant and Liesha Ward-Knox, at the Thirsty Dog pub in the centre of red-lit K Rd, kicking off at 7.30pm and hopefully ending by 11.

Pushkin House Russian Book Prize Inaugural Winner Announced

Smith wins first Pushkin House Russian Book Prize

Former People by Douglas Smith, published by Macmillan, has won the inaugural £5,000 Pushkin House Russian Book Prize.
The prize is given by London's independent Russian cultural centre Pushkin House in association with Waterstones and rewards a strongly written non-fiction book in English about Russia and the Russian-speaking world.
Smith's book, which is the first to tell the story of what happened to those members of the Russian aristocracy who stayed in Russia after the revolution, was named the winner in a ceremony at the Hay Festival last night (29th May). Chairman of the judges Sir Rodric Braithwaite described it as "original, well-researched and written with style, passion and a strong narrative drive".
Braithwaite also praised Anne Applebaum's Iron Curtain (Allen Lane), saying the judges would "have happily declared two equal winners" had the rules allowed. Applebaum's book describes how the Soviet Union's construction of Communism was extended into Eastern Europe.
The other titles shortlisted for this year's prize were Man Without a Face by Masha Gessen (Granta); Wheel of Fortune by Thane Gustafson (Harvard University Press); Soviet Baby Boomers by Donald Raleigh (Oxford University Press USA); and Moscow 1937 by Karl Schlogel (Polity Press).
The judges considered more than 40 books published in English during 2012 for the prize, including translations from German and French. Submissions are now open for next year's prize, which will be for titles published in 2013.


Kia ora kotou

With only a week to go until we premiere Sydney Bridge Upside Down to audiences in New Plymouth we thought you might all like to hear from Director, James Ashcroft on what he hopes to achieve with this production – his debut directorial work.

James Ashcroft (centre) with Sydney Bridge Upside Down performers Claire van Beek, Rob Mokaraka, Tim Carlsen & James Tito

What are you and the team hoping to create?
Each of us is trying to find that key ingredient that will inspire audiences  - inspire them the way we were inspired when we saw that first production that made us want to dedicate the rest of our lives to making theatre

How does Sydney Bridge link in with Taki Rua Production’s long-term vision?
We feel responsible for interrogating and exploring the form of theatre so that we can play a part in moving it forward  - we want to be a part of what the future of theatre is, what it will look like and the potential it has to effect contemporary audiences – SBUD sees us taking the first steps in that journey. Together we’re playing with different forms and styles of theatre, combining them or going against them in a way that surprises us and hopefully our audience – with this work David’s words are the anchor, the reference point that we can bounce off and come back to – they have in a way created a door or launching pad into this new way of making that we are exploring.

Why are you staring away from traditional storytelling with this production?
Of course within the work a narrative will exist, as with any collection of moments that are linked together. This aspect of theatrical storytelling is not the main element we are wanting audiences to experience though. I suppose we are wanting them to respond to the form more  - the “how” of this work and not the “what”. We are wanting to engage them in a conversation about how theatre effects them – how this piece of theatre effects them. From there we can measure how successful we are in our artistic endeavours and ultimately create better, stronger, bolder works that have bigger impacts on future audiences.

You are have a strong personal connection to Ballantyne’s novel – how does the come across in the production?
As a director a big part of this work is me exploring my journey through life. Sydney Bridge Upside Down has given me the opportunity to look at what it means to be a man in today’s world, what it means to reconcile my past and to examine what my place in the world is. David opened up a world that seemed to fit so well with the life questions I had – his story gave words to my questions about the world and now I’m challenged with the task and exploring every detail of these questions so I can open them up to others through the production.

What is about the form of theatre that inspires you?
I see such value in theatre – live performance and the immediacy of it is so hard to find in other forms of art and entertainment – I can’t help thinking we can take advantage of that more, push the boundaries of that intimate relationship with an audience more, use it to combat the often anesthetising effect of things like television – we’re not looking at creating an aggressive work but at the same time we want our audiences to be conscious throughout so that they can fully engage with some of the questions we are exploring and we want that because we’d like to know how they perceive these questions  -  if and how they are relevant for them.

We’ll be sending out more information on the production over the coming weeks – but if you’d like to find out more or books tickets please check out our website, or email


Saturday Morning with Kim Hill: 1 June 2013 - Radio New Zealand National

8:15 Allan Savory: restoring grasslands
8:45 Andrew Quilty: documenting disasters
9:05 Howard Brenton: theatre of politics
10:05 Playing Favourites with Richard Hulse
11:05 Derek Handley: entrepreneurial heart
11:45 Barbara Else: creating Fontania

Producer: Mark Cubey
Wellington engineer: Damon Taylor
Auckland engineer: Ian Gordon

8:15 Allan Savory
Zimbabwean environmentalist Allan Savory is the president and co-founder of the Savory Institute, which promotes large-scale restoration of the world’s grasslands through holistic management. He is a former research biologist, farmer, game ranger, soldier, politician and exile.

8:45 Andrew Quilty
New York-based photographer Andrew Quilty worked for the Australian Financial Review and AFR Magazine before joining Australia's leading photographic collective, Oculi, winning a World Press Photo Award and The Young Australian Photojournalist Award. His freelance career includes commissions from TIME, GEO and The New York Times, covering the Queensland floods, the Black Saturday bush fires, Cyclone Yasi, and Hurricane Sandy among other subjects. Andrew is visiting New Zealand for the 2013 Auckland Festival of Photography (30 May – 21 June), and will talk about photographing natural disasters.

9:05 Howard Brenton
Howard Brenton is an English playwright and screenwriter (Spooks), whose plays includes Ladder of Fools (1965), Pravda (1985), Paul (2005), 55 Days (2012), and The Arrest of Ai Weiwei (2012). Shakespeare’s Globe commissioned his 2010 play, Anne Boleyn; a new Auckland Theatre Company production directed by Colin McColl will open on 13 June at The Q Theatre (to 7 July).

10:05 Playing Favourites with Richard Hulse 
Richard Hulse has worked at Radio New Zealand since 1981, when he started as a trainee radio studio operator. He worked his way up to become a music recording specialist, and then changed career direction in 2005 to become the organisation’s webmaster. His team has just relaunched the website.

11:05 Derek Handley
New Zealand entrepreneur Derek Handley co-founded a number of companies including The Hyperfactory, Booktrack and Snakk Media, and chairs the New Zealand arts kickstarter Boosted. He tells his story in the new how-to book, Heart to Start (Random House, ISBN: 978-1-77553-270-5), and returns to New Zealand next week for speaking engagements and meetings,

11:45 Barbara Else
Barbara Else is the author of six adult novels, is a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to literature, and has worked as a university tutor, editor and freelance writer. The second book in her Tales of Fontania series, The Queen and the Nobody Boy (Gecko Press, ISBN: 9781877579233), is a Storylines Notable Book 2013, and a finalist in the Junior Fiction sections of the 2013 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards, and the 2013 LIANZA Esther Glen Medal. Barbara won the Esther Glen Medal last year for her first Fontania book, The Travelling Restaurant (Gecko Press, ISBN: 978-1-87746-777-6).

The Exercise Book Live !

Victoria University Press
This is your big chance to watch the drama of a writing workshop unfold from the safety of your comfy theater seat. One night each in June of poetry (13th), fiction (14th) and script (15th). Seats are limited so get in quick with your bookings. You've always wondered what goes on inside the IIML - now's your chance to take a sneak peek! Bring a friend and a curious mind.

Friendly fire: nuclear politics and the collapse of ANZUS, 1984-1987 by Gerald Hensley

Thursday 6 June 5:30 pm
Central City Library, Whare Wananga, Level 2
Talk and Q&A 5.30-6.15pm, followed by light refreshments and the opportunity to talk further with Gerald Hensley.

Free event. To book or for more info email

Join us as Gerald Hensley, in conversation with journalist Richard Harman, tells the inside story on what happened when the Labour government's "nuclear free" policy collided with a US foreign policy based on nuclear deterrence.

His new book, Friendly Fire:  Nuclear Politics and the Collapse of ANZUS, 19841987 (AUP) is a definitive account of a key turning point in New Zealand history involving ship visits denied, angry meetings, fraught diplomacy and free-wheeling press conferences, culminating in the unravelling of the ANZUS military alliance, established in 1951.

Gerald Hensley (right) was a participant in these events as head of the Prime Minister's Department. He has drawn on his personal knowledge, interviews from key players around the world and previously classified government files in New Zealand, the US, Australia and Britain, to guide us through the complex play of cultural loyalties, strategic objectives, and personal relationships that led from policy differences to confrontation to collapse.

Also for Wellingtonians:
Please join us on Wednesday 5 June to hear Gerald Hensley's talk "Friendly Fire: what happens when allies quarrel"
We look forward to seeing you on L4, ASB House, 101 The Terrace - the talk starts at 12.15pm.

National Flash Fiction Day is next month – have you submitted your story?

National Flash Fiction Day is just around the corner, in June. And today is the last day to submit to the competition – submissions close May 31 at midnight.
Like last year, NFFD has gained the attention of several staunch supporters, including various branches of the New Zealand Society of Authors as well as Jason Books in Auckland and Rona Gallery in Eastbourne. This year, there’s also an anonymous cash donation. And all that makes for a rich array of prizes for the national competition.
The Auckland branch of the NZSA is sponsoring the main prizegiving event this year, taking place June 22, 2-4pm, in the Auckland Central City Library, Lorne Street report, in the Whare Wānanga, Level 2. The event is open to the public and will include the judges’ presentation of winners, plus guest readers and some of the shortlisted writers from this year’s competition.

"I think it's important to support an event like this in its second year, to keep on with the process of developing a place for both the National Flash Fiction Day competition and flash fiction itself in the national writing/reading psyche,” says NZSA Auckland branch chair James George. “There are many interlinking communities within the world of writing, and connections to be made and solidified. This event is a great way to keep that process going."
A few words from last year’s winners…
 I enjoy reading and writing flash fiction for its restrained economy which gives weight to every word.
-Janet Pates, 2012 Winner
I like the immediacy of flash.  I like the surprises.  I like how everything’s done and dusted so quickly, how you get a whole story crammed into a small number of words.  Flash is perfect for snatching a moment of reading pleasure out of our busy lives.

-Janis Freegard, 2012 Runner-Up

Just a few hundred focused words in a free-wheeling space to be flamboyant, forgiven, feisty, faithful, feral, foolish, or fall in love? Just a few hundred words without falsity, fractures or falling flat? A chance to find a flying start followed by a flawless finish? Fabulous fun! Fetch in the flash fiction festival!
Ann Webber, 2012 Runner-up


This year’s events include competitions, 24-hour challenges, open-mic evenings and workshops. If you’d like to organize an event if your area, find out more about other events or add your group to the list of sponsors for NFFD, get in touch:

10 Things George R.R. Martin Is Doing Instead of Writing the Next ‘Game of Thrones’ Book

If you’re a fan of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, your ears (or eyes, as it were) likely perk up every time his name surfaces in the news. But every time we catch wind of Martin, it’s because he’s doing something other than finishing A Song of Ice and Fire. Sure, many of these are good things, but they aren’t working on the next Song of Ice and Fire installment, and thus they are cause for some nail-biting. Will Martin finish his beloved series inside of two decades? Will the HBO show catch up? Will Martin heed the many calls of fans to write like the wind? After the jump, ten things George R.R. Martin is doing instead of writing the next book in everyone’s current favorite fantasy series — make your own judgements as you will. … Read More
Rachel Kushner's Literary Success Has Nothing to Do With Her Gender

Rachel Kushner’s Literary Success Has Nothing to Do With Her Gender

When Rachel Kushner’s The Flamethrowers was published last month, it garnered almost universal acclaim. Indeed, this reviewer would go so far to say that it’s already one of the best books of the year. It’s vivid and skillful and important, a thrill to read, a firestorm. Adam Kirsch, a contributing editor for Tablet magazine, did not enjoy The Flamethrowers. That’s his prerogative, of course. But he thinks everyone else only liked it because Kushner’s a woman. … Read More

Finale events mark ‘Big City Read’ success

Readers in Bristol and Somerset will get exclusive chances to meet hotly-tipped new author Gavin Extence at special events on 12 June at Bristol Central Library and Glastonbury Library, where he will read from his debut novel The Universe Versus Alex Woods, answer questions about his work, and sign books.

These special library events celebrate the success of a month-long ‘Big City Read’ of The Universe Versus Alex Woods, which is based in Somerset. The ‘Big City Read’ has encouraged as many local people as possible to read and review free copies, thanks to a partnership between The Reading Agency, publishers Hodder & Stoughton, Bristol City Council’s and Somerset County Council’s library services and local book shops. (Please see ‘Notes to editors’ for full event details.) They also follow the recent announcement that Gavin and his novel have been shortlisted for the annual Desmond Elliott Prize, which champions the best in debut fiction.

Since mid-May onwards, to coincide with the UK paperback edition launch on 9 May, a range of ‘Big City Read’-related activities have taken place across Bristol and Somerset. For example, in Somerset five book groups are now reading and discussing The Universe Versus Alex Woods, and Bristol libraries report readers of the free books eagerly returning to reserve places at the finale event as soon they'd finished reading their copy.

This ‘Big City Read’ has been brokered by national charity The Reading Agency. The charity brings together its partners from the publishing world and the whole of the UK public library network to create successful and exciting events and activities for readers.
“I’m really looking forward to these finale events for the Bristol and Glastonbury Big City Read project, particularly because the book is set in and around the area – and because I have no possession I value more than my library card,” says author Gavin Extence.
Rights to his debut novel The Universe Versus Alex Woods, which chronicles the adventures of unlikely teenage hero Alex Woods, have already been sold in countries including China, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Taiwan, Israel, France, and the USA, and the hardback edition has received widespread critical acclaim (Please see “Notes to editors” for reviews).  

Gavin Extence was born in 1982 and grew up in the village of Swineshead, Lincolnshire. From the ages of 5-11 years, he enjoyed a brief career as a chess player, winning numerous national championships and travelling to Moscow and St Petersburg to pit his wits against the finest young minds in Russia….where he won only one game.  Gavin is currently working on his second novel. When he is not writing, he enjoys cooking, amateur astronomy and going to Alton Towers.

As BookExpo America Opens, Industry Concerns Remain Largely Unchange

The opening keynote of BookExpo America suggests the top concerns facing the US book market in 2013 remain much the same: ebooks, self-publishing, and how to win readers.
In the deepening turmoil surrounding German publisher house Suhrkamp Verlag, the house has filed for bankruptcy and will use a new law to attempt to stay in business.
Latest Job Listings:
Indie Bookseller — Part time
The Voracious Reader in Larchmont, NY
Project Manager: Education & Events — Full time
Book Industry Study Group (BISG) in New York, NY
Are you hiring? Post your job listings on Publishing Perspectives' new job board and reach our global network of publishing professionals.
More News from PP:
Scholastic's Julie Amitie and Gavin Brown offer nine steps to successful multi-platform storytelling and promotion, using The 39 Clues and Infinity Ring series as examples.
DailyLit is launching Recovering the Classics, a program offer readers redesigned book covers for public domain classics available as POD at Harvard Bookstore or as books.
From the Archives:
Berlin’s publishing startup scene is booming and two companies making their mark are Readmill and dotdotdot, developers focused on connecting readers through books.

Bill Clinton Endorses Comic Book

Huff Post Books - Posted:

It's strange enough to have a comic book written by a congressman, but the forthcoming March: Book One has gone one step further: it's received an endorsement from a former president. reports that the title, co-written by Civil Rights activist and Democratic Congressman John Lewis, has received a blurb from President Bill Clinton. "To the best of our knowledge, this is the first graphic novel ever endorsed by an American president,” a spokesman for publisher Top Shelf Comix told the site.
Although it's his first comic book blurb, Clinton himself has appeared in numerous comic book titles, according to the website Comic Vine, even speaking at Superman's funeral.
The presidential blurb on the site for March: Book One reads:
"Congressman John Lewis has been a resounding moral voice in the quest for equality for more than 50 years, and I'm so pleased that he is sharing his memories of the Civil Rights Movement with America's young leaders. In March, he brings a whole new generation with him across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, from a past of clenched fists into a future of outstretched hands." — President Bill Clinton
According to the site, the book's subject is:
...a vivid first-hand account of John Lewis’ lifelong struggle for civil and human rights, meditating in the modern age on the distance traveled since the days of Jim Crow and segregation. Rooted in Lewis’ personal story, it also reflects on the highs and lows of the broader civil rights movement. Book One spans John Lewis’ youth in rural Alabama, his life-changing meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr., the birth of the Nashville Student Movement, and their battle to tear down segregation through nonviolent lunch counter sit-ins, building to a stunning climax on the steps of City Hall.

The book will be published on August 13th, with Lewis appearing on the Colbert Report soon afterwards, doubtless to ask questions about which superpowers he has, and if he wears a cape.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Quick Read ebooks to commemorate Hillary’s ascent

Have a look at this  blog post  published yesterday on ebooks at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

Viggo Mortensen's 'Hobbit' Role Turned Down By Aragorn Actor


Viggo Mortensen Hobbit
Viggo Mortensen does not appear in "The Hobbit."

When "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" hit theaters in December, fans were treated to the sight of some familiar faces from "Lord of the Rings," including Ian McKellen and Elijah Wood. One "LOTR" favorite, however, was noticeably absent from the latest film: Viggo Mortensen.
The 54-year-old actor played Aragorn in the original trilogy, and had a chance to reprise his role in the Peter Jackson's prequel trilogy, but chose not to participate -- mostly because his character doesn't appear in the J.R.R. Tolkien source novel.

"Before they started shooting, back in 2008, one of the producers did ask if I would be interested," Mortensen told The Guardian. "I said, 'You do know, don't you, that Aragorn isn't in The Hobbit? That there is a 60-year gap between the books?'"

Pearson, HC and an offer of some help

A Bad Week for New Zealand Publishing

From Martin Taylor's blog:

Malcolm Gladwell Attacks New York Public Library: 'Luxury Condos Would Look Wonderful There'


Malcolm Gladwell launched an extraordinary attack on the New York Public Library (NYPL) today at the International Digital Publishing Forum as part of BookExpo America in New York.
In a Q+A session with Bloomberg Businessweek writer Brad Stone, the Canadian author of The Tipping Point and Blink described the flagship NYPL building in Manhattan as a "massive money sink of a mausoleum."

"Every time I turn around, there's some new extravagant renovation going on in the main building. Why? In my mind, the New York Public Library should be focused on keeping small libraries open, on its branches all over the city."
The NYPL announced a major $300 million renovation of its flagship location last year, to be completed in 2018.
Gladwell continued, "Luxury condos would look wonderful there. Go back into the business of reaching people who do not have access to books. And that is not on the corner of 42nd and Fifth [Avenue]."

In 2009, the author was the guest speaker at the NYPL President's Council Spring Dinner, an event for those who donate $25,000 and above to the library.
A little earlier in the discussion, Gladwell spoke about libraries as "the only place where you can browse [books]. A world in which you can only find things that you have chosen to pursue is an incredibly impoverished one.

"Libraries are also safe havens for people who are not from privileged backgrounds, who do not have access to books and where there is no quiet space to work."
In the session, Gladwell also talked about the future of publishing.

New Zealand Post Children’s Book Award finalists on whirlwind tour, 17-24 June

Cupcake parties, school quizzes, whānau storytelling times, a Parihaka peace celebration and a live Tuatara visiting a library are all part of this year’s New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards festival.
Libraries, bookstores, schools and communities around the country are gearing up for a week of colour and fun as the festival celebrates the fantastic books named as finalists in the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards.
The colourful festival promotes the importance of books and reading, and provides inspiration for New Zealand’s future writers and illustrators.
Find out what events are happening in your area:
The festival’s national coordinator, Mary McCallum says the festival will see authors and illustrators popping up all over the country.  “Our festival coordinators have taken the stories at the heart of the books and made them come alive for children and families. It’s very exciting.”
To cap off the amazing array of initiatives, two roadshows will ferry bunches of librarians and piles of books to schools and preschools around Canterbury and Marlborough reaching over 3,000 children.
The festival runs from 17 June until the announcement of the winners at an awards ceremony in Christchurch on Monday 24 June.
Some festival highlights:

  • In libraries around Auckland there will be a series of magical cupcake tea parties to celebrate the picture book finalist, A Great Cake by Tina Matthews, and the central library will host a giant Book Trail and Storytime at the Cinema.
  • Lower Hutt library will have a very special guest – a live Tuatara – visiting the library to introduce young readers to the book Kiwi: the real story by Annemarie Florian and Heather Hunt.
  • The West Coast will host varied events including a Mister Whistler pyjama party, a glow-in-the-dark experience with the book Kiwi: the real story, and ‘pin the tail on the donkey’ with author Kyle Mewburn’s Melu.
  • Whangarei library will run a popular ‘Storytime’ character hunt.
  • In Taranaki, there will be a celebration of the peace of Parihaka, speeches by local school children and performances by Kura Kaupapa; and Hawera Community Centre will host a Secondary Schools Literacy Challenge based on the awards finalists.
  • In Wellington the popular Java Dance Company will perform a dance depicting the story of Margaret Mahy’s Mister Whistler, which will be performed for three schools as well as a public performance at the Wellington Central Library.      

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Advocates, Authenticity, and Content are Key to Reaching Readers

Marketing and media professionals share their insights on latest trends and innovations in book promotion from Tuesday's Publishing Perspectives Reaching Readers conference.
As publishers migrate beyond the first phase of the ebook revolution, the IDPF's Digital Book Conference on Wednesday will address ebooks on the web, tablets, phones and more.
Latest Job Listings:
Indie Bookseller — Part time
The Voracious Reader in Larchmont, NY
Project Manager: Education & Events — Full time
Book Industry Study Group (BISG) in New York, NY
Are you hiring? Post your job listings on Publishing Perspectives' new job board and reach our global network of publishing professionals.