As Donovan Bixley introduces his brilliant Much Ado about Shakespeare, “There's never been a period when [Shakespeare] has been out of fashion.” There are bound to be 10,000 conversations happening worldwide right now, inspired by one of Shakespeare’s plays. At the moment in the UK, Shakespeare 400 is well underway, but what is happening for New Zealand’s Shakespeare-lovers?Of course, Shakespeare is not the only literary great whose output we celebrate this year. It has been 100 years since Roald Dahl’s birth, and 80 years since Joy Cowley’s. Both of them have had a huge influence on the world of children’s publishing. “Like Roald Dahl” is a very good recommendation for any children’s book, over-used and over-ambitious though it may appear on later reading. And the Joy Cowley Award for a picture book manuscript has been the making of many of our current children’s book writers.
The Read had a chat with Penguin Random House’s Head of Publicity Yvonne Thynne, Donovan Bixley about his Much Ado about Shakespeare, Gecko Press publisher Julia Marshall, and Melanie Laville-Moore from Allen & Unwin; along with booksellers Mary Sangster from The Original Children’s Bookshop in Christchurch, and Louise Ward from Wardini’s Bookshop in Havelock North about their plans for the big literary anniversaries.