Former leading New Zealand publisher and bookseller, and widely experienced judge of both the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, talks about what he is currently reading, what impresses him and what doesn't, along with chat about the international English language book scene, and links to sites of interest to booklovers.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Winning over the audience, the elegant octogenarian Audrey Eagle, author/illustrator of Eagle’s Complete Trees and Shrubs of New Zealand, confessed on her return visit to the stage, that her skirt had nearly come down as she walked up the stairs - the first time.
Having been involved in the cringe-making task of having to choose winners this year (for the Book Publishers Association of New Zealand Review Awards - the New Zealand Listener and David Eggleton (Reviewer of the Year) were the winners), I now have an inkling of the challenge the Montana judges face.
Oh, and publishers - note to self - it was clear that books needed high production values in order to win, particularly in the age of the internet. A book is an artefact, a piece of art in its own right, and high standards of presentation and design clearly influenced the judges’ overall decision in many categories.
I sought a copy of this from the PM's private secretary but she has advised me that the PM delivered her remarks "off the cuff" so I am unable to share them with you.
However among other things she spoke of the role publishers and booksellers were playing in these days of ever increasing digitalisation and talked of the need for well-designed books.
It was an excellent speech which was an appropriate lead into the main presentation of the evening, the awarding of the Montana Medals, which were won by Audrey Eagle and Lloyd Jones respectfully, two popular winners.
RANDOM THOUGHTS ON THE MONTANA NZ BOOK AWARDS - WINNERS & LOSERS!
NZSA BEST FIRST FICTION AWARD
Rachael King's later father would have been so proud about this result. Good to see the family tradition being continued. Rachael has set herself a very hard act to follow with this win for her first published work.
Hopefully we will not have to wait too long before her next book as she told her audience at the Auckland Writers & Readers Festival in May that she was well into the research.
NZSA BEST FIRST BOOK POETRY
This had been announced last Friday on Montana Poetry Day and while it was won by Secret Heart by Airini Beautrais I reckon the other two shortlisted titles, Cup by Alison Wong and After the Dance by Michele Amas both had better designed covers. However this is not a cover competition!
NZSA BEST FIRST BOOK - NON-FICTION
A clear winner here with William Cottrell's fine book, Furniture in the New Zealand Colonial Era.
Having waxed lyrical on this blog about Eagle's Complete Trees & Shrubs of New Zealand I was not at all surprised when this title won both this category and also the Montana Medal for Non-Fiction making it in the view of the judges the outstanding non-fiction title published in New Zealand in 2006. Had I been a gambling man I would have bet the family farm on this result. . Congratulations again Audrey.You are a star.
Ghosts of Gondwana - George Gibbs. Nor arguement here.
LIFESTYLE & CONTEMPORARY CULTURE
While I was not surprised at the winner, Stitch: Contemporay New Zealand Textile Artists, by Ann Packer, (herself a longtime textile artist), I must admit great surprise at some of the titles that were not shortlisted. Two in particular that inexplicably missed out, coincidentally both from Random House's Godwit stable, were Christopher Johnstone's Landscape Paintings of New Zealand and Maps New Zealand
REFERENCE & ANTHOLOGY
It must have been a very close contest here between the Lilburn & Beaglehole biographies.
A photo finish I suspect.
But spare a thought for the very fine third title in this category, Chris Price's Brief Lives, which one assumes ended up here because the organisers couldn't find anywhere else to put it!
After all while it does contain pieces of memoir it also includes a deal of poetry and short fiction. It is a fine, and unusual, piece of writing and publishing, but it didn't stand a chance in the biography section. This is an issue to which the organisers of these awards must pay some attention.
Another category where they may have been surprise in some quarters at the shortlist omissions but no arguement over the winner, The Goose Bath by Janet Frame. The author's niece in accepting the prize thanked Bill Manhire for all his help referring to him as "literary statesman" a description Bookman Beattie warmly supports.
And so to the big one !!
Well I guess with all the international acclaim including winning the hugely prestigious Commonwealth Writers Prize there wasn't really a lot of surprise when Lloyd Jones' Mr.Pip was announced the winner. I certainly wasn't surprised. Well-deserved lloyd.
What did surprised me enormously however, however was how the judges in naming two runners-up, did not include C.K.Stead's My Name Was Judas. They in effect said that Stead's book was either 4th or 5th in the shortlist. Astonishing. I was flabbergasted. I still am actually.
One final comment about this years fiction awards before I go.
I thought Lloyd Jones was less than gracious in his acceptance speeches - he also won the Montana Medal.
Okay Lloyd so we know in recent months you have been in Israel, Portugal, Australia , the Caribbean and perhaps other places too, and you must be tired and by now be fed up with talking about a book which you finished two years ago but this is your home and this is the biggest book bash of the year and you have just won the biggest prize so it wouldn't have hurt for you to have expressed a little more gratitude.I hope the sponsors were not as unhappy about your words as I was.
But now its time to start speculating about books being published this year. And with what has already been published along with the forthcoming publishing that I saw at the Book Trade Conference yesterday 2007 is shaping up to to be a real humdinger!
*First and foremost Audrey Eagle. Her stunningly beautiful two volume "Eagle's Complete Trees & Shrubs of New Zealand" from Te Papa Press won the Illustrative book category, (it was the red hot favourite ), and also the big one, the Montana Medal for non-fiction.
This from the New York Times......
Monday, July 30, 2007
Entertaining reading from the New York Times...............
by Denis Welch
Min Jin Lee Hutchinson NZ$37.00
I reviewed this book on Radio New Zealand National earlier today. Here are my notes which are rather more comprehensive than I had time for on air..
This is a first novel and remarkably it runs to almost 600 pages so an ideal plane or beach read. As a debut it is an impressive accomplishment
It is the story of first and second generation Korean immigrants to New York and the resulting cultural clash between the immigrants and those already long-established citizens but even more the story of the clash between the Korean parents, steeped as they are in their beliefs and values, and their children who strive to rapidly become Americans and take up Western values and beliefs.
I was interested to read that the author was born in Seoul, Korea in 1968 who at the age of seven emigrated with her parents and two sisters to New York. So one can reasonably assume that this is a story written out of that experience which I guess is why it is such a totally believable story. Her protagonist is a young Korean American, Casey Han, who has grown up in New York, she is the elder and feistier of two sisters who are both now in their 20’s, and Casey is experiencing serious tensions with her parents who live in Queens and manage a Manhattan dry cleaning business. The gulf of understanding between them is ever-widening
This is how the book begins:
As a capable young woman, Casey Han felt compelled to choose respectability and success. But it was glamour and insight that she craved. A Korean immigrant who’d grown up in a dim, blue-collar neighbourhood in Queens, she’d hoped for a bright, glittering life beyond the workhorse struggles of her parents………..
Casey was unusually tall for a Korean, nearly five feet eight…..for a girl of only twenty two she had numerous theories on beauty and sexuality, but the essence of her philosophy was that allure trumped obvious display. She’d read that Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis advised a woman to dress like a column, and Casey never failed to follow that instruction.
I guess you could say that Casey was in pursuit of the American dream. But she learns early on that keeping up with the Joneses isn’t easy even for a fashion-conscious, attractive young woman with a degree from an Ivy League college.
Early on she is kicked out of home by her father following a huge family row caused by what the father views as insolent behavior. To make ends meet she undertakes a variety of part-time jobs and stays with various friends.
As the story develops, and it takes place over about 4 years, we meet a myriad of well-drawn characters, friends and family and business colleagues, both Korean and European Americans and various sub-plots develop with Casey being the common link to all these storylines.
But it is Casey’s family, romantic and financial struggles with all their numerous ups and downs along the way that always takes centre stage.
Author Min Jin Lee lives in New York with her husband and son. She was a lawyer for several years before giving up the law to write fulltime. Her short stories have won her several awards and I am sure we can expect more novels after the robust praise she has received for FREE FOOD FOR MILLIONAIRES.
Her cause was greatly helped by an interview in Newsweek magazine where they talked of her novel being “showered with praise” and where she was described as “an overnight sensation”.
And for the author’s own website click here. At her website you can access the Newsweek interview.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
With the Festival less than two weeks away The Daily Telegraph suggests the literary highlights.... and it is a most impressive lineup with Alan Bennett, Margaret Attwood, Ian McEwan, A.L.Kennedy, and Nick Cohen among them.
Picture of Alan Bennett (right) also from The Telegraph.
Picture of acclaimed Scottisdh writer A.L.Kennedy (left) from her own website.
The original, 120-ft typewritten roll of the beat generation literary classic is being republished, complete with material too hot to handle in 1957
This story by Paul Bignell and Andrew Johnson from The Independent on Sunday.
It took Jack Kerouac just three weeks to write what became one of the most influential books of the 20th century, inspiring a generation of writers, artists and musicians from Bob Dylan to Hanif Kureishi.
Or such is the myth. In fact what became On the Road was edited extensively over a six-year period before it was published in 1957. The semi-autobiographical story of Kerouac's American road trips was also heavily censored with explicit scenes of gay sex and drug-taking removed.
Now, however, to mark its 50th anniversary, the beatnik classic is to be published for the first time in its original uncensored form as Kerouac intended.
The new edition will also give Kerouac's fellow travellers, the writers Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs, and his muse Neal Cassady, their real names instead of the pseudonyms that generations of fans have had to decode.
This from the BBC, for all interested in branding......
Saturday, July 28, 2007
In its lead story in the Sunday Book Review section the New York Times looks at several books on the subject.
Sign at right taken outside Scottish Writers Museum.
Have a look at her remarkable bibliography below, taken from National Library of Scotland, and you will agree that this honour is greatly deserved.
1957 The Comforters
1959 Memento Mori
1960 The Ballad of Peckham RyeThe Bachelors
1961 The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
1963 The Girls of Slender Means
1965 The Mandelbaum Gate
1968 The Public Image
1970 The Driver's Seat
1971 Not to Disturb
1973 The Hothouse by the East River
1974 The Abbess of Crewe
1976 The Takeover
1979 Territorial Rights
1981 Loitering with Intent
1984 The Only Problem
1988 A Far Cry from Kensington
1996 Reality and Dreams
2000 Aiding and Abetting
2004 The Finishing School
1950 Tribute to Wordsworth [edited by Muriel Spark and Derek Stanford]
1951 Child of Light [a study of Mary Shelley]
1952 The Fanfarlo and Other Verse
1952 Selected Poems of Emily Brontë
1953 John Masefield [biography]
1953 Emily Brontë: her life and work [by Muriel Spark and Derek Stanford]
1953 My Best Mary [a selection of letters of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, edited by Muriel Spark and Derek Stanford]
1954 The Brontë letters
1957 Letters of John Henry Newman [edited by Muriel Spark and Derek Stanford]
1958 The Go-away Bird [short stories]
1961 Voices at Play [short stories and plays]
1963 Doctors of Philosophy [play]
1967 Collected PoemsCollected Stories
1982 Bang-bang You're Dead [short stories]
1982 Going up to Sotheby's [poems]
1992 Curriculum Vitae [autobiography]
2001 Complete Short Stories
2004 All the Poems
National Library of Scotland home page
We salute you Dame Muriel.
BOOK FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN CUBA
Charlie Ward of Wellington has won the inaugural Great New Zealand Digi-Poem Competition with his audio-visual version of Paekakariki poet Apirana Taylor's poem 'Hinemoa's Daughter'.
The announcement was made by NZ Electronic Poetry Centre (nzepc) Director and Convenor of Judges Michele Leggott last night during the Montana Poetry Day event Poetry Central in Auckland City.
The judges were unanimous in their decision to give Charlie Ward's flash animation top prize from within a shortlist that shows clearly the range of skills needed to make a convincing digital work that is sensitive to the multiple demands of text and audio poetry. "Charlie Ward achieves a balance between the visual, textual and auditory components of Apirana Taylor's poem 'Hinemoa's Daughter'", Michele Leggott said.
"His composition follows Taylor's evocative performance with nuanced images and typographical overlays that surprise and delight the eye as the poet speaks."
The other finalists were:
· Jody Lloyd of Trillion in Christchurch: On Originality by Bill Manhire
· Paul Homeboy (Christchurch): Instructions for the Consumption of your humanitarian Food Package by Fiona Farrell
· Helen Sword of Auckland: Hinemoa's Daughter by Apirana Taylor
The Great NZ Digi-Poem Competition, created to celebrate Montana Poetry Day by the nzepc in association with Auckland University Press, sought the best digital transformations of poems by six well-known New Zealand poets.
The competition poems were drawn from AUP's Contemporary New Zealand Poets in Performance, the second of AUP's popular CD-with-book anthologies of poets in performance, which will be launched tonight on Montana Poetry Day, during Poetry Central at the Auckland Central Library.
The winner will receive an iPod Nano donated by the University of Auckland Library and books from Auckland University Press. All the shortlisted poems are on the nz electronic poetry website (http://www.nzepc.auckland.ac.nz/digital/contest07.asp).
Ø Audio files and texts of the competition poems are available at http://www.nzepc.auckland.ac.nz/digital/contest07.asp
Ø Individual clips can be provided on DVD; the winning clip 'Hinemoa's Daughter' is available in wmv and quicktime formats and is 1.51 minutes long.
Ø Available for interview: Michele Leggott, Director of the nzepc and convenor of Judging panel of The Great NZ Digi-Poem Competition; Jack Ross and Jan Kemp, editors of Contemporary New Zealand Poets in Performance.
Auckland University Press
PB 92019, Auckland, New Zealand Tel: (+64-9) 373-7599 x 85735 MOB: 027 276 3969 Fax: (+64-9) 373-7465
Each weekday morning, we take a few minutes out of our morning coffee ritual to discuss one of our many favourite children's books. We also feature weekly interviews with authors, literacy related discussions or audio reviews submitted by our listeners. Through this podcast and its website, we are building a lively, interactive community linking children's book authors, illustrators, readers (parents and children) and publishers. Episodes range in length from 5 to 25 minutes and can be played directly from our web page or downloaded to an ipod for listening on the go.
-- http://www.justonemorebook.com/"A podcast about the children's books we love and why we love them -- recorded in our favourite coffee shop"
For several years now Jeff & Ros Grigor have put out a monthly e-mail newsletter talking of books read and browsed. They kindly gave my blog a plug in their latest newsletter, thanks guys.
In case you do not see it I am enlcosing parts of the latest issue. feel free to contact them if you would like to be added to their mailing list.
Chapters & Verses
272 Stafford Street Timaru.
Invitation to Book Launch.
Enclosed with this newsletter is an invitation to the launch of Owen Marshal’s new novel “Drybread” to be held at
At Chapters & Verses on Monday the 6th of August at 7:00 pm.
An invitation is extended to all of our newsletter recipients to attend. Dame Fiona Kidman will officially launch “Drybread”. Refreshments
will be provided. A review of “Drybread” follows later in this newsletter.
Beattie’s Book Blog
If you are interested in the world of books both in NZ and overseas one of NZ’s foremost readers has set up a “Book Blog” which is updated daily with interesting news and facts from the world of books. Graham Beattie founded Beattie and Forbes Bookshop in Napier and from there moved to become Managing Director of Penguin NZ and then Scholastic NZ. His blog address is “http://beattiesbookblog.blogspot.com”
Bishop John Spong is coming to Timaru.
We are delighted to announce that Bishop Spong is coming to Timaru and will speak for an hour on the evening of the 19th of September. We have yet to confirm a venue. Make sure you keep this night free to hear this most interesting and challenging of speakers. Bishop Spong is in NZ to promote his new book “Jesus for the Non Religious”. We have copies in store now at $39:99. We will keep you informed about the time and the venue of this exciting event.
Paullina Simons is coming to Timaru.
Another extremely exciting author event for us. Paullina is one of the world’s bestselling authors. Her bestselling novels include “The Bronze Horseman”, “The Bridge to Holy Cross” and “The Summer Garden” She was born in Leningrad and emigrated to the USA in 1973. She currently lives close to New York with her husband and four children. Paullina will be here in November and we will keep you informed as to venues and times etc.
Ros has been reading
Mother’s Ruin. By Nicola Barry. Autobiography $39:99
Nicola’s mother was a chronic alcoholic. Not only did it ruin her career as a well respected and liked doctor, but caused Nicola to be born with what was later recognized as foetal alcohol syndrome. This caused problems with her bones, and many of her formative years were spent in hospitals. While many people may have found that hard, Nicola actually enjoyed being in hospital. There she found love and security which were lacking at home – by this time her father, also a doctor, spent as much time away from home as possible due to his wife’s alcoholism. Years of terrible neglect were hidden behind middle-class doors and only came to an end after her mother drank herself to death. By this time Nicola had become an alcoholic herself. But if her mother was such a dreadful person, who were all these strangers at her funeral, and why did they speak so highly of her?
Mother’s Ruin is a remarkable true story of alcohol addiction and its devastating effects on the family. Yes, it is emotional, but also inspirational.
On Hitler’s Mountain My Nazi Childhood by Irmgard Hunt Autobiography $28:00.
Irmgard Hunt grew up in Berchtesgarden, Bavaria, her childhood seeming ordinary at the time; but her story is a first hand account of what it was like to be a child in Nazi Germany and reveals a child's-eye view of a brutalizing time when an entire people lost their way.On Hitler's Mountain is a powerful, intimate, riveting, and revealing account of a seemingly halcyon life lived mere paces from a centre of evil and madness; a remarkable memoir of an "ordinary" childhood spent in an extraordinary time and place. Born in 1934, Irmgard Hunt grew up in the picturesque Bavarian village of Berchtesgaden, in the shadow of the Eagle's Nest and near Adolf Hitler's luxurious alpine retreat. The very model of blond Aryan "purity," Irmgard sat on the Führer's knee for photographers, witnessed with excitement the comings and goings of all manner of famous personages, and with the blindness of a child accepted the Nazi doctrine that most of her family and everyone around her so eagerly embraced. Here, in a picture-postcard world untouched by the war and seemingly unblemished by the horrors Germany's master had wrought, she accepted the lies of her teachers and church and civic leaders, joined the Hitler Youth at age ten, and joyfully sang the songs extolling the virtues of National Socialism. But before the end -- when she and other children would be forced to cower in terror in dank bomb shelters and wartime deprivations would take a harrowing toll -- Irmgard's doubts about the "truths" she had been force-fed increased, fuelled by the few brave souls who had not accepted Hitler and his abominations. After the fall of the brutal dictatorship and the suicide of its mad architect, many of her neighbours and loved ones still clung to their beliefs, prejudices, denial, and unacknowledged guilt. Irmgard, often feeling lonely in her quest, was determined to face the truth of her country's criminal past and to bear the responsibility for an almost unbearable reality that most of her elders were determined to forget.
Jeff has been Reading.
Drybread by Owen Marshall. Fiction $27:99.
A graveyard is all that's left of the remote Central Otago settlement of Drybread, where miners, often hungry and disappointed, once searched for gold. It is to an old cottage nearby that Penny Maine-King flees with her young son, defying a Californian court order awarding custody of the child to her estranged husband. And seeking her in this austere, burnt country is journalist Theo Esler. He is after a story, but he discovers something far more personal and significant. Drybread, Owen Marshall's third novel, is a moving study of love and disappointment, of the harm we do to each other, knowingly and unknowingly, of the power and significance of landscape in our lives. Rich and subtle, it is a compelling book from one of this country's finest writers.
Owen’s last novel “Harlequin Rex” won the Montana NZ Book Awards Deutz Medal for fiction in 2000. I believe “Drybread” is an even better book”.
Very Highly Recommended
Rocking Horse Road by Carl Nixon Fiction $27:99
The body of a teenage girl is found on the beach in the days leading up to Christmas, 1981. It's an event that makes a huge impact on all those who live along Rocking Horse Road, which runs through the Spit, a long 'finger of bone-dry sand' between the ocean and the estuary. It's an event that for one hot summer brings together a group of fifteen-year-old boys and then keeps them linked for the rest of their lives. Evolving from Nixon's celebrated short story, this powerful novel is much more than an intelligently evoked murder mystery. It's a book about coming of age and loss of innocence, not just for the characters but also for New Zealand, as the country turns upon itself during the 1981 Springbok Tour. It examines how early events can impact on the rest of our lives, and probes ideas of community, collective memory and story telling. Above all, it's a compelling story, set in a New Zealand we can all recognise. This is a wonderful novel. Carl Nixon will be a force to be reckoned with in NZ literature in the years to come.
Just read what Warwick Roger says about it in his review in North and South this month;
“I usually bridle when a new work of NZ fiction lands on my desk for review. Most NZ fiction is crap. There are certainly no more than 10 honourable exceptions among authors currently writing. Carl Nixon is a major talent and this is a very good book. You should read it.”
Very high praise indeed.
Rainbow’s End by Lauren St John. Memoir $37:00
This is a story about a paradise lost. . . . About an African dream that began with a murder . . . In 1978, in the final, bloodiest phase of the Rhodesian civil war, eleven-year-old Lauren St John moves with her family to Rainbow's End, a wild, beautiful farm and game reserve set on the banks of a slow flowing river. The house has been the scene of a horrific attack by guerrillas, and when Lauren's family settles there, a chain of events is set in motion that will change her life irrevocably. “Rainbow's End” captures the overwhelming beauty and extraordinary danger of life in the African bush. Lauren's childhood reads like a girl's own adventure story. At the height of the war, Lauren rides through the wilderness on her horse, Morning Star, encountering lions, crocodiles, snakes, vicious ostriches, and mad cows. Many of the animals are pets, including Miss Piggy and Bacon and an elegant giraffe named Jenny. The constant threat of ruthless guerrillas prowling the land underscores everything, making each day more dangerous, vivid, and prized than the last. After Independence, Lauren comes to the bitter realization that she'd been on the wrong side of the civil war. While she and her family believed that they were fighting for democracy over Communism, others saw the war as black against white. And when Robert Mugabe comes into power, he oversees the torture and persecution of thousands of members of an opposing tribe and goes on to become one of Africa's legendary dictators. The ending of this beautiful memoir is a fist to the stomach as Lauren realizes that she can be British or American, but she cannot be African. She can love it -- be willing to die for it -- but she cannot claim Africa because she is white.
I loved this book.
Friend of the Devil by Peter Robinson Crime Fiction $36:99
Inspector Banks is back in this stunning new novel from bestselling author Peter RobinsonWhen Karen Drew is found sitting in her wheelchair staring out to sea with her throat cut one chilly March morning, DI Annie Cabbot, on loan to Eastern Area, gets lumbered with the case. Back in Eastvale, that same Sunday morning, 19-year-old Hayley Daniels is found raped and strangled in the Maze, a tangle of narrow alleys behind Eastvale's market square, after a drunken night on the town with a group of friends, and DCI Alan Banks is called in. Banks finds suspects galore, while Annie seems to hit a brick wall until she reaches a breakthrough that spins her case in a shocking and surprising new direction, one that also involves Banks. Then another incident occurs in the Maze, which seems to link the two cases in a bizarre and mysterious way. As Banks and Annie dig into the past to uncover the deeper connections, they find themselves also dealing with the emotional baggage and personal demons of their own relationship. And it soon becomes clear that there are two killers in their midst, and that at any moment either one might strike again.
A Superb Read
Don’t forget our author events. Everyone is welcome.
Friday, July 27, 2007
Something one suspects booksellers have to do all the time.....
Interesting piece from the TLS.
This story from the Sydney Morning Herald...........
PEP/Whitcoulls still seen as front runner. Management buyout also being considered.
MONTANA WINNER TO READ HER POETRY AT HEDLEYS BOOKSHOP
TONIGHT AT 5.30PM
Winner of NZSA Best First Book for poetry announced:
Victoria University Press author, Airini Beautrais has proven she is an author to watch by winning the NZSA Jessie McKay Best First Book for Poetry for her collection, Secret Heart.
Montana New Zealand Book Awards poetry category advisor, Dr John Newton says Beautrais’ book is extremely well-conceived.
'Secret Heart has a decisive choice of form perfectly matched to an original choice of content’.
Janet Frame has won the poetry category of the 2007 Montana New Zealand Book Awards for her collection, The Goose Bath three years after her death
A previous recipient of awards for both fiction and non fiction, the win confirms her place as one of our greatest and most adaptable writers.
She competed against The Year of the Bicycle by James Brown and One Shapely Thing by Dinah Hawken to take the prize.
The announcement made today marks Montana Poetry Day. With more than 45 events happening around the country, it is a major celebration of the nation’s poets and their writing.
Montana New Zealand Book Awards judges’ convenor, Dr Paul Millar says Frame’s edge is as we should expect, her use of inventive, imaginative and memorable language.
‘She steps lightly and precisely across the surface of the swamp of words…She is also highly original.’
Spokesperson for the Janet Frame Charitable Trust and Janet Frame’s niece, Pamela Gordon, says poetry was always her aunt’s first love.
‘This win marks a long overdue recognition for Janet Frame as a poet. She didn't seek accolades for her work, but she would have been very pleased that The Goose Bath poems have found favour.’
Despite a prolific writing career, Janet Frame had only one previously published collection of poetry (The Pocket Mirror, 1967) before The Goose Bath. She is the author of eleven novels, five collections of stories, a volume of poetry, a children's book and a three-volumed autobiography.
Janet Frame is New Zealand’s most distinguished writer: CBE, member, Order of New Zealand, nominee for the Nobel Prize in Literature, Honorary Foreign Member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, Honorary Doctorate in Literature, University’s of Otago and Waikato. She was a Burns Scholar and a Sargeson Fellow. Janet Frame won the New Zealand Scholarship in Letters and the Hubert Church Award for Prose.
Born in Dunedin in 1924, Janet Frame died in January 2004.
The Goose Bath, published by Random House New Zealand, will be judged alongside the winner of the Fiction category for the ultimate prize, the Montana Medal for Fiction or Poetry (formerly called the Deutz prize). The winner will be announced at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards ceremony and gala dinner in Auckland at Sky City on Monday 30 July. Pamela Gordon, will accept the prize of $5,000 on behalf of Janet Frame, as winner of the Poetry category at this gala dinner.
The principal sponsors of the Montana New Zealand Book Awards are Montana and Creative New Zealand. The awards are managed by Booksellers New Zealand and supported by Book Publishers Association of New Zealand, the New Zealand Society of Authors and Book Tokens (NZ) Ltd.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Ten talented teenage poets on New Zealand Post shortlist
Ernest Hemingway, fish, Taipei, musical scales and kayaks are a taste of the themes preoccupying the ten finalists in this year's New Zealand Post Poetry Awards. The ten finalists, a tiny proportion of hundreds of entrants from around New Zealand, are competing for a grand prize of cash and the chance for one poem to be turned into a song. Winners will be announced on August 17 at a ceremony in Wellington.
Judge Andrew Johnston (2007 J D Stout Research Fellow at Victoria University) says he was astonished by the range of tones and voices that came across in the ten very different poems. ‘In every case their energy and curiosity leapt out at me, and sometimes their imperfections make them much more interesting than poems that are polished but predictable. I'm confident the authors have what it takes to write even better poems, and it's exciting to imagine what they might go on to do.’
This is the first time the competition has offered the prize for a shortlisted poem to be recorded by Black Seeds performer Barnaby Weir. The song will be performed, distributed to radio stations and made available for free download on iTunes and Digirama. The overall competition winner will take away a $500 cash prize and a $500 grant to their school library. All ten finalists will have their expenses paid to attend a poetry masterclass at Victoria University in Wellington, and receive a package of book tokens and literary subscriptions from the New Zealand Book Council, Booksellers New Zealand, the New Zealand Society of Authors, and Sport and Landfall.
And the finalists are:
Zoe Newman, Year 13, Dargaville School
Laura Lincoln, Year 12, Karamu High School, Hastings
Michaela Ball, Year 13, Cashmere High School, Christchurch
Chloë Nannestad, Year 12, Epsom Girls Grammar, Auckland
Alisha Vara, Year 13, Rangi Ruru Girls School, Christchurch
Sam Wells, Year 12, Wellington College
Sue Mun Huang, Year 12, Karamu High School, Hastings
Michael Trigg, Year 13, Wellington College
Sarah Zydervelt, Year 12, Nayland College, Nelson
Shannyn Boyd, Year 12, Hutt Valley High School, Lower Hutt
The expanding bookshelf
Damien Wilkins will launch 2005 MA (Page) graduate Mary McCallum’s first novel The Blue (Penguin) in Eastbourne next week. The novel is set in an isolated whaling community in the 1930s, and rumour has it that the launch is to feature food appropriate to the period, although we assume the author’s quest for veracity won’t stretch as far as offering whale meat amongst the hors d’oeuvres. Mary McCallum discusses (and previews) the novel in her New Zealand Book Month blog
Illustrating children's books with Fifi Colston
Fifi Colston is a children’s book writer and illustrator with over 28 titles to her name (as well as an MA in Creative Writing from the IIML). She is offering a weekend workshop on illustrating children’s books that will look at character development, what makes a picture book great and examine illustration from a child's point of view. The workshop takes place in a central city (Wellington) location on the weekend of 18 -19 August, from 10am- 4.30pm. The cost of $250 includes all art materials, tea and coffee.
All levels of ability are welcome,
bookings essential (tel 021 448884 / email email@example.com).
Taken from the 111th in a series of occasional newsletters from the Victoria University centre of the International Institute of Modern Letters. For more information about any of the items, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also read the whole newsletter online at: http://www.vuw.ac.nz/modernletters/activities/newsletter.aspx (after tomorrow).
a new title from the man we all love to hate.......this from The Book Standard