Monday, February 23, 2009


The March issue of Auckland's savvy and sophisticated city magazine, Metro, will have Wellingtonians splitting into their lattes with Metro Senior Writer, (and former Wellingtonian), Simon Wilson making a strong and impressive case for Auckland in a 12 page feature.

Included in his story is a series of brief snapshots of the arts. Here is the snapshot on literature:

Bill Manhire’s master’s degree in creative writing at Victoria University is undoubtedly the county’s leading writing course, and partly because of it Fergus Barrowman at Victoria University Press is the country’s leading fiction publisher. But most other publishers are here, including Penguin, where publisher Geoff Walker has a long and leading track record with New Zealand books overall.
Both cities have a Writers and Readers Festival, but the Auckland event is annual, not biannual, and bigger, and showcases many more New Zealand writers alongside the overseas guests.
Writers, like painters, can live anywhere, but most choose to live in Auckland. Novelist Stephanie Johnson, (pic left), who is stepping down this year as an organiser of the writers’ festival, says Auckland is “such a frontier town” She likes it that way: “It makes it such a wonderful place to set novels.”

All Aucklanders and Wellingtonians with an interest in the arts should read this thoughtful and provocative piece from Simon Wilson who seems to me to have inherited from Warwick Roger the role as Metro's leading polemicist. I predict there will be an upward spike in the sales of this issue as Wellingtonians unaccustomed to buying Metro will be forced to read this story which challenges the " cultural capital myth" perpetually repeated by their mayor Kerry Prendergast.


Anonymous said...

Yawn, sigh, another Akl Old Curmudgeon rattling the dovecotes for what effect apart from a paltry pay cheque and 5 nanoseconds of instant fame/notoriety? Besides, doesn't everyone know that Oamaru is the cultural centre of this great colony? After all, Janet Frame's grave can't be wrong!

Anonymous said...

As for the cultural debate, Auckland versus Wellington – who cares – it’s not a competition – Timaru has Owen Marshall, and Janet Frame was from Oamaru, and let’s face it, Hone was living in a crib way down South…

Wellington still has the Monet exhibition… so eat your heart our Aucklanders.