Monday, November 30, 2009

Raphael's way with words is in the genes
By Kate Newton - The Dominion Post, 30/11/2009

Left -In good company. Raphael Kidman, 12, with grandmother Dame Fiona Kidman. Dominion Post photo.

Raphael beat 148 other pupils to win the Jack Lasenby Writing Award with his story, 'The Big Hairy Monster'. "He's got a wicked sense of humour," Dame Fiona said.

Ink flows through Raphael Kidman's veins. The first person the 12-year-old rang when he found out he had won the Jack Lasenby Writing Award was author Dame Fiona Kidman – or "Gran".

Raphael eclipsed 148 other year seven and eight Wellington pupils to win the award for his story, The Big Hairy Monster – a re-imagining of The Three Little Pigs.
It tells the tale of a trio of porkers who hide from the Big Bad Wolf in earthquake-strengthened Te Papa, its superior engineering leaving him out of huff and puff.

Raphael said he had not expected the story to win. "I didn't really believe it at first because I'm not really good at English." Once he got over the shock, he got on the phone to his award-winning grandmother, who was "quite surprised", but happy to hear the news, Raphael said.
Dame Fiona said her grandson's success was fantastic. "The story is hilarious – he's got a wicked sense of humour."
She hoped he would keep writing and was looking forward to having some competition in the family.
The full story at
Beyond Borders: the future of bookselling

Borders has gone belly-up, Amazon thrives, and doom-mongers are proclaiming the death of literature on the high street. But this could be the opening of a fine new chapter…
Rachel Cooke writing in The Observer, Sunday 29 November 2009

Left - Lutyens and Rubenstein bookshop in London's Notting Hill. Photograph: Richard Saker

Contrary to popular belief – or at least to those dullards who swear by Amazon – shopping for books is like shopping for clothes, or a husband: sometimes you don't know what you want until you see it, and this is where a good store comes in.
When I woke up last Friday morning I had not even heard of a book called Women Who Read Are Dangerous but later that same day I made a trip to a new shop, Lutyens & Rubinstein in west London, and there it was, sitting in the window, calling out to me at the top of its voice.
Women Who Read Are Dangerous. What a title! I don't mind admitting that I would have bought it for that alone. But once inside, I found it was my perfect book in other ways, too, containing, as it does, a feast of beautiful paintings of women reading by artists such as Felix Vallotton, Edouard Vuillard, Henri Matisse and Duncan Grant, and a politely fiery text which serves to remind one that, in the not too dim and distant past, for a woman to be seen absorbed in a book was considered at best a selfish act and at worst a subversive one.

So I grabbed it. Christmas shopping... for me! And then, of course, I was on a slippery slope. For though I am a devoted reader of book reviews, it quickly became apparent that Lutyens & Rubinstein stocked quite a few books I hadn't previously known I needed to own: a book of photographs by John Gay; a volume of spooky short stories by Kelly Link; a collection of short and sweet literary biographies by Javier Marías, a writer whose name was unfamiliar but who, according to the dust jacket of Written Lives, is admired by JM Coetzee, which is good enough for me.

When I left the shop 45 minutes later, I did so quite a few quid the lighter but also suffused with a certain kind of happiness. I felt as one does when a particularly clever and determined assistant pulls a dress from a hanger and tells you to try it on in spite of your protestations that it will never fit (and, besides, you own too many dresses already): it was as if the items in my satisfyingly heavy bag had in some mysterious way been matched with me – and this in turn made me feel not only less bad about parting with so much money but also obscurely cared for.

When they are good, aren't bookshops just about the best thing in the world? I think so.

Borders, which went into receivership this week, was not very good, which is why I cannot get too worked up about its passing. What's more, I think it is possible – fingers crossed and resting on my first edition of Love in a Cold Climate – that its disappearance might mark a watershed in British bookselling. So, as it happens, do Sarah Lutyens and Felicity Rubinstein, the literary agents who set up and own Lutyens & Rubinstein. Though the book world generally remains doom and gloom laden (lower sales, celebrity titles, controlling chains, the cutting back of serious newspaper literary pages), this could just be the moment for independent stores like theirs. Book buyers are feeling alienated by big stores like Borders (and Waterstone's), with their bored-looking staff and their piled high three-for-two offers. But, equally, using Amazon to bypass them (and, of course, to save money) only really works when you know exactly what you're after.

Amazon does not set the synapses crackling the way the sight of a pristine shelf of books does: it does not surprise you, nor does it fuel book hunger. You click on what you came for, and then you leave. This, then, is where the independent store, with its carefully edited collection, comes in. Lutyens & Rubinstein has been open just seven weeks but things are going twice as well as its owners expected. "We are a local shop," says Rubinstein. "But we are also one with deep expertise and good taste." She is smiling very broadly. So I ask if they are nervous. Sort of. "But we feel confident, too," says Lutyens. "Very confident."

There are lots of things to love about their store, among them a collection of handmade cards designed by the novelist Melissa Bank, and a scent called In The Library with top notes of leather bindings and a hint of wood polish (perhaps I will send a bottle to Margaret Hodge, the culture minister and supposed custodian of our libraries; a dash behind her ears might help to remind her of her responsibilities).

Mostly, though, it is the shop's books, and the way they are arranged that wins the day. Lutyens & Rubinstein is tiny, but it stocks 4,000 titles, which it tries to display with real wit. This month, for instance, a shelf entitled Arctic Chill features books about the north, snow and ice, while the young adult section includes books by David Mitchell and Curtis Sittenfeld as well as more predictable titles by authors who write only for that age group. Georgette Heyer, meanwhile, has a very strong presence. I won't spell out here what that means. If you know, you know. If you don't, you should stop being so stuck up, and read her, pronto.
Read the rest of this story at The Observer online.
Come one, come all!

The world-famous-in-Auckland Local Publishers Forum Christmas Party is being held on 3 December, 5.30 p.m. at One 2 One, 121 Ponsonby Road.

$10 entry – includes light finger food and your first drink of Christmas cheer.
$15 entry – includes the above and 3 x raffle tickets . . .


ALL(SORTS) WELCOME – editors, designers, publicists, photographers, proofreaders, booksellers, freelancers, manuscript assessors, packagers, publishers, sales reps . . .

To help us plan this event, please RSVP to

See you there!
Chart of Lust 2009: From Clooney to Capaldi
An awful lot stirred our loins in 2009. Pop stars and politicians. Silver foxes and works of fiction. Polly Vernon documents a nation's lust …

The Observer, Sunday 22 November 2009

(Book lovers - check out #9)

Because Malcolm Tucker is sheer, unmitigated genius; because he injected undiluted brilliance/ sweary filth into In the Loop and the very latest series of The Thick Of It. Because he directed and featured in Jo Brand's exquisite Getting On. Because CoL cannot get enough of him. Finest bloody actor of his et cetera.

Not for the fan-tabulous oratory or offering the world new hope, but for what he looks like in tight shorts on the beach.

Actually, you know what? CoL fancies 'Chelle more than Barry. You heard it here first.

After whom CoL has lusted for decades. In '09, however, Izzard lust was totally reaffirmed after our very favourite transvestite (sorry, Alex Reid) took the certifiably bonkers step of running 43 marathons in 52 days. Why? For charity, of course!

For the "Has anyone seen Kate Moss's lipstick?" moment (see YouTube for further info). As well as the ace, unapologetically commercial grime.

It's been a bad year for a good man. CoL would like to reassure Gordo that she still loves him. And probably would. (And PS Her handwriting's terrible, too!)

Anyone who made it to this summer's Circus tour knows what CoL means. You have not lived until you've clapped out Never Forget, live. Or seen Jason Orange's thighs in action.

As above, but substitute Song Two for Never Forget, and Damon Albarn's moist-eyed gratitude for Orange's thighs.

Earnest, quietly beautiful, endlessly wise heroine of David Nicholls's excellent novel One Day. CoL has a sixth-form girl crush on Morley, and Morley's fictional aspect is no barrier to this.

Comedy co-writers who turned puerile into an art form for their miracle series The Inbetweeners (E4; Channel 4), and vastly improved CoL's life experience in the process. CoL expresses gratitude via the medium of lust, as you perhaps know by now.

Read the full lust list of 40 here.

Chcek out the July Guardian review of ONE DAY .

Christmas books

From prizewinning poetry to bestselling thrillers, D-day to the credit crunch, Wolf Hall to to a picturebook about a dying duck, the Guardian's writers and guests pick the best of 2009

The Guardian, Saturday 28 November 2009

Christmas books. Photograph: Graeme Robertson

Sebastian Barry
This was the year for me of the two Colm/Colums, Colm Tóibín and Colum McCann, each in their differing ways realising the full height of their respective ambitions. Writers through many books sometimes tend towards a larger destination, and it is marvellous when you see them reaching it, because not only does it constitute a signal achievement, but suggests fresh journeys are being contemplated. Brooklyn (Viking) is the station for Colm Tóibín, and New York for Colum McCann in Let the Great World Spin (Bloomsbury). These are the books of profoundly gifted world writers, and in that strange way of great books are incontrovertibly "there", radiant and right.
William Boyd
Selina Hastings's superb biography of Somerset Maugham, The Secret Lives of Somerset Maugham (John Murray) ticks all the boxes an exemplary biography should. As well as being admirably thorough and scholarly it is also revelatory – not least about the wild sexual goings-on in the Villa Mauresque, Maugham's palatial house on the Côte d'Azur. Hastings has the rare gift among biographers of being able to set a scene and establish a character with great vividness in a few deft lines.
Tormented Hope: Nine hypochondriac Lives by Brian Dillon (Penguin Ireland) is a short but fascinating study of literary and other celebrated hypochondriacs. These engrossing glimpses of the "fit unwell" include Charlotte Brontë, James Boswell, Andy Warhol and Marcel Proust (who must surely be the undisputed king of this particular neurotic hill). Written with great elegance and shrewd understanding, it illuminates a condition that probably all of us will suffer from at some time in our lives.

Anthony Browne
The two best illustrated books for me this year have both come from abroad, and both are stunningly original. Tales from Outer Suburbia (Templar) by Shaun Tan, from Australia, is a collection of 15 short illustrated stories all stemming from sketchbook doodles. It's an unusual approach – most illustrations in books are reactions to the text, but here the pictures inspire the stories. They are all strange and beautiful. Duck, Death and the Tulip by Wolf Erlbruch (Gecko Press) is a superb picture book from Germany, that tells a gentle story of the relationship between Death and a duck. Death is portrayed as a sympathetic figure in a dressing gown who is with us all the time, but who only comes into Duck's consciousness towards the end of his life. It is warm, poignant and witty.

Jane Campion
Opportunity and Singularity by Charlotte Grimshaw (both Cape). I read Grimshaw for the first time this year. She is a master with mystery, very contemporary and astute. These two books take the form of linked stories. They are elliptical, atmospheric and compelling in the way a good crime novel should be. There are complex love affairs, undercover detectives, doctors, adoptions, bad stepmothers and lost children. Her language is relaxed, spare and perfect.

There are loads more selections from a large range of authors at The Guardian online.
Looking inward

Author Michael Chabon’s new book is a collection of essays covering everything from his childhood in the ’70s to being a parent of four today.
Boston Globe, November 27, 2009

The novelist Michael Chabon’s newest book is a lyrical collection of essays, “Manhood for Amateurs: The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father, and Son.’’ He has poignant and sometimes hilarious riffs on everything from growing up in the 1970s, to the evolution of Legos, to the virtues of the “pitifully low’’ historic standards to which fathers are held, to the long-term effects of consuming too many “neurotic-farting penguin movies.’’
He spoke to Jeremy Eichler by phone from Berkeley, Calif., where he lives with his wife, the writer Ayelet Waldman, and his four children.

Q. There’s a skepticism in some quarters about the recent deluge of memoirs by parents. Did you hesitate at all before embarking on this book?
A. Not really. I think a genre is a neutral thing - it’s a matter of what’s done with it, whether the [individual] book rings true or not. If you’re a writer and a father, and you really care about being a father, it seems very natural to consider writing about it.

Q. Did you worry about what your kids would think when they read what you wrote - not the passages about them, or how you secretly throw away their art projects - but the harsh criticism you leveled at yourself. Are there certain parental myths that need preserving until a certain age?
A. Ah yes, those myths of parental infallibility. I think some of what I wrote might surprise them, and maybe they would feel that “I don’t want to know this about my dad.’’ I remember as a kid coming upon a list my father had made of resolutions for intellectual self-improvement. I was shocked that he was even capable of being so far from perfect that he would consider doing something like this. I didn’t want to know about it, I didn’t want him to be that way. But I’m now 10 years older than he was when he wrote that list, and I find it comforting that he had that self-doubt. So I think that’s important to keep in mind as you try to do those calculations about how what you write is going to impact your children and those around you. Their reactions are going to change over time.
The rest at Boston Globe online.
Parrot and Olivier in America
Reviewed by Andrew Riemer, Sydney Morning Herald

Parrot and Olivier
By Peter Carey

Hamish Hamilton,

Parrot and Olivier in America sounds like the title of a children's book, and there is indeed something irresistibly youthful about the zing and bounce of this picaresque tale spanning three continents. This is Peter Carey at his best: playful, extravagant, even rambling at times, yet fully in control. It is sometimes hard to know where these adventures are heading, yet they all finish up going somewhere meaningful and satisfying.

As with many of Carey's other works, there is a historical model – perhaps two – behind this extravaganza. It begins in France in the early years of the 19th century. Olivier de Garmont is the scion of two noble families, survivors of the Revolution and of the Terror of 1793, who have retreated to their chateau in Normandy while the vile Bonaparte reigns supreme. Olivier is a sensitive, sickly child – the servant girl Odile is often ordered to fetch the Chinese bowl filled with leeches – whose world seems to fall apart when he discovers an illustration in an old broadsheet of the execution of Louis XVI.
The swishing blade of the guillotine haunts every moment of his life. He comes to learn that many of his relatives – each represented by the carcass of a pigeon wrapped in paper – had fallen victim to that allegedly humane device.

Time passes. When the monarchy is finally restored – after Bonaparte's second exile, to remote St Helena – Olivier's family finds itself scorned by the new order, despite their loyalty to the ancien régime during the darkest days of revolution and terror. Olivier, a lawyer in Versailles, falls under the influence of the historian François Guizot, a liberal and an opponent of the reactionary Charles X, whose overthrow in the July Revolution of 1830 Guizot helped engineer. The young lawyer is assailed by peril from all sides. His family decides to ship him off to America – ostensibly to study prison reform – to keep him out of harm's way.
Read the full review at SMH.
A Second Helping By Alexa Johnston

Like its predecessor, A Second Helping celebrates the accumulated wisdom of past generations of skilled home cooks in a beautiful book which will bring continuing pleasure – and an assurance of baking triumphs – to your kitchen.

Alexa will be at Dymocks Ponsonby, Auckland on Tuesday
8 December from 6.00 pm.

Come along and have a drink and a chat about
the baking that fed a young nation.

344 Ponsonby Road, Three Lamps.
Tel 378 4860,

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Writes of passage
Bron Sibree, Courier Mail
November 27, 2009

IT IS difficult to tell what drives William Dalrymple more: his passion for history, his love of India or his enduring fascination with religion.
Either way, the celebrated historian and travel writer is at his exuberant best when I talk to him, ranging across all three.

Pic above -William Dalrymple. Pic: Karoki Lewis

His historical passions are so profound, his cultural embrace so broad, it's as if the populations of countless past and present civilisations have taken up residence alongside him in his farmhouse on the outskirts of Delhi.
Here they vie for attention with his artist wife Olivia, their three children, several goats, a dog and a loquacious pet parrot.

But as he talks about his new and seventh book Nine Lives: In Search Of The Sacred In Modern India, you sense not just the scholarly interest in religion that has coloured, sometimes driven, his previous narratives but his utter thrall to the personal stories that gave rise to it.
It is impossible not to be profoundly moved by the stories of those he chronicles in Nine Lives.
From the beautiful young Jain nun who wishes only to ritually fast to the death, to an elderly Tantric practitioner who drinks from skulls, it's a book that never fails to astonish, to beguile, as it journeys to the outskirts of mainstream religion, keeping company with folk poets, dreadlocked sadhus, minstrels and theyyam dancers.
"I was very interested to look at religion not from a theological point of view or even a devotional point of view," he says, "but primarily through the prism of an individual's life, to see how religion had diverted, even subverted that person's path in life. And it seemed to me, over and over again, that these incredibly moving stories just came pouring out and I just didn't want to interfere with them."

He is quick to say, too, that chronicling the lives of these nine individuals took him back to his origins as a travel writer, travelling rough with his notebook but in all other respects, he says, it is "a very deliberate" departure in style and form from his previous books.
Since kickstarting his career with his acclaimed travel bestseller, In Xanadu, at the age of 22, Dalrymple has kept to writing about India and the Middle East consistently for 25 years.
"Religion is a constant," he happily admits. "It seems to be something I can't quite escape."
It was during a chance trip to India as an 18-year-old that he first found himself "completely gripped by the country and haven't been let go since".
Read on.

A Free Library for Every Family (in Sharjah)
By Chip Rossetti in Publishing Perpectives

SHARJAH, UAE: While many countries would like to encourage a "culture of reading" in their citizens, perhaps no government has taken a more direct role in promoting reading than the United Arab Emirate of Sharjah, through its official initiative known as "Knowledge Without Borders."

Conceived under the auspices of the ruler of Sharjah, H.H. Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, the Knowledge Without Borders program has the ambitious goal of providing 42,000 Sharjah families with individual libraries of fifty books, including a display case to contain them.
(read on ...)

Bonus Material: Knowledge Without Borders' Top Ten Reasons to Read
By Edward Nawotka

In March, Marwan J. Al Sarkal, Deputy Head of the Organizing Committee of Knowledge Without Borders project in the UAE emirate of Sharjah (as described in today's lead article) acknowledged, "Nowadays, we all spend so much time in front of our computer and TV screens that reading is dying as a pastime." He added, "When people stop reading, with it goes language, vocabulary and comprehension skills; and basic skills like spelling and writing diminish. It's clear therefore that reading can do a lot of good for everyone."

Undaunted in his mission to get every family back into the habit of cracking a book, he offered ten reasons to read.
(read on ...)
Illustration by Joon Mo Kang

Google’s Earth
By Nicholson Baker

Published, New York Times: November 27, 2009

GOOGLED The End of the World as We Know It
By Ken Auletta
384 pp. The Penguin Press. $27.95

I’m fond of Google, I have to say. I like Larry Page, who seems, at least in the YouTube videos I’ve watched, shy and smart, with salt-and-pepper bangs; and Sergey Brin, who seems less shy and jokier and also smart. Ken Auletta, the author of this absorbing, shaggy, name-droppy book, doesn’t seem to like either of them much — he says that Page has a “Kermit the Frog” voice, which isn’t nice, while Brin comes off as a swaggering, efficiency-obsessed overachiever who, at Stanford, aced tests, picked locks, “borrowed” computer equipment from the loading dock and once renumbered all the rooms in the computer science building. “Google’s leaders are not cold businessmen; they are cold engineers,” Auletta writes — but “cold” seems oddly wrong. Auletta’s own chilliness may be traceable in part to Brin’s and Page’s reluctance to be interviewed. “After months of my kicking at the door, they opened it,” he writes in the acknowledgments. “Google’s founders and many of its executives share a zeal to digitize books,” he observes, “but don’t have much interest in reading them.”

Pic left - Sergey Brin, left, and Larry Page at Google Inc. headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. in Sept. 2008 - Paul Sakuma/Associated Press

They’ll probably give more than a glance at “Googled.” I read the book in three huge gulps and learned a lot — about Google’s “cold war” with Facebook, about Google’s tussles with Viacom, about Google’s role in the “Yahoo-Microsoft melee” and about Google’s gradual estrangement from its former ally, Apple. Auletta is given to martial similes and parallels, from Prince Metternich in 19th-century Europe to Afghanistan now: “Privacy questions will continue to hover like a Predator drone,” he writes, “capable of firing a missile that can destroy the trust companies require to serve as trustees for personal data.” And he includes some revealing human moments: Larry Page, on the day of Google’s hugely successful stock offering, pulls out his cellphone and says, “I’m going to call my mom!”.

But what Auletta mainly does is talk shop with C.E.O.’s, and that is the great strength of the book. Auletta seems to have interviewed every media chief in North America, and most of them are unhappy, one way or another, with what Google has become. Google is voracious, they say, it has gargantuan ambitions, it’s too rich, it’s too smug, it makes big money off of O.P.C. — other people’s content. One unnamed “prominent media executive” leaned toward Auletta at the 2007 Google Zeitgeist Conference and whispered a rhetorical question in his ear: What real value, he wanted to know, was Google producing for society?
The full review at NYT.

Alice Munro’s Object Lessons
By Leah Hager Cohen
Published New York Times, November 27, 2009

By Alice Munro 304 pp.
Alfred A. Knopf. US

Chatto & Windus, UK

The Germans must have a term for it. Doppel­gedanken, perhaps: the sensation, when reading, that your own mind is giving birth to the words as they appear on the page. Such is the ego that in these rare instances you wonder, “How could the author have known what I was thinking?” Of course, what has happened isn’t this at all, though it’s no less astonishing. Rather, you’ve been drawn so deftly into another world that you’re breathing with someone else’s rhythms, seeing someone else’s visions as your own.
One of the pleasures of reading Alice Munro derives from her ability to impart this sensation. It’s the sort of gift that requires enormous modesty on the part of the writer, who must shun pyrotechnics for something less flashy: an empathy so pitch-­perfect as to be nearly undetectable. But it’s most arresting in the hands of a writer who isn’t too modest — one possessed of a fearless, at times, fearsome, ambition.

From the beginning, Munro has staked her claim on rocky, rough terrain. Her first dozen books are rooted mostly in southwestern Ontario, mostly in the lives of women. Although the stories are, on the surface, bastions of domesticity — they’re full of mothers and daughters and aunts and cousins, darning and gardening, aprons and cakes — Munro flays this material with the unflinching efficiency of a hunter skinning a rabbit. More recently, in “The View From Castle Rock,” she broadened her narrative territory by venturing both into 17th-­century Scotland and beyond the boundaries of conventional fiction, mining her family history to produce an unabashed amalgam of invention and fact. Her new book, “Too Much Happiness,” represents at once a return to her habitual form and a furthering of her exploratory sensibilities.

The collection’s 10 stories take on some sensational subjects. In fact, a quick tally yields all the elements of pulp fiction: violence, adultery, extreme cruelty, duplicity, theft, suicide, murder. But while in pulp fiction the emotional climax coincides with the height of external drama, a ­Munro story works according to a different scheme. Here the nominally momentous event is little more than an anteroom to an echo chamber filled with subtle and far-reaching thematic reverberations.
Read the full review at NYT.
And for a UK review link here to The Times.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Victoria University announce 2010 Writer in Residence

Victoria University of Wellington announce that Jenny Bornholdt will be their 2010 Creative New Zealand Victoria University Writer in Residence.
Earlier this year she won the Montana New Zealand Book Award for Poetry for her latest collection The Rocky Shore, a book that was hailed by the Montana judges both as a breakthrough in Bornholdt’s own work and more generally as something significantly new in New Zealand poetry. ‘She uses speech as we know it in everyday life, not lifted into the poetic, but made poetry by all that it is allowed to contain.’

Jenny Bornholdt plans to work on a new volume of poetry while she is at Victoria, and also to compile an anthology of short poems by New Zealand writers.


Duncan Hamilton today received the greatest honour in sports writing for an incredible second time, after his biography of cricketer Harold Larwood was announced as the winner of the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award 2009.
Emerging victorious from a record number of entries (152), Hamilton found himself back in pole position just two years after scooping the prize for his universally acclaimed Brian Clough-themed book, As Long As You Don’t Kiss Me.

Published earlier this year to rave reviews, Harold Larwood recounts the triumph, betrayal and redemption of a working-class hero and forgotten titan of English cricket. Using documents provided by Larwood's family, Hamilton takes the reader on an intimate and compelling journey: from the cricketer’s humble upbringing in a Nottinghamshire mining village, through the shock of “Bodyline” and its traumatic aftermath, to his emigration to Sydney where he and his family found happiness.

Graham Sharpe, Media Relations Director at William Hill, and co-founder of the prize, said: “Hamilton’s second win is a remarkable achievement. He stunned us two years ago with his brilliant book about Brian Clough – the fact that he’s done it again with a completely different sporting legend is testament to his talent as a writer.”
Waterstone’s Sports Buyer, Joe Browes, said: “This is a brilliant win for Duncan Hamilton. As his first William Hill winner was about football, and his second about cricket, does this make him the Denis Compton of sports writing? Harold Larwood is one of cricket’s most legendary figures and this brilliant book will now become one of our biggest sports books of the year.”
Hamilton, former deputy editor of the Yorkshire Post, and journalist at the Nottingham Evening Post for 20 years, is only the second author to win the prestigious prize twice – following in the footsteps of Donald McRae, who won in 1996 for Dark Trade: Lost in Boxing and in 2002 for In Black and White: The Untold Story of Joe Louis and Jesse Owens respectively.

Hamilton was named the winner of the 21st William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award at a lunchtime ceremony at Waterstone’s Piccadilly, Europe’s biggest bookstore. As well as a £21,000 cheque, presented by prize judge and broadcaster John Inverdale, Hamilton also receives a £2,000 William Hill bet, a hand-bound copy of his book, and a day at the races.

The Making of The Word Witch The Poetic & Illustrative Magic of Margaret Mahy & David Elliot
Exhibition at the Ashburton Art Gallery

5th December 2009 - 14th March 2010
Opening, Artists talk and book signings
Saturday 5th December 1.30pm

Lunch with Margaret Mahy and David Elliott
pre exhibition opening at Colombus Coffee, Ashburton

Saturday 5th December at 11.30am,
$25 per person set menu including a $10 donation to Te Tai Tamariki

To book email or call 03 322 1185
Bookings essential

Unforgettable Books for Those You Remember
By Janet Maslin
Published New York Times, November 26, 2009

There’s a good reason why the three daily book critics for The New York Times don’t make 10-best lists at the end of the year: we can’t. None of us has read everything. Our reviewing assignments don’t overlap. None of us has an objective overview of the year’s best and most important books, but this is what we do have: favorites. They are books we have not only admired in the abstract but also enjoyed, recommended and given to friends.
More 2009 favorites from The New York Times Critics and the Book Review.

The selections on our 10-book lists winnow down a wide array of possibilities. Of the tens of thousands of books published each year, the daily Times reviews only about 250. Each of us chose his or her share of those titles for review. Now Michiko Kakutani, Dwight Garner and I further narrow down those choices, and each of us can tell you which 10 books we’ll remember best.

We’ve seen certain patterns emerging. It’s been a bit of an off year, and the must-read milestones have been rare. There are fewer towering histories and biographies than usual. There’s more attention to a subject of newly urgent interest: finance. And if it’s been a disappointing year for certain major novelists, it has also brought a couple of unexpected, career-capping accomplishments from fiction writers in the mainstream.

A note about omissions:
Because the daily reviewers for The Times do not cover books by other staff writers, our colleagues’ work is not represented here. (We would put “Blues & Chaos,” a collection of music writing by the former Times music critic Robert Palmer, on one of our lists if we could.) To avoid potential conflicts of interest, some books have been reviewed by freelance writers; those aren’t on our lists either. Here are the favorites we found:

Michiko Kakutani »

Janet Maslin »

Dwight Garner »
There'sbookshops and then...

Susan Hill writing on her blog in The Spectator
Thursday, 26th November 2009

So Borders is the first. The bookshop chain went into administration today, after rumours flew and were denied and flew again. Given the present state not merely of the economy but of the book trade in general it would not be surprising if within 5 years there are no bookselling chains on the High Street at all. Waterstone’s may well be the next to go, after which I predict the not unhappy state of affairs in which the survivors will be the newly re-energised and lively good small independent bookshops, the supermarkets merely for the popular paperbacks at large discounts – and Amazon.

In my recent mini-author tour I went to four small indie shops, each of which, in very different ways, was a model of what they should be and will have to be, to survive. They did not bother to stock the latest celeb memoir or the glossy Christmas cookbooks because they could not discount them as do a W.H.Smith across the road, or the online giant. Every one of them had something better to offer – enticing selections of hand-picked books often from out of the way publishers, good backlist stocks, wonderful art, photography and travel sections. Their children’s book corners were all particularly well-stocked and arranged, enticing to both children and parents and often with fat bean bags, children’s art competitions – winners up on the walls- sample copies for reading, toy boxes for the toddlers.

Such shops sometimes have small coffee areas, stock other book-related items and greetings cards, audio books and even music CDs. But their main strength lies in their having knowledgeable, friendly, well-read, interested staff who are experts at guiding, say, grandparents or aunts who do not know what a 9 year old boy might like reading, have the titles of the last three novels by Alexander McCall Smith off by heart and are delighted to share their own reading enthusiasm and recommendations and run an in-store book club. These are the shops whose author events are attended by a loyal local audience. At each of my talks I answered a wide-range of questions from the informed and attentive people there, who afterwards bought a great many books. I don’t think anyone went away empty handed.

All of this is helping them to survive in a difficult market - because the one thing these small shops cannot afford to do is to join in the suicidal discounting war with the chains or the internet giant. Publishers have allowed themselves to be held to ransom over discounts, which can be up to 75%. It is well-nigh impossible to make a profit with such tight margins.

There are plenty of other things wrong with the trade. Far too many books are published – over 120,000 new titles in Britain in the last year and even excluding academic and text books, most these will sell comparatively few copies. At one time, libraries bought a lot of books, now they buy few. A sale of 2,000 copies in hardback used to be average for a first novel from a major publisher. Now, most sell fewer than 500 and non-fiction can be worse. Out of interest, I have been following the fortunes of a handsomely produced, well illustrated history title from a large and very good publisher. It is not written for scholars although it is by an expert and its subject is of more than minority interest. Published a month ago, it had sold 48 copies when I checked on the Book Database this afternoon.
Read the rest of Susan Hill's piece at The Spectator online.

OUP looks at history of print with ‘book of books'

27.11.09 Catherine Neilan - The Bookseller

Oxford University Press is publishing a "book of books" at the start of next year, which has taken an editorial team of 30 seven years to produce. Advance copies of The Oxford Companion to the Book are due to be sent out "shortly", in advance of the 28th January 2010 publication date.

OUP described it as "a unique and original work on all aspects of the book from ancient times to the present day". The title was edited by Michael Suarez, professor and director of the Rare Book School at the University of Virginia, and Henry Woudhuysen, professor of English at University College London.

OUP editor Joanna Harris said the book was, "not only a unique and ground-breaking reference resource, which we are confident will help to define the growing academic field of book history and bibliography, but also a publication that epitomises- the press' publishing aims as one of the oldest—and largest—university presses in the world".

Coleen Hatrick, publicity manager at OUP, added: "Anyone who works in the trade, and all serious book lovers, will want to see The Oxford Companion to the Book. No one has done anything like this before and it will prove enormously useful."

The two-volume set, which holds 51 extended essays and 5,160 A–Z entries written by nearly 400 scholars from around the world, is priced at £195, although a pre-publication offer reduces this to £175.

Subjects covered by the book include the history of printing, editorial theory and practice, textual criticism, book collecting, libraries, the history of the book, and the electronic book. It also considers the book "around the world".

All-women shortlist for the BBC National Short Story Award

This year’s BBC’s National Short Story Award will be an all female affair after the shortlist revealed that, for the first time, only women are in the running to win the award.

The award, which celebrates the best of the contemporary British short story, is one of the most prestigious for a single short story with the winning author receiving £15,000; the runner up £3,000 and three further authors £500 each.

This year’s shortlist is:

Naomi Alderman – Other People’s Gods
Kate Clanchy – The Not-Dead and The Saved
Sara Maitland – Moss Witch
Jane Rogers - Hitting Trees with Sticks
Lionel Shriver (pic right) – Exchange Rates

This high calibre shortlist includes past winners of the Orange Prize for Fiction including Lionel Shriver who won with We Need to Talk About Kevin in 2005 and Naomi Alderman who won the Orange Prize for New Writers in 2006 for her novel Disobedience. Kate Clanchy is best known for her award-winning poetry and her role as Poet in Residence for the Red Cross in the UK.

Sara Maitland is an established award-winning short story author while Jane Rogers is best known for her award-winning adaptations on television and radio including her own novel Mr Wroe’s Virgins.
More than 600 entries were received for this year’s award which is open to authors who have had some history of publication and who are UK residents.

This year broadcaster and journalist Tom Sutcliffe chairs the judging panel which consists of singer-songwriter Will Young, author Dame Margaret Drabble, Orange Prize winner Helen Dunmore and BBC Radio 4’s Editor Di Speirs.

The shortlist will be announced tonight (Friday 27 November) at 7.15pm on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row.

Five of the UK’s top actors and actresses will read the shortlisted stories. Miriam Margolyes, Penelope Wilton, Hannah Gordon, Harry Potter’s Jason Isaacs and Julia McKenzie will each read one story which will be broadcast daily on BBC Radio 4 at 3.30pm from Monday 30 November.

The final announcement of the award winner and runners up will be made on Front Row on Monday 7 December.

This year, for the first time, each story will be available as a free podcast available for download for two weeks from Monday 30 November.

Tom Sutcliffe, broadcaster and Chair of Judges said: “We weren’t just struck by the quality of the short stories of the writing this year, but also by the range of what the short story can do - from Joycean epiphany to playful literary games. What’s exciting about the short story is that there are less limits on this form than there are on the novel and I hope our short list gives a sense of that scope - excellent writing in very different forms and voices.”

Aimed at highlighting the importance of the short story, the award stands at the heart of a UK-wide campaign - story - that also launched alongside the award in 2005. The ambition of both award and campaign is to expand opportunities for British writers, readers and publishers of the short story. The award aims to honour the country’s finest authors in the form. James Lasdun secured the inaugural year with An Anxious Man, Julian Gough took the award in 2007 with The Orphan and the Mob and Clare Wigfall was the 2008 winner with The Numbers. Other authors shortlisted in previous years have included Jackie Kay, Hanif Kureishi, Rose Tremain and William Trevor.

BBC Radio 4 is the world’s leading broadcaster of short stories and a staunch supporter of the form. Short stories are broadcast every week attracting more than a million listeners. The BBC hopes that the award can continue to serve as a reminder of the power of the short story in a literary environment dominated by the novel.

Friday, November 27, 2009

November 29, 2009

230:pm Chapter and Verse -

Vanda Symon continues her detective series starring Sam Shephard*..and Jenny Haworth sets her new novel in Paris just after the Armistice.
Dave Dobbyn: The Songbook by Dave Dobbyn
Craig Potton Publishing RRP $59.99
180 pp, hardback, 90 pp colour section, 211 pp musical score section.

Dave Dobbyn says that since day one, he has had a tune in his head. Now, as Dobbyn celebrates 30 years as a recording artist, comes Dave Dobbyn: The Songbook.

In this, the first compilation of his songs, Dobbyn shares the inspiration behind 39 of his most celebrated and best-loved titles including ‘Be Mine Tonight’, ‘Welcome Home’, ‘Slice of Heaven’ and the legendary ‘Loyal’.

This beautiful hardback anniversary edition also includes lyrics, personal photographs, piano scores and guitar chords.

Dave Dobbyn: The Songbook is an innovative and substantial book, and in its
dedication to the actual music, is a significant tribute to one of New Zealand’s national treasures.

About the author
Dave Dobbyn has amassed multi-platinum sales across seven studio albums, live projects and greatest hits. ‘Loyal’, his most celebrated song, was chosen by an online survey as NZ’s greatest song ever. Dave has won more awards for songwriting than any other New Zealander, including being honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award by APRA.

The release of this title has been timed to coincide with the release of his new album and DVD Beside You – 30 Years of Hits with Sony Music and a New Zealand tour scheduled for late November 2009
Backroads: Charting a poet’s life by Sam Hunt
Craig Potton Publishing RRP $49.99 160 pp, hardback, colour photographs throughout

The world of poems is very much a spoken one”

So says New Zealand’s best-known performance poet, Sam Hunt. Those of us who have had the great pleasure of hearing the lanky wordsmith recite his poems – on stage, radio, television or at a school – cannot forget that unmistakable voice larger-than-life persona.

In this first-to-be published memoir, the former altar boy, sometime
teacher and truck driver takes us down his backroads and introduces the
reader to the many characters he has had the pleasure to have known and
swapped words with.

In this beautifully produced volume, Sam writes of his inspiration, performing, touring, the creative process, drying up, publishing, small towns, Minstrel his beloved dog, and his poetic influences. Apart from the likes of W.B. Yeats, Pablo Neruda and Bob Dylan, Sam sings the praises and devotes space to the poetry of many of New Zealand’s finest poets.

Also included are personal insights into, and amusing anecdotes of, Alistair and Meg Campbell, Denis Glover, A.R.D. Fairburn, Robin Hyde and Hone Tuwhare. Sam makes it abundantly clear he has a particular soft spot for James K. Baxter and proudly reproduces the poems they answered each other with, plus the original copy of Baxter’s Letter to Sam Hunt, neatly typed in red ink. As well as other ephemera, Backroads is also illustrated with images taken from his personal photograph collection.

Sam ends with his musical outings, joining forces with Mammal, The Warratahs, David Kilgour and the thrill of opening for Leonard Cohen in his early 2009 New Zealand concerts. The Canadian veteran – who can take a full year to craft a song – praised Sam’s performance, saying: “That’s poetry.” What more can you say – that’s Sam Hunt.
I can see this one appearing in many a Christmas stocking on December 25!
Wild Encounters
A Forest & Bird Guide to Discovering New Zeala
nd’s Unique Wildlife
Penguin - $40.00

New Zealand is a land of unique wildlife and unspoiled scenic beauty.
From the rocky shore to dense rain-forests, from braided riverbeds to alpine meadows, this guide takes the reader on a journey of discovery. It is a guide to the flora and fauna of our amazing country.

As Helen Blair so correctly says in her introduction "we’re lucky in New Zealand, spoiled, in fact, when it comes to the sheer breadth of opportunities to experience wildlife and wild places. Where else could you encounter animals, evolved through millions of years of isolation, as unique and wonderful as the kiwi or the tuatara? Or tramp through unspoiled forest, hearing the melodic sounds of native birdsong in the canopy of forest giants above and the music of a rushing mountain stream below?"

Wild Encounters is a complete guide to more than twenty of the best nature experiences New Zealand has to offer. Each entry contains maps, travel details and what to see and do, all accompanied by beautiful photography. It contains all the information one needs to discover the wildlife in places as diverse as Great Barrier Island, Tongariro, Taiaroa Head, Mt.Richmond Forest Park, and Kaikoura.
I found the section dealing with Tawharanui (a comfortable 90 minutes drive north of Auckland) especially interesting, and encouraging too in terms of the increasing number and variety of sea and bird life.

About the author
Forest & Bird is New Zealand’s longest-serving conservation organisation, formed in 1923 in response to widespread extinction of native species and destruction of our native forests. Since it was formed, Forest & Bird has played an active role in preserving New Zealand’s environment and native species, and now has more than 30,000 members. The organisation has helped establish protection for a third of our country’s land in parks and reserves, put an end to logging of our native forests and aided in bringing species such as the kakapo and kokako back from the brink of extinction.
For more information, please go to:

New York Review of Books - Volume 56, Number 20 · December 17, 2009
Google and the New Digital Future
By Robert Darnton

November 9 is one of those strange dates haunted by history. On November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall fell, signaling the collapse of the Soviet empire. The Nazis organized Kristallnacht on November 9, 1938, beginning their all-out campaign against Jews. On November 9, 1923, Hitler's Beer Hall Putsch was crushed in Munich, and on November 9, 1918, Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated and Germany was declared a republic. The date especially hovers over the history of Germany, but it marks great events in other countries as well: the Meiji Restoration in Japan, November 9, 1867; Bonaparte's coup effectively ending the French Revolution, November 9, 1799; and the first sighting of land by the Pilgrims on the Mayflower, November 9, 1620.

On November 9, 2009, in the district court for the Southern District of New York, the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers were scheduled to file a settlement to resolve their suit against Google for alleged breach of copyright in its program to digitize millions of books from research libraries and to make them available, for a fee, online. Not comparable to the fall of the Berlin Wall, you might say. True, but for several months, all eyes in the world of books—authors, publishers, librarians, and a great many readers—were trained on the court and its judge, Denny Chin, because this seemingly small-scale squabble over copyright looked likely to determine the digital future for all of us.

Google has by now digitized some ten million books. On what terms will it make those texts available to readers? That is the question before Judge Chin. If he construes the case narrowly, according to precedents in class-action suits, he could conclude that none of the parties had been slighted. That decision would remove all obstacles to Google's attempt to transform its digitizing of texts into the largest library and book-selling business the world has ever known. If Judge Chin were to take a broad view of the case, the settlement could be modified in ways that would protect the public against potential abuses of Google's monopolistic power.
The ful pice at NYBooks

Richard Dawkins LIVE in Auckland

The Greatest Show on Earth Special offer for subscribers to the Auckland Writers & Readers Festival.

7.00pm to 8.30pm
Saturday 13 March 2010
Fisher & Paykel Appliances Auditorium, The University of Auckland Business School

We are pleased to offer you the opportunity to attend a lecture by one of Britain's foremost science writers, Richard Dawkins, in his only Auckland appearance. Ticket numbers are very limited so we encourage you to book now to avoid missing out.

About Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins will present evidence for his argument that evolution is an incontrovertible fact. In his new book The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution, the renowned evolutionary biologist and outspoken atheist takes on creationists, including followers of "intelligent design" and all those who question evolution through natural selection.

Richard Dawkins will be introduced by Brian Boyd, The University of Auckland's Distinguished Professor of English. He teaches a course in Literature and Science that includes Richard Dawkins's The Blind Watchmaker.
Early offer for subscribers to the Festival:
You have the opportunity to purchase up to two tickets to Richard Dawkins' only Auckland event before any remaining tickets are offered to the public. Tickets are on presale until Monday 30th November 2009 at $30 each plus booking/delivery fee.
To book for the Richard Dawkins LIVE! event

Go to to register your details with iTICKET
Go to and click on 'Buy Now'
Enter the password 'evolution' to access the event

Presented by The University of Auckland in association with Random House New Zealand and the Auckland Writers & Readers Festival.
An evening with Lauraine Jacobs Food Editor of Cuisine Magazine at Cook The Books

Tuesday 8 December from
6pm to 7.30pm.

Places are strictly limited for this event. Contact us now to book.
Ticket $10.00 - including food & drinks.
Photo of Lauraine Jacobs by Janet Hunt.

Thanks to our sponsors Green & Blacks and Villa Maria Wines - all ticket proceeds go to the NZ Breast Cancer Foundation. Who also receive all royalties from sales of A Treasury of New Zealand Baking.
Lauraine will share the wonderful tales behind the making of this newly released best seller.

She will also give personal insights into the life of the cooking star on everyone's lips, Julia Child, whom she personally knew.

Cook the Books
81 Ponsonby Road,
New Zealand
Phone: +64 9 360 6513

Monday to Friday – 10am to 6pm
Saturday and Sunday – 10am to 4pm
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Cell Phone Readers Learning What Japanese Have Known for Years
From E-Reads

It's taken a couple of years but it looks as if Americans are finally picking up on something the Japanese have been doing for years: reading books on cell phones. It may be a long time before it becomes the craze we wrote about last year - one Japanese publisher alone carries one million "keitai shoshetsu" titles and receives 3.5 billion visits in a single month. Sales of one or two million hardcover reprints of cellphone novels are far from uncommon.

Nevertheless, readers are discovering the pleasure of reading on mobile screens, however tiny (3.5 square inches) they may be. The New York Times's Motoko Rich and Brad Stone point out that many who don't own an e-reading device are happy flipping pages on their cell phone, at least for short trips like train and bus commutes. After that the eyes begin to tire. The iPhone is a little easier on the eyes at 6 square inches, but Kindle, Sony and Nook screens are many times bigger than that, and they are midgets compared to tablet screens. One such, Wacom's Intuos3 4x6, boasts a working area of over 228 square inches!

Tablets will inevitably become the professional and student reading device of choice, with screens capacious enough to read a full-size text- or picture book in open, double-page format. That said, for down-and-dirty reads, cells and smartphones will be a choice for those who don't want to lug a dedicated reading device around - or pay hundreds of dollars for one.

"Publishers are now rushing to develop new forms of books to cater to readers who will see them on smartphones — books that will not work on today’s stand-alone e-readers," the Times journalists write in Library in a Pocket.


Every Blogger owes a debt of gratitude to newspapers and magazines. This posting relies on original research and reporting performed by The New York Times.
Books of The Times
Limelight Lives, Burned by Booze

From left, John Springer Collection/Corbis; Alan Pappe/Corbis; Pictorial Press Ltd./Alamay; Getty Images
From left, Richard Burton, Richard Harris, Peter O’Toole and Oliver Reed. The boisterous drinking habits of the four actors are chronicled in the book “Hellraisers,” by Robert Sellers.

By JANET MASLIN, New York Times
Published: November 25, 2009

HELLRAISERS The Life and Inebriated Times of Richard Burton, Richard Harris, Peter O’Toole and Oliver Reed By Robert Sellers Illustrated. 286 pages. Thomas Dunne Books. $25.99.

Robert Sellers’s “Hellraisers” is completely unapologetic about its party-hearty premise. He has slapped together a string of outlandish stories about four of the British Isles’ most stylish drunken actors, and he doesn’t even pretend to have turned those stories into a coherent book. “Hellraisers” wants only to be a rowdy collection of greatest hits, and it lives up to that fun-loving ambition. It reels off riotous tales about Richard Burton, Richard Harris, Peter O’Toole and Oliver Reed without giving a moment’s thought to what those tales might mean.

“Enjoy it; they bloody well did,” Mr. Sellers tells his readers at the book’s start. And then off he goes, digging up the wild, headline-making antics of his book’s four principals. Since each of them behaved like a tabloid reporter’s dream and did his best carousing in public, Mr. Sellers has plenty of fine one-liners to replay and bouts of mad excess to describe. How accurate are these stories? That can’t be a serious question. On the occasion when Mr. Reed is said to have drunk 126 pints of beer in 24 hours, it’s highly unlikely that anyone really bothered to keep the numbers straight.

And for this book the truth doesn’t really matter. Even for actors, its four subjects were uncommonly theatrical and loved telling merrily exaggerated stories about themselves. “I did quite enjoy the days when one went for a beer at one’s local in Paris and work up in Corsica,” Mr. O’Toole once quipped, though he doesn’t seem to have said this or anything else to Mr. Sellers. Ditto for the other three hellraisers, who were not available for comment, having all fallen into sad states of decline and developed the true physiognomies of Dorian Gray before they died of alcohol-induced or alcohol-accelerated problems.
Maslin's full review at NYT.

Since posting the above review from the NYT Newmarket, Auckland Bookseller Diva, Doris Mousdale, has pointed out to met the companion volume by the same author, Bad Boy Drive: The Wild Life and Fast Times of Marlon Brando, Dennis Hopper, Warren Beatty and Jack Nicholson.
Here for your interest is the Sunday Times review of that title by Ed Caesar May 24, 2009
Stephen King plots The Shining sequel
Horror writer Stephen King has revealed that a sequel to The Shining would focus on a 40-year-old Danny Torrance
Alison Flood,, Wednesday 25 November 2009

Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance in the film adaptation of Stephen King's The Shining. Photograph: Ronald Grant

Jack Torrance's little boy Danny was last seen recuperating in Maine after escaping the insane evil of the Overlook Hotel, but Stephen King is now plotting a sequel to The Shining which would age the clairvoyant boy to 40 and transport him to a New York hospice.
Speaking to an audience of fans in Toronto about his new novel Under the Dome, King divulged that he'd begun working on a tentative idea for a follow-up to The Shining – first published in 1977 – last summer.
Danny, he said, was certain to have been left "with a lifetime's worth of emotional scars" after his experiences at the Overlook, where his father was possessed by the hotel, tried to kill him and his mother and eventually died.

How Danny deals with both his nightmarish experiences and the clairvoyance, or "shining", which saved him, might make "a damn fine sequel", King said, according to local Toronto news website the Torontoist. His vision of the book – tentatively called Doctor Sleep - sees Danny now aged 40, working at a hospice for the terminally ill in upstate New York. He is apparently an orderly at the hospice, but his real work is to help make death a little easier for the dying patients with his psychic powers – while making a little money on the side by betting on the horses.

King attempted to calm expectations about the sequel, telling the Toronto audience that he wasn't "completely committed" to it, and adding: "Maybe if I keep talking about it I won't have to write it." The Shining was made into a film in 1980 by Stanley Kubrick, starring Jack Nicholson as Danny's father Jack Torrance and Shelley Duvall as his mother Wendy.

King also revealed this month that he has an idea for a new book in his epic Dark Tower fantasy series, which follows the adventures of the gunslinger Roland based on Robert Browning's poem "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came". The working title for the eighth book in the series, King announced on his website, would be The Wind Through the Keyhole, but he added that he hadn't yet begun writing it and it would be "a minimum of eight months" before he did.