Monday, May 31, 2010

Lightning Strikes: Sucked Out
By John Parker
- Walker Books

·    Sucked Out
is the second title in the Lightning Strikes series by John Parker. Revisiting our favourite characters we meet in Sucked In, this title can also be read as a stand alone story

·    Scattered throughout each story are a variety of informal text types such as emails, web pages, posters, ads, notes, articles, diagrams etc to help break up the text and to add to the contemporary design. The design includes funky chapter heads, wide leading, generous type and plenty of white space

·    Short, fast-paced novels, laced with a good dose of humour and which make few demands on the reader. Aiming at 9- 14 year old age group - especially those who haven’t yet been "struck" by the reading bug. Similar readership to Penguin’s "Aussie Chomp" series, but with a more graphic and funky approach, to try to appeal to a wider audience

About the author
John Parker is a children's writer who also writes for adults as a journalist and radio scriptwriter. Born in Christchurch, he graduated from the University of Auckland with an MA in history before leaving New Zealand to travel around England and Europe as a professional opera singer. John has published over one hundred fiction and non-fiction books for children including picture books, junior readers, chapter books, non-fiction and novels for early teens. Sucked Out is John’s second title in the Lightning Strikes series after the successful release of Sucked In in 2008.

Walker Books Australia
Release Date: June 1, 2010
Aust$12.95 - NZ$14.99
Weaving, Painting, Carving and Architecture
By Julie Paama-Pengelly

New Holland - NZ$39.99

‘Māori Art and Design
’ is apparently the first book to present a comprehensive art language for Māori visual culture. It traces the evolution of historic Māori art and design, across the full range of disciplines: weaving, painting, carving and architecture. Julie Paama-Pengelly has produced a valuable resource to interpret historic Maori art, now being recognised as a dynamic and credible mainstream visual culture, integral to both New Zealand and the international art scene.
In ‘Māori Art and Design,’ eminent Māori author, Julie Paama-Pengelly, writes about the importance of seeing this art and design through a Māori cultural heritage, rather than a Western viewpoint. According to Julie, ‘Māori did not separate art from other aspects of culture; art was central to all activities and all objects.’ 

Māori used art and design to communicate ideas, knowledge and values. For example, the patterns on a carved prow of a war canoe imbued the object with greater significance. The Mataora tradition of the art of tā moko (or tattooing) was to affirm a whakapapa or genealogical link between the Māori and their gods, as well as telling stories of origin.

Through clear illustrations, contemporary and historic photographs and charts, the book interprets the cultural and spiritual meanings in Māori art. Readers can identify common motifs that distinguish these designs, such as koru, tiki and mokomoko.

I am sure this profusely and beautifully illustrated and accessible new book will quickly become a significant resource and is certain to be used for years to come, allowing art lovers and students to reference contemporary Maori art and design. 

Chapters focus on four major disciplines:
• Weaving: includes tukutuku, kitemaking, basketry, netting and clothing
• Paintings: includes rock drawing and painting wooden objects
• Architecture: includes villages, storage and meeting houses, burial structures and bone containers.
• Carving: includes stone, bone, wood carving and patterning

Julie Paama-Pengelly is of Ngai Te Rangi (Bay of Plenty) descent and is an artist, writer and educator of contemporary Māori arts. She holds a Masters of Development Studies, a Masters (Honours) in Māori Visual Arts, and is writing her PhD on tā moko through Massey University. Julie lives with her family in Ohope, Bay of Plenty.

Foreword by Professor Robert Jahnke, Chair and Head of Te Pūtahi a Toi at Massey University.

My congratulations to the author and the publishers on a meticulously researched, beautifully illustrated and appealingly presented book, a taonga no less.
New translation brings ill-fated expedition to life

The dramatic account of a 19th century expedition across New Zealand’s Southern Alps has, for the first time, been accurately translated into English.

Pushing His Luck: Report of the Expedition and Death of Henry Whitcombe
, by Jakob Lauper, published by Canterbury University Press, is the work of Wellingtonian Hilary Low and features her translation of a report, written in German, of an official but ill-fated 1863 expedition to search for a mountain pass suitable for a new route through the South Island’s Southern Alps.

The report was written by Swiss goldminer Jakob Lauper who was hired to accompany the expedition leader, Canterbury's road surveyor Henry Whitcombe. The expedition was prompted by local political and business leaders keen to link Christchurch directly with the West Coast, knowing that a gold rush was imminent.

Ms Low said once in the mountains, near the source of the Rakaia River, Whitcombe found a pass (later named after him) and, against instructions, decided to cross it to the West Coast. The journey turned to disaster. Dogged by bad weather and half-starved, Whitcombe and Lauper struggled through rugged uncharted country to the Coast where Whitcombe drowned trying to cross the swollen Taramakau River.

Lauper survived the ordeal and, on his return to Christchurch, wrote a report for the provincial government on the expedition and Whitcombe's death. It was quickly translated into English and published for the first time in July 1863.

Ms Low said this 1863 translation has been the only one available to subsequent writers in their retelling of the expedition’s story, most recently in the book Over the Whitcombe Pass (1960), edited by John Pascoe. However, prompted by a footnote in Pascoe’s book, she found that the original translation was riddled with errors and omissions, some significant.

“As he edited the report for publication Pascoe had trouble plotting Whitcombe’s route into the Alps, territory he knew well. Pascoe was forced to admit he could make no sense of Lauper’s description of the journey and commented in a footnote ‘This entry is puzzling’”.

This discovery spurred Ms Low to re-translate Lauper’s original hand-written manuscript and, as a result, she said Pushing His Luck provides a more accurate English translation of his account and more faithfully reflects the flavour of his writing.

“Pushing His Luck also offers Lauper’s report in a broader and more thoroughly researched historical setting; it presents biographies of both Whitcombe and Lauper for the first time, and explains how two great men of literature, Samuel Butler and Jules Verne, are associated with this story.”

Pushing His Luck
was launched in the Canterbury Provincial Council Building in Christchurch yesterday, 30 May.

Pushing His Luck: Report of the Expedition and Death of Henry Whitcombe, by Jakob Lauper, a new translation and commentary by Hilary Low, published by Canterbury University Press, May 2010, RRP$40, paperback, 144pp, ISBN 978-1-877257-88-9
Sean Haldane: 'I now think poetry has more capacity to change people than psychotherapy'
Sean Haldane, a nominee for the post of professor of poetry at Oxford, talks about his dual life as a poet and neuroscientist
 Tim Adams in The Observer, Sunday 30 May 2010
Sean Haldane, poet and clinical neuropsychologist, photographed in east London. Photograph: Karen Robinson for the Observer

Sean Haldane is a poet and consultant clinical neuropsychologist working with the NHS in east London. His collected poems Always Two, were published last year. He is a nominee for the post of professor of poetry at Oxford University.

Would it be fair to say you lead a double life, as a poet and neuroscientist?
Well, I've been working in psychology and neuropsychology for 30 or 40 years. I decided ages ago that if I were a poet, I didn't want to make a career of it. So I had to make a living another way. I tried farming, I tried living off the land in Canada. I tried publishing, and then I gravitated toward psychology and neuropsychology.

Your poetry has seemed to come quite sporadically: in the introduction to Always Two, you talk about waiting for poetry to overtake you. That makes it sound like an involuntary act?
I think that's right. It is as if you have a voice in your head speaking poems. If that sounds mystical, then I know enough of neuroscience to make it less so. The brain's right hemisphere, for example, "talks" under certain circumstances to the left hemisphere. That can feel like an alien voice, or that something new is happening in the mind that is coming from somewhere else. I wouldn't want to make a mystery of poetry, but I have never felt it has been in my control.

What does your professional life involve?
As I am getting older and somewhat senior in the NHS, I do about half clinical work, mostly assessing diseases of memory, dementia, some acquired brain conditions in younger people. Then the rest of the time I am involved in the provision of memory clinics across east London.

You were born in Sussex but grew up in Belfast?

Yes my father had been a major in the army during the war and when that finished he took us back to live in Northern Ireland, where he was from. Belfast then was like living all the time on top of a bomb that was about to go off. I had an English accent, but an Irish name, so both sides tended to give me a rough time to begin with.

You lived a long time in the States and Canada, what brought you back?
I got sort of stuck in Canada, my wife is French Canadian, we had two daughters there, and I had a daughter from a previous relationship, so we stayed. We lived there for 25 years, but after about 15 I was ready to come back, I was homesick, but for England rather than Ireland.

The full interview at The Observer.
Copyright Watchdog Appoints New Chief

New Zealand’s print copyright protection agency, Copyright Licensing Ltd (CLL) announces Paula Browning as its new Chief Executive Officer. Paula will take up the position on 14 June 2010.

Confirming the appointment, CLL's Chairman, Chris Else said he was delighted.
’Paula has held senior roles in the commercial, education and sport sectors that have included strategic communications, contract management, community engagement, finance and advocacy.
‘I am very confident that Paula's mix of skills and experience will make a strong contribution to CLL’s success both in its current role and in new direction

Paula is currently the Business Manager at Sport Auckland where she has recently led the establishment of the Auckland Sports Reference Group and worked with the Auckland Transition Agency in the development of the new Auckland local government structure.

Paula takes over the role from Kathy Moore who has moved on after 15 years at CLL.

The CLL Board and Staff are looking forward to working with Paula as the organisation moves to embrace the opportunities offered by the new digital age.

Copyright Licensing Ltd is a non-profit copyright collective, looking after the interests of publishers and authors in New Zealand. CLL is part of a global network of copyright collectives that provide centralised licensing services for the reproduction of extracts from published works.
I’m Published…..Well Kind Of!
May 31, 2010
by mandythebookworm

A little while back I read and reviewed The Life in the Wood with Joni-Pip and also interviewed the author Carrie King. I have loved working with Carrie and also Martyn from Bothy Books, they have both been so fabulous.

Well guess what……a revised edition of The Life in the Wood with Joni-Pip has started to circulate and on the back cover there I am!

Earlier in the week I received a hardback copy of the new edition – I did not know it was coming, the lovely Bothy Books team just sent me out a copy. I was quite surprised and over-the-top happy!

A big big thank you to Carrie and Martyn and to all of the team at Bothy Books a) for making this a wonderful experience, b) for inviting me into the life of Joni-Pip and c) for including me on the back cover and sending me a hardback copy – thank you ever so much! This book will definitely be kept and take pride of place on my bookshelf.
Hearts & Minds
By Amanda Craig
Little Brown, $27.99

Reviewed by Nicky Pellegrino

A vivid portrait of a time and a place, I can see exactly why UK author Amanda Craig’s sixth novel was longlisted for the 2010 Orange Prize (sadly it didn’t make the cut to the shortlist).

The story is set in pre-credit crunch London and opens with the body of a young woman being dumped in the Hampstead Heath Ponds. While not strictly fitting into the crime genre, the girl’s identity, why she died and the lives of those she knew form the backbone of the novel.
What Caig pulls off is clever and risky. She moves from one apparently disparate character to another, chronicling their hopes, tragedies and frustrations and slowly revealing their connections until finally showing the skein that holds them all together.
Polly is a human rights lawyer and single mum, struggling to balance kids with work and wondering why her au pair has suddenly disappeared. Ian is a young teacher, a South African expat, dispirited by his job in a low decile school, wary of being trapped into marriage by his girlfriend and in London to make an important connection. Job is a Zimbabwean refugee working every hour he can to send the money home to his family, despairing of whether they are safe. Anna is young, pretty and from the Ukraine but her promise of a new life in London turns out to be a lie and she is forced into prostitution. Katie is American, suffering from a broken heart and working on an eccentric artsy political magazine.
Craig layers on the details of these character’s lives, using them to hammer home what she has to say about a variety of social issues while somehow managing not to drag down the pace of the narrative. Her writing is witty when it could easily be didactic, satirical rather than spiteful.
I’ve read several other fictions based on the stories of London’s unwanted – and yet much needed – sub-class of migrants but this one holds its own. The fact Craig suffered a life-threatening illness and multiple surgeries during the writing of it makes the achievement all the more remarkable.

While Hearts And Minds links with two of her previous novels, its not a sequel and can be read independently. I’d recommend it because it’s one of those rare novels with scope and intelligence that keeps you turning the pages as avidly as if it were a more conventional crime novel.

Nicky Pellegrino,  a succcesful author of popular fiction, (her former title The Italian Wedding was published in May 2009 while her latest, Recipe for Life was published by Orion in April, 2010), is also the Books Editor of the Herald on Sunday where the above piece was first published on 30 May. 

The following Booklover piece also appeared in yesterday's Herald on Sunday.


Debbie Mayo-Smith is a motivational speaker and bestselling author of books including recent release Make Your Database Your Goldmine (Penguin, $40.00)

The book I love most is... An old one called The Power Of Your Subconscious Mind by Dr Joseph Murphy. It's all about positive thinking. I used it with my second pregnancy. I said to myself, right we're going to have twins, a boy and a girl. And that's exactly what happened. With my third pregnancy I was too busy to do my positive thinking and ended up with triplets.

The book I'm reading right now is...
I normally read crime novels as that's the genre I love. Give me a Reginald Hill, the Kellermans, Ian Rankin or Patricia Cornwell any day. However when in Australia a few weeks ago I saw the movie The Green Zone (with Matt Damon) and then was stuck in an airport for an extra two hours so bought the second in the  Bourne Trilogy by Eric Van Lustbader. It was poorly written but visions of Matt kept me zipping  through the 969 pages.

The book that changed me is...The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs by Carmine Gallo. Steve Jobs is a master at presentations and this book dissected this, showing the techniques he uses. It brought out a couple of points that I use in my presentations and writing now such as coming up with good analogies and metaphors (his famous one is the iPod is like having a thousand songs in your pocket).

The book I wish I'd never read is....That Dawn French autobiography, Dear Fatty. I had such high expectations about it being funny. But it wasn't even interesting. I gave it away after trying to persevere through the first 100 pages.

Pt Chevalier School
$2 Book Sale
Saturday 12th June 10-3pm
School auditorium, Te Ra Rd, off Pt Chevalier Rd, Auckland-see map below

Early Bird night Friday 11th June 7pm-9.30pm
(entry fee $10 cash/adult at the door.Kids free.Door prizes)


New/bestseller books priced separately.
Cash and eftpos only.
KOBO eReader

Whitcoulls new eBook Reader was launched with great fanfare last week but the Sunday Star Times Fine Print column yesterday wondered why it  is  selling here for NZ$295 when in Australia it can be bought for A$199? Are we subsidising our richer Aussie eBook reading cousins?
Reacher's Minimalist Roost
Crime writer Lee Child creates a home that his fictional hero might approve of

Below -Lee Child with some of his usually hidden books. Photo by Harry Zernike for The Wall Street Journal

Best-selling crime writer Lee Child admits to fantasizing about a life like that of the hero of his books, Jack Reacher, a possession-free maverick who travels from place to place and has no permanent address.

So if a button falls off his shirt, Mr. Child casts the shirt in the garbage, as he doesn't want to store a sewing kit. He doesn't cook, so he sees no need for pots, pans or ingredients. Mr. Child did draw the line at homelessness. "In principle if I could not have a home I wouldn't. But not having a home would be too difficult procedurally, going from hotel to hotel, the gap of three hours where you're hungry and tired," explained the 55-year-old author, whose series of Reacher thrillers has sold about 40 million copies.

So instead Mr. Child lives in a two-room apartment in the Flatiron district that's architecturally stark, wrapped in white and bereft of rugs, curtains, side tables or accessories. The entire left-hand wall—stretching from the white Corian kitchen counter along the living space and to the windows that open to a small balcony—is a plane of glossy white laminate cabinetry. Inside the cabinets are some 3,000 books, as Mr. Child believes books make a room visually chaotic and that displaying them is pretentious. The books are shelved randomly; Mr. Child said his photographic memory allows him to know exactly where each one sits.

The only furniture in the living area are two black Walter Knoll leather sofas where Mr. Child is often horizontal, thinking up plot twists or watching MSNBC and baseball on his Bang & Olufsen flat-screen. The source for color: A large Tom Christopher painting of a New York street scene looking down Fifth Avenue. The red traffic light in the painting is echoed by a red ashtray on the small balcony outside, where the view up Fifth includes Madison Square Park, the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building and the Metropolitan Life clock tower.

"Every time I go there I want to come back and clean my apartment," says fellow crime writer Alafair Burke, a friend who lives a few blocks away. She says Mr. Child always laughs at things she has around her house, asking what she needs stuff for.

According to his brother, Andrew Grant, also a writer, Mr. Child (born Jim Grant) wasn't always neat: His room often had record sleeves, jeans and shirts strewn everywhere. But the New York apartment more reflects the way Mr. Child grabs onto an idea and pushes it as far as he can. "Everything he does, he does to the extreme," Mr. Grant says. "He's always had that side to him."

Extreme minimalism is easier for a fictional vagabond. Maintaining a nearly possession-less apartment has required more resources and effort.

Mr. Child bought the 990-square-foot apartment in this doorman building for $1.5 million in 2005. It then took 2½ years, $800,000 and interviews with 12 architects to satisfy his need for precision. "It's very hard to make nothing look like something," says Scott Ageloff of Ageloff & Associates, who ended up with the job. Mr. Ageloff adds that Mr. Child wanted something easy to maintain because he never thinks housekeepers do a good-enough job. (A smaller apartment in the same building is for sale for $819,000.)

For the full story including a slide show visit the WSJ.
Big names for Byron Bay Writers Festival
Rosemary Sorensen From: The Australian , May 29, 2010

JENI Caffin is going out on a high at the Byron Bay Writers Festival, which takes place from August 6-8.
The festival director has announced that not only will it have Fatima Bhutto there to talk about the devastating story of Pakistan's ruling family, but also the not-so-enfant terrible, Bret Easton Ellis, following the release of his new book, Imperial Bedrooms.

IT would be really good if those who ran awards could be bolder when things go off the rails, which is easy to say, I know, when you are not the subject of either public or governmental scrutiny at such moments. If you read it for nothing else (and there is much more to enjoy), Ian McEwan's delirious chapters in Solar remind us how being the scandal-du-jour must feel like being in a vicious, erratic, swift-moving hurricane.

When feisty publisher Matthew Richardson took on the judges of the Northern Territory Chief Minister's History Award, he had an important point to make: told that Halstead Press's Wild Cattle, Wild Country by Anne Marie Ingham and four out of the other five books entered were not eligible because they were based on oral, not archival, history, he pointed out how that "disparaged everyone whose experiences won't be counted as history just because they didn't generate written records". Nowhere is this a more valid point than in the NT. Peter Grose's An Awkward Truth, about the bombing of Darwin in 1942, was eventually

awarded the prize, but it would be good to see the challenge made by Richardson taken up by the NT State Library and perhaps the criteria modified (or clarified) before next year's award.

More Queensland book news at The Australian.
Booker day in Sydney
Sydney Morning Herald

RICK Gekoski, bookseller, collector, broadcaster and writer, was talking at the Sydney Writers’ Festival last weekend about his time as a Booker Prize judge. Gekoski is the man who championed one of the more controversial Booker picks, John Banville’s The Sea, in 2005.
Many commentators lambasted the judges, notably Boyd Tokin, literary editor of The Independent, who called it ‘‘the most perverse, and perhaps the most indefensible choice in the 36-year history of the contest’’ and said Banville’s prose ‘‘exhibits all the chilly perfection of a waxwork model’’ and The Sea was ‘‘an icy and over-controlled exercise in coterie aestheticism’’.

Gekoski doesn’t resile from his view that The Sea is a great work of art. An the Booker people don’t mind him: he is chairing the panel of judges for the 2011 Man Booker International prize on which he will be joined by the London-based Australian publisher Carmen Callil and novelist Justin Cartwright.
The £60,000 ($A105,000) prize is given for a body of work. Gekoski will be at the Sydney Writers’ Festival next year to announce the winner.

Gekoski was a stand-out performer at the Auckland Writers & Readers Festival the week before Sydney so I hope organisers have noted his presence at next year's Sydney Festival and invited him to return to New Zealand while in the neighbourhood?
Bill Bryson - Local stories for global people
Bill Bryson has caught the spirit of our stay-at-home times with a grand tour of his own house.

Boyd Tonkin surveys his domestic epic and finds trouble brewing in the literary neighbourhood
in The Independent

                                           About the house and around the world: Bill Bryson

The Icelandic volcano may lie almost dormant, but airline strikes persist. Add to these disincentives a national mood of austerity and a growing reluctance on green principles to travel far or often. Every factor falls into place for a revived willingness to cultivate and celebrate our own backyards. Travel literature, once so eager to scour the planet for obscurely exotic nooks, now embraces a stay-at-home culture we might dub the New Local. Prophetically, Alain de Botton last year published his drolly enlightening essay about terminal existence inside Heathrow, A Week at the Airport.

At this week's Ondaatje Prize award for the best book on the "literature of place", at least three shortlisted titles backed up a trend towards travel – or anti-travel - writing that digs down into familiar soil: Madeleine Bunting's The Plot, about her father's beloved acre of Yorkshire, William Fiennes's The Music Room, which evokes a (somewhat grand) house and the family life that unfolded within it, and Iain Sinclair's deliriously erudite tour of his east London manor, Hackney, That Rose-Red Empire. If the prize did eventually go to Ian Thomson's anti-romantic Jamaican travelogue, The Dead Yard, bear in mind that it focuses on reverse-migrants who returned to the island from Britain. This, too, is a book about home and what it means.

At the Ondaatje ceremony, Adam Nicolson – who won last year for his sumptuous exploration of his own fabled family plot, Sissinghurst – spoke of the value of writing that aims to tell the story of "everything that has ever happened" on one spot. Bill Bryson's "home" may be less splendid than Sissinghurst. Still, it acts as the focus for a wide-angled tour of domesticity in Britain which proves that the whole wide world may impinge on our everyday routine. His new book, At Home: a short history of private life (Doubleday, £20), delivers a great whiffy chunk of the New Local, a load of homespun history as compelling – and sometimes alarming - as the arrival of a truckload of farmhouse cheese or organic compost. If in the "literature of place", staying put is the new going out, here is its Tristram Shandy or its Moby-Dick – a book appearing in the very year, 1851, that saw Bryson's Norfolk parsonage rise amid the quiet fields to accommodate a well-to-do young bachelor clergyman, Thomas Marsham.

Bryson's much-loved travel books have led satisfied readers on genial rides around Australia and Appalachia. Remember, though, that his career-defining works excelled at the now-standard New Local manoeuvre of an angled, offbeat route down humdrum or well-trodden paths: his adopted Britain in Notes from a Small Island, or the small-town America of The Lost Continent.

In At Home, Bryson strolls from room in room through his own ample rectory. From scullery to attic, with excursions into the fuse-box, down the garden and up the stairs, as well as stays in bedroom, bathroom and kitchen, he shows at digressive length how a 19th-century English middle-class house can in its layout and amenities enshrine a global past. Bryson views his home, any home, as the place where "history ends up".

Boyd Tonkin's full piece at The Independent.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Censor and the Censored, Linked by Literature
By Alan Cowell
Published, New York Times:
 May 28, 2010

Left, above -J. M.Coetzee unknowingly had tea with one of his censors -
Tiziana Fabi/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

When Big Brother regimes crumble, they sometimes leave an unintended paper trail, a pathway into the dark tradecraft of oppression.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, for just one example, many Germans discovered from files kept on them that children or spouses had spied on them for the Stasi secret police. And in Romania, Doru Pavaloiae, an economist, learned that a man he thought of as a friend, a popular singer in his hometown, was an informer — code name: Minstrel — for the feared Securitate.

Such epiphanies would scarcely be possible if repressive regimes were not seized with an obsession to accumulate raw data on their citizens — the bytes of betrayal, the grist of control.

Hence, the snoopers’ reports on whom people meet with, talk to, sleep with — on how their hearts beat and their minds roam. At the International Tracing Service in Bad Arolsen, Germany, files left behind by the Nazis at 51 concentration camps and prisons fill almost 50 million pages, documenting the minutiae of terror.

But sometimes, depending on the country, the story is more nuanced — not genocide or crude repression but a more subtle chronicle, the fine shadings of control.

So it was for the South African-born writer and Nobel laureate J. M. Coetzee, as an audience at the American University in Paris learned recently when he spoke of his experiences to students, faculty members and at least one American icon — the poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, 91, who was also, coincidentally, visiting Paris.

“Until I was 50 years old my books could be read by my fellow South Africans only after they had been approved by a committee of censors,” Mr. Coetzee, 70, told his listeners. But it was only around 2008 that an academic researcher offered to show him files he had unearthed relating to three of the author’s works from the 1970s and early 1980s.

In those years, apartheid pervaded the land, prescribing where people lived and worked, where they were born and buried, how they traveled, whom they loved: a law called the Immorality Act made miscegenation a crime. Yet one file, concerning Mr. Coetzee’s “In the Heart of the Country” (1977), seemed to find a way of bypassing those pseudo-moral strictures, noting that “although sex across the color line is described,” the book “will be read and enjoyed only by intellectuals.”

In “Waiting for the Barbarians” (1980), another censor concluded, 22 instances of writing might be found undesirable, but the book’s sexual content was “not lust-provoking.” And “Life and Times of Michael K.” (1983), a third censor opined, “contains derogatory references to and comments on the attitudes of the state, also to the police and the methods they employ in the carrying out of their duties.”
Invariably, the censors ruled against suppression. 

Full story at NYT.
NZ MasterChef cooks up new book
By Rebecca Lewis
Herald on Sunday, Sunday May 30, 2010 

Right - Brett McGregor. Photo / Herald on Sunday

He was crowned New Zealand's first MasterChef - and went back to teaching. But Brett McGregor has left the classroom, at least for a while.The dedicated deputy principal of Christchurch's Branston Intermediate has taken a leave of absence while he completes his first cookbook.
This week at school is his last for a month. During that period he will test new recipes on his wife and son, before heading to Auckland to kickstart the book's production.
The book deal was part of his prize package after he beat Aucklander Kelly Young in the final.

Although McGregor emphasises he is not planning to leave his teaching job permanently, he can't deny the top-rating TVOne show has given him a taste for more of the culinary world. "I'm trying to do as many things as I can.
"A couple of opportunities have come up, but they're not that real or concrete yet.
"I went into it wanting a TV show and nothing has changed so far."

McGregor says his cookbook will feature dishes from Spain, Morocco and Asia and show "how travelling can influence your culinary world at home".

Between cooking at home and working on his book, he will visit top Christchurch chef Johnny Schwass for cooking lessons.
Full story at HOS.

Brett's  cookbook will be published by Random House NZ; likely pub date, April 2011. The Bookman is most interested in this project and will keep you posted as news becomes available, title/definite pub date etc.
Brett and runner up Masterchef NZ Kelly Young were recently st the Wellington Food Show where top food writer Lauraine Jacobs hosted them on stage at their first live demonstration together.
Pic below shows the three of them at the Wellington Food Show and yuouy can read more abpout this event on Lauraine's own excellent website.

From Times Online
May 29, 2010

At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson
Every room tells a story as our favourite raconteur explores the secrets of domestic life throughout history

Beds were, for millennia, uncomfortable, rustlingly noisy, scratchy things. They were smelly havens for bedbugs, fleas, moths and even mice and rats. They were hard work; changing the bedclothes meant plucking some geese, which puts wrestling with a duvet cover into perspective.

Here I am, then, writing this in a lovely, comfortable 21st-century bed, laptop perched on knees and Bill Bryson’s odd, enchanting book At Home: A Short History of Private Life sitting next to me on a synthetic-fibre laundered plump pillow, and not a goose in sight. What luck to be alive now, what joy to live in a warm and welcoming home. As Bryson says: “If you had to summarise it in a sentence, you could say that the history of private life is a history of getting comfortable slowly.”
There was a time before sofas, before beds, before bathrooms. A time when our skin crawled with bugs, our clothes were stiff with dirt and our faeces threatened to overwhelm us. Life was dark, lit only by guttering candles. An Englishman’s home may always have been his castle, but it was a rotten, uncomfortable castle for most of recorded history.
The idea of At Home is deceptively simple: starting with his own house, a former rectory in Norfolk, Bryson takes us on a tour of private life through the ages. It’s a book about reinterpreting the ordinary, and finding the extraordinary in the humdrum business of living. The idea started with Bryson asking questions about his house, such as, why salt and pepper on the table? Why not salt and cinnamon? What does room and board actually mean?
Full story at The Times.
Questions that authors are never asked

As the Hay festival kicks off, with world-class authors being interviewed on stage all week, we invited writers to follow the example of Nadine Gordimer – one of the star billings this year – and ask themselves questions journalists never ask . . .
The Guardian, Saturday 29 May 2010

William Boyd

 Are the names of the characters in your novels important?
Extremely. I spend inordinate amounts of time trying to get the names "right" – even for the most minor walk-on characters. If you christen a character correctly, he or she, I believe, already starts to live on the page. You don't have to go the whole Dickensian-Vonneguttian hog, but a little unusualness about the right name works wonders. Characters called perfectly nice and normal names like "Martin Foster" or "Sally Thomas" will always struggle a bit to claim your attention.

What about the titles of your novels?
I couldn't publish a novel if I wasn't happy about the title. The title is a kind of benediction on the whole enterprise. To send a book out into the world with a title I wasn't happy with seems inconceivable to me. Sometimes the right title comes almost immediately; sometimes you're still sweating at it as the 11th hour comes and goes. It's a vitally important omen – for me, the novelist. I don't think it matters particularly to the reader.

Are there any occupational hazards to being a novelist?
Many, I'm sure. In my case I think being a novelist prevented me from ever learning to drive – natural indolence coupled with an absence of need. I also have a sneaking suspicion that eczema is the novelist's disease – or some kind of similar skin problem. Any suggestions, Dr Freud? Also there is the career-long advantage/disadvantage that you don't have to worry about waking up with a hangover.

Read what 14 other prominent authors have to say at The Guardian online.
Author Offended by Palin Description
The Daily Beast

This can’t be a good situation for the Alaskan Emily Post, if there is one: Author Joe McGinniss said he would have “happily accepted a cookie” should his new Wasilla neighbors, the Palins, offer one. The author, who has been critical of the Palins and is rumored to be working on a book about them, said Todd Palin visited the house and became “increasingly hostile.”

Then the former governor posted a picture of McGinniss on her Facebook page, and radio host Mark Levin gave out the author’s email address, which caused his inbox to be flooded with 5,000 messages in four hours, effectively shutting down the account. Palin said McGinniss could easily spy on “Piper’s bedroom” and watch the family swimming, but McGinniss took offense, saying he has “my own kids and grandkids to worry about.”

Read it at The Washington Post

Saturday, May 29, 2010


To mark the launch of their eBooks store and the Kobo eBooks reader Whitcoulls has unveiled a grand and striking hanging installation at Auckland's Britomart Transport Centre. Approximately the same height as a two-story building the Novel Chandelier is made up of 1000 books representing the number of titles the Kobo eReader can hold.

I was impressed although my photo does not really do it justice.
Do have a look if you are in Auckland's Downtowm area. It will be there until the evening of 3 June.

As a matter of interest I gather that Whitcoulls has grossly underestimated demand for the Kobo selling out on the second day they were on sale. More in 7 -10 days.
iPad-mania as thousands queue for global roll-out
Carole Landry  - Sydney Morning Herald
May 29, 2010 -

Thousands of die-hard Apple fans mobbed shops worldwide on Friday as the iPad, called a revolution in personal computing by some and limited and overhyped by others, began its global launch.
Long queues of customers snaked outside Apple shops in Australia and Japan hours before the opening and similar huddled masses turned out at stores in six European countries, including Britain and France.

The iPad -- a flat, 10-inch (25-centimetre) black tablet -- also went on sale in Canada as part of a global roll-out that was pushed back by a month due to huge demand in the United States.
One million iPads were sold in 28 days in the United States after the product's debut in early April despite mixed reviews from consumers.
Full report here.
BEA 2010 Finale: Digital and Print Learn to Co-exist, Russia is Focus for 2012
By Edward Nawotka

If one were to summarize what could be learned from BEA 2010, it might be this: Digital and print are learning to co-exist. Read our final reflection and thoughts from the fair.

Read the article ...
Duchess of Cornwall to present Orange prize
27.05.10 | Benedicte Page in The Bookseller

The Duchess of Cornwall is to present the 2010 Orange Prize for Fiction at the award ceremony on Wednesday 9th June. Special security arrangements are in place for the event, to be held at the Royal Festival Hall at the Southbank Centre in London.

The Orange Prize said the Duchess's participation marked the 15th anniversary of the award. The Duchess also recently invited the Orange Prize youth panel of six teenagers to Clarence House.

Rosie Alison, Barbara Kingsolver, Attica Locke, Hilary Mantel, Lorrie Moore and Monique Roffey are all shortlisted for the £30,000 award.
Dolman Travel Book Of The Year Short List
 28 May 2010

The 2010 Short List for the Dolman Travel Book of the Year was announced today at a press lunch at the Authors' Club. With a record number of over 70 submitted titles published in 2009, it has been a particularly strong year for travel literature.

The 2010 official short listed titles (in alphabetical order) are:

Along the Enchanted Way by William Blacker (John Murray)
A Single Swallow by Horatio Clare (Chatto & Windus)
Eleven Minutes Late by Mathew Engel (Macmillan)
Lost and Found in Russia by Susan Richards (I B Tauris & Co)
Out of Steppe by Daniel Metcalfe (Hutchinson)
Tequila Oil: Getting Lost in Mexico by Hugh Thomson (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
The Dead Yard by Ian Thomson (Faber) 

An event to celebrate the short list will take place at Daunt Books flagship store, the original Edwardian bookshop on Marylebone High Street.
As part of their regular Tuesday evening events the Dolman Travel Book of the Year short listed authors will convene towards the end of June for a discussion with the Chairman of the Judges, Michael Jacobs, and the co-founder of Daunt Books, and Dolman judge, Brett Wolstencroft.
Please see the website for dates and further details.

"Daunt Books are delighted to be involved with such a prestigious award. 2009 has proved to be a vintage year for travel literature and we are particular pleased to be associated with the Authors' Club and this wonderful prize" Brett Wolstencroft, co-founder, Daunt Books
By Stieg Larsson
Translated by Reg Keeland. 563 pp. Alfred A. Knopf. US$27.95

Reviewed by David Kamp
Published New York Times, May 20, 2010

If you’re a latecomer to the Stieg Larsson phenomenon, here, briefly, is the deal: Larsson was a Swedish journalist who edited a magazine called Expo, which was devoted to exposing racist and extremist organizations in his nativeland. In his spare time, he worked on a trilogy of crime thrillers, delivering them to his Swedish publisher in 2004. In November of that year, a few months before the first of these novels came out, he died of a heart attack. He was only 50, and he never got to see his books become enormous best sellers — first in Sweden and then, in translation, all over the globe.

Covers above - left US cover, right UK cover
Left - Stieg Larsson in 1987.

“The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest”
is the third installment of the ­trilogy; its predecessors, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” and “The Girl Who Played With Fire,” have already sold a million copies combined in the United States and many times that abroad. All three books are centered on two ­principal characters: a fearless middle-aged journalist named Mikael Blomkvist, who publishes an Expo-like magazine called Millennium, and a slight, sullen, socially maladjusted, tech-savvy young goth named Lisbeth Salander, the “girl” of the books’ titles, who, in addition to her dragon tattoo, possesses extraordinary hacking abilities and a twisted, complicated past. Together, Blomkvist and Salander use their wiles and skills to take on corporate corruptos, government sleazes and sex criminals, not to mention these miscreants’ attendant hired goons.

This all might sound rather Euro-cheesy, a bit Jean-Claude Van Damme, but it’s not. Larsson was a cerebral, high-minded activist and self-proclaimed feminist who happened to have a God-given gift for pulse-racing narrative. It’s this offbeat combination of attributes — imagine if John Grisham had prefaced his writing career not by practicing law in Mississippi but by heading up the Stockholm office of Amnesty International — that has made the series such a sui generis smash.

Larsson’s is a dark, nearly humorless world, where everyone works fervidly into the night and swills tons of coffee; hardly a page goes by without someone “switching on the coffee machine,” ordering “coffee and a sandwich” or responding affirmatively to the offer “Coffee?” But this world is not dystopian. The good guys (or, I should say, the morally righteous people of all genders) always prevail in the end. The books, translated by Reg Keeland, are not lightweight in any sense — their combined bulk, at upward of 500 pages apiece, will strain the biceps of even the most Bunyan­esque U.P.S. delivery­man — but they’re extra­ordinarily fleet of movement and utterly addicting.
Full review at NYT.
Rowling opens door to digital Harry Potter books

28.05.10 | Benedicte Page in The Bookseller

J K Rowling looks set allow Harry Potter fans to read her novels as e-books at last.

Neil Blair, partner at the Christopher Little Agency (CLA) which represents Rowling, said the agency was “currently considering all the options and opportunities that this evolving space provides”. The agency was “actively” looking, whereas previously it had just been “monitoring the developing area”, he said.

Richard Charkin, executive director of Rowling’s print publisher Bloomsbury, declined to comment on whether Bloomsbury was in discussions with the author on e-book plans, saying: “That’s between us and CLA.”

Waterstone’s e-books buyer Alex Ingram said: “Our customers have been asking for Harry Potter on e-book since we launched digital books on in September 2008. So have we, and it’s great that we may be about to get our wish come true.” He added: “I’ve no doubt [Rowling’s]  about to change our perceptions of what level of sales e-books can achieve.”

Peter Collingridge of Enhanced Editions said the question for any agent was who the best partner was in each new media territory. “Is it the print publisher, an app developer, a computer games company?” he said.

The Florida-based theme park, “The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter”, built in collaboration with Rowling, will open on 18th June. Meanwhile, the first film in the two-part adaptation of the final Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, will be released in November, when Bloomsbury will publish the Harry Potter novels with new jacket designs.
UK News Flash - iPad
The Bookseller  

Discounted Evans and Clarkson are early chart-toppers on the iPad   

Chris Evans' memoir, It's Not What You Think (HarperCollins), is the early ebook bestseller at Apple's iBookstore. The book, recently released in a mass-market format with an r.r.p. of £7.99 has been selling at around £5.20 at UK bookshops on average in recent weeks. But at a bargain £3.99, the ebook has shot to the top of the UK iBooks chart.       
Publishers back milestone iPad, but agency model pricing unclear    
Publishers from Hachette UK, HarperCollins and Pan Macmillan have backed the launch of the iPad, describing it as "an important milestone" for the trade. But it remains unclear what the wider affects of the agency model will have on digital pricing with some titles still cheaper on's Kindle store than on the iBookstore.  

And a US view:
iPad Takes the World

Apple's iPad released today in major book markets included UK, Canada, Australia, Japan, and Germany--plus France, Italy, Spain and Switzerland. Though the UK iBookstore launch was preceded by worried speculation that UK publishers were concerned aspects of Apple's contract might run afoul of local pricing laws, lo and behold, Ye Agency Foure (Hachette UK, Penguin, Pan Macmillan and Harper UK) are all participating. The smallest of the group, Simon & Schuster UK, is not currently participating. Spokesman Adam Rothberg confirms that they are "working toward" that and "hope to be up and running in the UK in the near future." But no other UK publishers are known to have a direct relationship with Apple yet, and again Random UK is sitting on the sidelines.

According to screen captures, prices reflect the same overall higher price level of books in the UK. The price points are familiar--11.99 (David Mitchell's latest); 13.99 (a Bernard Cornwell release); 9.99 (a Tony Parsons title)--but in pounds instead of dollars, that means the titles are roughly 50 percent more than US customers enjoy.

And another US view:
iPad UK Launch: What Does It Mean for European Publishers?
By Jason Boog on May 28, 2010
Galley Cat

Four major UK publishers struck last minute deals with Apple today, stocking the international iBookstore with new eBooks.

Today's guest on the Morning Media Menu was Ed Nawotka, the editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives--a news site dedicated to covering the global publishing industry. He discussed socially networked reading in China, international launch of the Apple iPad, and the evolving role eBooks play in the European publishing industry.
More at Galley Cat

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Awa Book of New Zealand Sport Writing
edited by Harry Ricketts

Awa Press and Unity Books warmly invites you
to bowl along to the launch
of our dashing new book

6pm Wednesday 9th of June

Unity Books 57 Willis Street

Guest Speaker  -  Steve Braunias
Penguin & Storylines nationwide short story awards for children

In March this year Penguin Group (NZ) and Storylines Children’s Literature Charitable Trust launched the inaugural Puffin Short Story Awards.
Schoolchildren across the country are invited to show off their writing skills in this unique competition, open now as part of Puffin’s 70th birthday celebrations.

The competition, which aims to nurture young writing talent, culminates in an awards ceremony at the Storylines Auckland Family Day on 22 August 2010. Entries are accepted in three categories: Junior (School Years 4–6), Intermediate (School Years 7–8) and Senior (School Years 9–11).

The major prizes up for grabs are an Apple iPod Touch in the two younger categories, and a Dell laptop computer in the Senior category. Classic Hits radio show That’s The Story will record the winning stories for broadcast on their Sunday morning programme, and present each winner with $150 cash. In addition, all three children will take away 70 Puffin books for their school library.

“We wanted to do something special to mark Puffin’s 70th birthday,” says Penguin’s General Manager of Publicity and Promotions, Sandra Lees. “What better way than to get behind our young writers of the future?”

Storylines Executive Officer Christine Young says the Trust is delighted to partner with Penguin in this new initiative. “Our mission is to promote the importance of reading and literature for all children, and this project will help us further that goal.”

The theme for the competition is “My Puffin”, and is open to broad interpretation. “Stories could be inspired by a favourite Puffin book or favourite Puffin character, or could be about the Puffin bird,” suggested Lees. “Contestants could even imagine that they are writing a story to be published by Puffin.”

In each category, a team of judges recruited by Storylines will short-list up to ten finalists, and the overall winner will be selected by a high-profile children’s author. Penguin has secured Dawn McMillan to judge the Junior category, Joy Cowley in the Intermediate category, and Tania Roxborogh in the Senior category.

“This award is a great investment in the future of New Zealand writing,” declares Cowley, (pic left),who is one of New Zealand’s most successful writers of children’s books, and a patron of Storylines. McMillan is the author of the Puffin favourite Why do Dogs Sniff Bottoms?, while Roxborogh’s young adult novel Banquo’s Son was shortlisted for a NZ Post Children’s Book Award.

“We are confident that the competition will receive widespread support from schools, libraries and others who care about the future of children’s literature,” says Lees. “We look forward to receiving entries from all around the country.”

The competition closes at 5pm on 11 June. Entry forms and full details are available from or

For further information please contact:
Leanne McGregor | Penguin Group (NZ) | Tel: (09) 442 7498 |
Lynn Freeman talks to Lee Gutkind -
Radio New Zealand National , Sunday 30 May at 2.30pm
Another significant American writer arrives to teach a masterclass at the IIML in the first week of June 2010.
Lee Gutkind is widely known as the 'godfather of creative nonfiction'. 'Creative nonfiction stories,' in Gutkind's definition, 'are dramatic, true stories that use scene, dialogue and close, detailed descriptions - techniques usually employed by poets and fiction writers - to examine and explore a variety of subjects: politics, economics, sports, race relations, family relations, the arts and sciences and more.'

Lee Gutkind is the founding editor of Creative Nonfiction magazine and prize-winning author or editor of more than a dozen books, the most recent of which is Almost Human: Making Robots Think. His forthcoming book is a memoir, Truckin' with Sam, co-written with his son.

Lee Gutkind appears in conversation with the IIML's Creative Nonfiction workshop leader Harry Ricketts in a public event at City Gallery on Thursday 3 June, 6pm. This event is also free and all are welcome.

Related websites:
Saturday Morning with Kim Hill -
Radio NZ National: 29 May 2010

8:15 Hamish Keith: oil and lanterns in N.O.
8:30 Susan Horwitz: developing cancer drugs
9:05 Ian McKellen: good to Godot
9:45 Kate's Klassic: Around the World in 80 Days
10:05 Playing Favourites with William Taylor   
11:10 Salman Akhtar: animals, space, time, God

Producer: Mark Cubey
Associate producer: Sean McKenna
Wellington engineer: Dominic Godfrey

Saturday Morning guest information and links:

8:15am  Hamish Keith

Hamish Keith is a writer, blogger, art curator and consultant, and self-styled cultural curmudgeon columnist for the Listener magazine, and has published a number of books on cultural and social history, cooking, and the arts. His six-part documentary series on New Zealand art, The Big Picture, is available on DVD, and was adapted as a book in 2007. He published his memoir, Native Wit, in 2008, and a kitchen memoir, Sharp Knives and Wooden Spoons, will be published next year. Hamish is currently visiting New Orleans.

8:30am  Susan Horwitz
Dr Susan Band Horwitz is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a former president of the American Association for Cancer Research, and Distinguished Professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York. Her research led to the discovery of a new cellular target for anti-cancer therapy and played a vital role in the development of a multi-billion-dollar anti-tumor drug.

9:05am Ian McKellen
British stage and screen actor Sir Ian McKellen is probably best known to New Zealanders for his role of Gandalf in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy. He is currently on tour with the Haymarket production of Samuel Beckett's play, Waiting for Godot, with Roger Rees, Ronald Pickup and Matthew Kelly. Following its second West End run, and Australian tour, the production will play at Wellington's St. James Theatre (30 June to 2 July) and Christchurch's Isaac Theatre Royal (13-14 July).

9:45am  Kate's Klassic

 Kate Camp will discuss Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne, translated by Michael Glencross (Penguin Classics, ISBN: 978-0-14-044906-8); the story was originally serialised in the newspaper Le Temps in 1872, and published in book form the following year.

10:05am Playing Favourites with William Taylor 
Raurimu-based author William Taylor is a former teacher, principal and mayor, and 2009-10 President-of-Honour of the NZ Society of Authors. He has written more than 35 books for young people, including Agnes the Sheep, The Blue Lawn, Jerome, Spider, and the Knitwits series. His memoir, Telling
Tales: a Life in Writing (HarperCollins, ISBN: 978-1-86950-837-1), was published this month.

11:15am Salman Akhtar

Salman Akhtar is Professor of Psychiatry at Jefferson Medical College, and Training and Supervising Analyst at the Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia. He is the author of ten books, and his more than 300 scientific publications include 30 edited books. He is a Scholar-in-Residence at the Inter-Act Theatre Company in Philadelphia and has published six volumes of poetry in English and Urdu. Dr Akhtar was the speaker at the annual Freud Conference in Melbourne, delivering the address, Animals, Things, Space, Time and God!

Saturday Morning repeats:

On Saturday 29 May 2010 during Great Encounters between 6:06pm and 7:00pm on Radio New Zealand National, you can hear an edited repeat of Kim Hill's interview from Saturday 22 May with writer Christopher Hitchens.

Preview: Saturday 5 June 2010

Kim Hill's guests will include Michael Shapiro on the invention of journalism as literature, Ted Kaptchuk on placebos, and artist and musician Maryrose Crook.

Murder They Wrote - and the benefits of a nap


Mary McCallum is impressed:  


Brilliant crime fiction night at Cafe L'Affare in Wellington - it is not exaggerating to say I was mesmerised by the three prolific, best-selling, full-time crime writers: Neil Cross, Vanda Symon(pic right) and Paul Cleave.  My daughter who was with me, was similarly smitten - especially by Cleave's serial killer - and tells me now she's going to be a crime writer. That's how good the evening was. 

Read the rest of Mary's report on her blog.