Author talk: meet Adrienne Jansen

ada-author-talkOn Thursday 20 March, starting at 6pm at the Central Library, we will have a special celebration for Race Relations Day! Meet Adrienne Jansen and Samson Sahele – these two very different writers will cast their eye on New Zealand’s multicultural society and talk about their own work and about writing together. They will be joined by refugee youth who will read poems from Walking with a Fragile Heart. Well-known musican Sam Manzanza will start this event with his amazing drumming!

I have introduced you to Samson a few days ago, now meet Adrienne!

Adrienne is a writer, editor and teacher. She is a fourth generation New Zealander and lives in Titahi Bay, Porirua. She loves the physical beauty of the area and is a very strong Porirua supporter enjoying its diversity.
Adrienne Jansen writes fiction, non-fiction and poetry. She has lived and worked among immigrants in New Zealand for many years, and her writing draws strongly on that experience. She wrote the text for The Crescent Moon: Asian Face of Islam in New Zealand, with photography by Ans Westra. Her latest novel The Score is about messy lives, shaky pasts and even shakier futures. Adrienne founded the Whitireia Polytechnic Creative Writing Programme, and was its coordinator until 1999. She now teaches fiction and editing on the programme, and has written several of its online courses. She is part of the writing team at Te Papa, New Zealand’s National Museum, and does some freelance work.

But there is so much more!  Have a look here on the Book Council website.

I asked Adrienne about her hobbies and favourite movies and authors. One thing we both enjoy is a love of Moroccan food. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that she has been working with Abdel El Adraoui from the Marrakech Cafe on his new cookbook Abdel’s Favourites from the Marrakech Café. You may remember Adbel from my post on our Communities Stories and Traditions page.

One favourite film of Adrienne is the French comedy The Intouchables. Our library catalogue has this summary: “An irreverent, uplifting comedy about friendship, trust, and human possibility. Based on a true story of friendship between a handicapped millionaire and his street-smart ex-con caretaker, The Intouchables depicts an unlikely camaraderie rooted in honesty and humor between two individuals who, on the surface, would seem to have nothing in common.”

Favourite author: it changes depending on what Adrienne is reading, but she is a great fan of Australian writer Tim Winton. Especially his novel Syndetics book coverCloudstreet :  “[this novel] concerns the everyday lives of two country families who move to the city. ‘It pulses with a sense of wonder and shines with the clear light of truth’ – P Robert Drewe.” (Syndetics summary)

I am very excited about this author talk on Thursday, hope you can make it! A great opportunity to meet very different writers, there will be plenty of opportunity for questions. Remember this is a free event at the Central Library, starting at 6pm.

Author Talk – Samson Sahele

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Celebrate Race Relations Day and meet Samson Sahele and Adrienne Jansen! These two very different writers will cast their eye on New Zealand’s multicultural society and talk about their own work and about writing together.  This is a FREE event – no need to book and will be held at Central Library in Victoria Street Thursday March 20 from 6-7 pm. Well known musician Sam Manzanza will launch the event with his amazing drumming skills!

Samson cropIn this post I would like to introduce you to Samson. Samson was a journalist in Ehtiopia when he had to flee for his life. His journey as a political refugee took him through four African countries before spending two and half years in South Africa. He arrived in Aotearoa New Zealand in 2000.
I first met Samson back in 2007 at Newtown library when his community were looking for a place to celebrate their very special Ethiopian Millenium! I invited them to have this event at the library and organise a display about their ancient culture! We even had a special Ethiopian coffee ceremony, best coffee ever!
Samson works at Refugee Trauma Recovery. which is a non-governmental organisation offering confidential and free services to former refugees and their families in Wellington. They provide specialist mental health services for those who have experienced trauma and torture, and deliver capacity building for their families and community. More information about this organisation.

etiopian millennium 020aSamson is the driving force behind creative writing workshops for young refugees, and the resulting publications, Earthless Trees, Beyond the Dark Journey and Walking with a Fragile Heart. Dame Fiona Kidman has been a supporter of all three books including attending writing workshops with the young authors. Samson also published a poetry collection Journey with My Shadow. Dame Fiona Kidman writes in the preface, “This book represents Samson’s own journey, from the beloved and beautiful Ethiopia of his childhood to Aotearoa, New Zealand. It is a journey, in one sense, from lightness and enchantment, to a safe, but perhaps, by contrast, more grey land. In between, there is an account of intolerable darkness and should be compulsory reading for anyone who wishes to learn how war has destroyed some parts of the African continent.” Dame Kidman concludes with: “As New Zealand, Aotearoa becomes increasingly multi-cultural, it would be well for us to learn more of these flights, taken in fear and with regret from beloved homelands. In order to offer a land that welcomes people from other cultures, we need to understand better that which has gone before. Journey with my Shadow offers this oppurtunity. I highly recommend Samson’s book.”

I asked Samson what he likes doing in his spare time and no surprises there. He likes supporting the community, reading, and listening to music, especially Ethiopian music and Reggae. Also enjoys walking and following our global current affairs.

Do join us on the 20 March at Central library celebrating Race Relations Day, this will be a very interesting session, we are looking forward to seeing you there!
Next post I will introduce you to Adrienne Jansen.

Race Relations Day Author Talk

rrd2014 posterRace Relations Day, 21 March, marks the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which is celebrated around the world. Wellington City Libraries is a proud participant in the Diversity in Action Programme facilitated by the Human Rights Commission. The New Zealand Diversity Action Programme is a community initiative. It began in 2004, in response to the outrage at the desecration of Jewish community gravesites in Wellington. The programme has been active in promoting and encouraging positive race relations.

The 2014 theme in New Zealand is “I am Aotearoa New Zealand…te ranga tahi, together we grow.” This year’s poster features portraits from six of New Zealand’s top illustrators (clockwise from top left): Max Thompson, Rebecca Kereopa, Rebecca Terborg, Angus Gomes, Donna Cross and Henrietta Harris.

stacked-nz-diversity-logo-webThis year we are celebrating Race Relations Day with a free author talk – in conversation with Samson Sahele and Adrienne Jansen. These two very different writers will cast their eye on New Zealand’s multicultural society and talk about their own work and about writing together. They will be joined by refugee youth who will read poems from Walking with a Fragile Heart. This is a free event and will be held at the Wellington Central Library, Thursday 20 March 6-7 pm. Well known musician Sam Manzanza will play the drum at the beginning of this session calling you all to attend! Pencil this in your diary now! Next post I will tell you more about the authors.

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New learning English books!

It’s a new year, and there are lots of new books to help you with English!

There is something for everyone, from beginners to more advanced. Here are a few examples:

Syndetics book coverJourney through Arabia / Andy Hopkins.
More than two thousand years ago, traders brought spices and incense by camel caravan across deserts and mountains from the south of Arabia to the Mediterranean Sea. This is the story of that journey, and of the rich and beautiful cities on the way.

This is a Penguin Active Reading book, elementary level with 600 headwords and is supported by an interactive CD-ROM which contains additional activities and the complete audio recording. (from book cover)

Syndetics book coverSkills for effective writing. 1, [Student's book].    
Students are better writers when they master discrete writing skills.
Features:
* Clear and easy-to-understand presentation of each writing skill.
* Extensive practice so that students can truly master each important aspect of writing.
* Skill quizzes to give teachers a snapshot of students’ understanding.
* Stimulating academic themes to keep students engaged.
(from book cover)

Syndetics book coverWork on your grammar. Elementary A1.
This is a new practice book that will help you to improve your spoken and written English. Work through the exercises and see the difference good grammar can make to your success in Englsih. This books is suitable for self-study and classroom use. It has an answer key so you can check your progress. (from book cover)

Are you new to Wellington? Have you heard of Newcomers Network? The Wellington Newcomers Network (WNN) was initiated at the end of 2013 at the request of Wellington City Council in conjunction with the Multi Cultural Services Centre. Its aim is to support relatively new arrivals in Wellington in building up contacts and friends and to provide them with an opportunity to savour some of the social activities that Wellington has to offer with others in order to enhance their lives and feel settled quickly in their new home town. For more information visit them on Facebook!
They have some great social events organised!

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Today, 27 January, is the international memorial day for the victims of the Holocaust. It is also the date, in 1945, when the largest Nazi death camp, Auschwitz-Birkenhau was liberated.

In Wellington, the annual commemoration is today at 2pm at the Holocaust Memorial, Makara Cemetery, Karori. The theme this year is:
Passing on Holocaust remembrance from one generation to the next

Many stories have been told and written about the horrors of the Holocaust. Stories about the victims, survivors, and also stories about people who risked their lives to help those in need.  There are also still many unknown stories, it is important that these stories are told and passed on to the next generation. One of those stories was about Jane Haining. Last month I was invited to a book launch at the Holocaust Centre of New Zealand in Webb Street. The author Lynley Smith introduced her book From Matron to Martyr.

Syndetics book coverFrom matron to martyr.
“Lynley shared the moving story of her relative, Jane Haining, a Scottish missionary sent to Budapest, Hungary before the war, to be the matron of a girls’ orphanage. She refused to abandon her Jewish charges and ended up in Auschwitz, where she died.
After finding a tenuous family connection to the mysterious and captivating Jane Haining, Lynley Smith crafted Jane’s fictionalized diary, a biography of a faithful servant and Scottish missionary who died at the hands of Nazis in Auschwitz Concentration Camp during World War II. From Matron to Martyr is an inspirational and bittersweet book. ” (courtesy of the author)

Have  you visited the Holocaust Centre in Webb Street? The Holocaust Centre of New Zealand aims to collect and record the stories of Holocaust survivors who fled from Hitler’s Europe, came to New Zealand and made new lives here. Their stories are available for education and research purposes.

The project is supported by volunteers committed to telling the stories of those who suffered and those who were cruelly murdered, in ways that will inspire following generations, both Jewish and of other faiths, to combat intolerance wherever it occurs and respect the dignity of the lives of every man, woman and child.

New learning English books!

Our Learning English collection has something for everyone! Books to help you with grammar, reading comprehension, writing, speaking and listening, dictionaries, fiction and non-fiction. We also host a group of students every Wednesday morning at Newtown library. They choose their books carefully and then have the opportunity to read aloud with some of our librarians.

I have noticed that a lot of the students prefer reading stories about well known people such as Pele, Mother Theresa and Michael Jackson.

Syndetics book coverNelson Mandela / Rowena Akinyemi.
One of the most popular books is about a very special person who was born in 1918. This child was given the name Rolihlahla, which means ‘troublemaker’ in the Xhosa language. At the age of seven, Rolihlahla went to school, the only one of his brothers and sisters to do so. And it was on his first day at school that his teacher, Miss Mdingane, gave him the English name of Nelson, the name which later became world famous! If you want to know more about his life, his tireless struggle for human rights, the happiness and sadness of family life this is an excellent read. For advanced readers of English, this book comes with an audio CD. It also has a glossary and before and after reading activities to help you understand the story.

Students often use dictionaries to help them with their studies. Did you know we have dictionaries in many community languages? They can be issued for 3 weeks. Here are some examples from our extensive collection!

Syndetics book coverBurmese-English English-Burmese dictionary / by Nance Cunningham, Aung Soe Min.
A practical dictionary for English speakers, including pronunciation and writing guide, chart of Burmese letters, and sections in Burmese script and and Burmese sound.

Syndetics book coverEnglish-Somali, Somali-English dictionary = Ingirisi Soomaali, Soomaali Ingirisi qaamuus / Maxamud Jaamac Qoorsheel.

Syndetics book coverOxford essential Arabic dictionary : English-Arabic, Arabic-English.
“This essential resource offers up-to-date coverage of the day-to-day vocabulary of English and Arabic, with more than 16,000 words, phrases, and translations.” (Syndetics summary

World Refugee Day – 20 June

Every year on June 20 the world honours the courage, resilience and strength of refugees. Global attention is focused on this day not only on the plight of refugees and causes of their exile, but also on their determination and contribution they make to their host communities.

What is happening in Wellington?

NZ Red Cross is once again holding the annual World Refugee Day Football Match and Cultural Fair at Newtown Park on Sunday, 23 June. The day will start at 11:00 AM and will include:

  • Football matches
  • Cultural performances
  • Ethnic food
  • And much more!

Imagine losing everything simply because of your race, ethnicity or beliefs. If you would like to know how you can help a family who has lost everything to start again, visit Refugee Services‘ website to find out more.

The following books have been written by refugee youth living in the Wellington region, and include short stories and poems. Journey with my Shadow is a collection of poetry by Samson Sahele, who is also the driving force behind the youth writing workshops.

Syndetics book coverEarthless trees : short stories by young refugees in New Zealand / [edited by Pauline Frances].
“This collection of short stories is dedicated to the courage of all refugees who live in New Zealand, for their suffering and displacement from their homeland. Created during a series of writing workshops for young refugees, these vibrant stories provide an insight into the lives of new New Zealanders – individuals and families who came to New Zealand seeking security and freedom. From an escape through mountains on an overloaded truck, to living through an explosion in urban Kabul, these stories touch on universal themes of survival, family and home.” (adapted from the Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBeyond the dark journey : short stories and poems by young refugees in New Zealand / [edited by Pauline Frances].
“Beyond the dark journey is the eagerly anticipated follow up to Earthless Trees which was published in late 2008 and had record sales for a publication of its kind. Over 1,500 copies sold. Dame Fiona Kidman had this to say within the Preface she wrote for Earthless Trees: ‘Above all, these are well written, accessible stories set in a modern contemporary world’.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverWalking with a fragile heart
(This is a new book, still on order, but click the link above to place a reserve)
“Refugee Trauma Recovery recently celebrated the completion of a third book written by young people from refugee backgrounds with a book launch. Walking with a Fragile Heart is a collection of short stories and poems written by seven young people from Malawi, Rwanda, Afghanistan, Burma and Ethiopia. The completion of the book followed a 20 week writing course that gave the young writers an opportunity to write about their life experiences as refugees” (Human Rights Commission website)

You can also listen to an interview on National Radio with two of the young people whose work is in this collection.

Syndetics book coverJourney with my shadow : a collection of poetry / Samson Sahele.
“Journey with my shadow is a collecton of poetry that exposes the reality of Africa: the human rights violations, the killings and abuses, and the harassment by dictators” (Library catalogue summary)

Our Radio Show: from Music AdLib to News AdLib

Same frequency, 783AM, great music, but small change in content and presenters. A big thank you to Mark, Monty and Neil for their enthusiasm promoting our wonderful CD collection over the past few years!  Saturday 16  March was the first of our 4 weekly new look show, although you can still listen to the podcasts on Access Radio.

On our new show (hosted by myself, Ada Nally), we play fantastic local and world music but also let you know what is new at the libraries and share services benefitting our migrant communities! This week our bilingual librarian Jinyun talks about part of our collection which may  of interest to our Chinese speaking community.

We are are also promoting a special celebration of Poetic Voices of Africa in honour of 50 Years of the African Union. Poets Samson Sahele, L. E. Scott, Tony Hopkins, Wanjiku Kiarie, Makuei Aken and Inshirah Mahal will perform at

Newtown Library Tuesday 21 May 5-7 pm

and

Central Library Wednesday 22 May 5-7 pm

Both events are free!

Syndetics book coverJourney with my shadow : a collection of poetry / Samson Sahele.
“Journey with my shadow” is a collecton of poetry that exposes the reality of Africa: the human rights violations, the killings and abuses, and the harassment by dictators.

Syndetics book coverPoems for Gwen / L.E. Scott.

Syndetics book coverBeyond the dark journey : short stories and poems by young refugees in New Zealand / [edited by Pauline Frances].

“My dream for Aotearoa New Zealand is…

click for larger version of the Race Relations Day poster
the theme for Race Relations Day 2013. Held each year on 21 March, the day marks the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Wellington City Libraries is a participant in The New Zealand Diversity Action Programme, which is a community initiative. It began in 2004, in response to the outrage at the desecration of Jewish community gravesites in Wellington. The Programme has been active in promoting and encouraging positive race relations.

The New Zealand Diversity Action Programme brings together organisations taking practical initiatives to:

  1. recognise and celebrate the cultural diversity of our society
  2. promote the equal enjoyment by everyone of their civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, regardless of race, colour, ethnicity, religion or national origin
  3. foster harmonious relations between diverse peoples
  4. fulfil the promise of the Treaty of Waitangi.

The Programme is facilitated by the Human Rights Commission on behalf of participants.

Do you have a vision what our country should be like for future generations? Share your thoughts on our Community Stories and Traditions page!

At Newtown Library we are asking adults and children what their dreams are. All their thoughts are displayed on the tree in the tent and will be forwarded to the Human Rights Commission. Here are some of their thoughts:
rrd 006.jpg web smallrrd 001.jpg web small

Bewilderment

The students of Moriah School in Webb Street have collected 1.5 million buttons in all colours, shapes and sizes. That is one button for every child who died in the Holocaust during World War II.

At the same time they started designing memorials. The designs were presented to the Jewish community and “Bewilderment” was chosen. All the buttons will be used in the walls of a maze. In the centre of the maze, there will be a single light shaped like a candle and a plaque quoting Holocaust survivor Vera Egermayer:

In a time like the Holocaust it is like living in a pitch black room, but every time someone does something for you its like someone coming in and lighting a candle. You need to focus on light.

This memorial is planned to be built at the National War Memorial Park in 2014.

If you want to know what the memorial will look like, have a look at this video clip made by the students:

It is unique in that the project has been organised by children for children and is an opportunity to teach and share the stories of the young victims of the Holocaust with the world.

The Holocaust Centre of New Zealand aims to collect and record the stories of Holocaust survivors who fled from Hitler’s Europe, came to New Zealand and made new lives here. Their stories are available for education and research purposes.

The project is supported by volunteers committed to telling the stories of those who suffered and those who were cruelly murdered, in ways that will inspire following generations, both Jewish and of other faiths, to combat intolerance wherever it occurs and respect the dignity of the lives of every man, woman and child.


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