Nefarious Novels at Newtown: Now available on YouTube

Recently at our Newtown Library we had the  rare opportunity to hear three of Aotearoa New Zealand’s most outstanding  crime writers: Renée, Jennifer Lane, and Anne Harré in conversation with Louise Dowdell.

This fabulous event included the  launch of two new books Renée’s new book Blood Matters and Jennifer Lane’s second novel Miracle and, to round off the trio in style, we had Anne Harré’s highly acclaimed The Leaning man.

It was a fabulous night: this very special event has now passed into the annals of the past but with the authors and publishers’ permission we were able to film the proceedings.

The very special guest panel featured:


Iconic New Zealand author Renée was born in 1929 in Napier and has so far written over twenty highly acclaimed plays — many of them works that humanise and centre working-class people and feature women in leading roles. She has also published (so far) ten fiction works including The Wild Card, which was shortlisted for the 2020 Ngaio Marsh Awards. Her latest work  is Blood Matters.

Jennifer Lane

Jennifer Lane’s debut novel, All Our Secrets, established her as an author to keep a close eye on; quickly gaining rave reviews, the book went on to win the much-coveted Best First Novel Award at the Ngaio Marsh Awards in 2018. Her second novel Miracle has just been released.

Anne Harré

Anne Harré’s debut novel The Leaning Man is a gripping, suspenseful page-turning thrill ride of a book (you are very likely to stay up very late to see what happens next). It is set in our very own windy Wellington and in some respects is a love letter to the city with its perfectly visualised, vivid, and evocative descriptions of the capital. And to top it all, one of the locations in the book is our very own Te Awe Library, with accompanying fictional librarian. The book gathered glowing reviews from the likes of  The Listener and The Dominion Post, as well as RNZ.

Renée, Jennifer Lane, and Anne Harré were interviewed by Wellington City Libraries’ very own Louise Dowdell.

We wish to extend our most heartfelt thanks to authors Renée, Jennifer Lane, Anne Harré, Mary McCallum  and The Cuba Press for making this very special and totally unmissable event happen .

You can now view the video below, or visit our You Tube channel.

Blood Matters / Renée
“Puti loves to run, but she  doesn’t feel safe anymore – especially when she discovers her grandfather has been murdered with a Judas mask on his face  and another mask has gone missing. She’s also  the guardian of ten-year-old Bella Rose, who wants to be a private investigator when she grows up.  Puti and Bella Rose try to solve the murders and who took the mask.” ( Adapted from Catalogue)


Miracle / Lane, Jennifer
“Born in the middle of Australia’s biggest-ever earthquake, Miracle is fourteen when her world crumbles. Thanks to her dad’s new job at Compassionate Cremations — which falls under suspicion for Boorunga’s spate of sudden deaths — the entire town turns against their family. She fears for her agoraphobic mother, and for her angelic, quake-damaged brother, Julian. When Oli plays a cruel trick on Miracle, he sets off a chain of devastating events. Then her dad is arrested for a brutal attack. How can she convince the town of her dad’s innocence?” ( Adapted from Catalogue)

The leaning man / Harré, Anne
“Wellington. The land dips and rolls, the wind has a life of its own. It’s Saturday night down on the wharf. Celebrations are in full swing for the Westons’ fortieth wedding anniversary. Their daughter Stella has returned from London to attend. She’s now a private investigator in London, reduced to filming errant husbands for court cases. She doesn’t want to be home. Later that night her best friend Teri is found dead in a lane in the central city. Her phone is missing. It looks like suicide, but Stella won’t believe it. The race is on between those who want the phone, the homeless man who’s pocketed it, and Stella.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The wild card / Renée
“Ruby Palmer has been dealt a rough hand. She was left in a kete at the back door of the Porohiwi Home for Children when she was a baby, and then at seven she discovered that Betty – who stopped the bad stuff happening to Ruby at the Home – has drowned. Now in her thirties, Ruby suspects her friend was murdered – her only lead is a notebook that uses the symbols on playing cards to tell a story she can’t understand, but there are other clues too. As Ruby goes deeper into the mystery of Betty’s death she starts to find answers to questions about herself that she hadn’t dared ask before.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

All our secrets / Lane, Jennifer
“A girl called Gracie. A small town called Coongahoola with the dark Bagooli River running through it. The River Children – born in the aftermath of the infamous River Picnic. They begin to go missing, one after another. Gracie Barrett is the naively savvy spokesperson for her chaotic family, for the kids who are taken, for the lurking fear that locks down the town and puts everyone under suspicion. Coongahoola is where hope and fear collide, where tender adolescence is confronted by death, where kindness is a glimmer of light  in the dark.”(Adapted from Catalogue)

These two hands / Renée
“Renee Paule lives in Otaki and teaches her Your Life, Your Story and her Poem a Week workshops there. This is just one version of her life, her story, told in patches, like a quilt.” ( Adapted from Catalogue)



Wednesday to come : trilogy / Renée
“‘Wednesday to come’ (a play for 6 women and 2 men) shows the effect of the Great Depression on four generations of women from the same family. In ‘Pass it on’ (a play for 3 women and 3 men) the teenager Jeannie from ‘Wednesday to come’ is now a young woman in her 30s dealing with the 1951 Waterfront Lockout. The final play in the trilogy goes back in time to life in Victorian Dunedin: ‘Jeannie once’ (a play for 6 women and 3 men) looks at this world through the eyes of Jeannie’s great-grandmother, Granna in ‘Wednesday to come’.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


Summer Reading Adventure 2022 – for adults, teens and kids!

Read books, explore the city, win prizes!

The Summer Reading Adventure runs from 1 December 2022 — 31 January 2023, and this year we are inviting intrepid explorers of word and page of all ages to join us — children, teens, and adults.

Exactly what reading adventures are in store for you will depend on which version of the Adventure you sign up for, but as a general rule you can participate in three different ways:

  1. Log your reading — tell us what you’ve been reading, and maintain your own personal reading log to earn tickets you can cash in for the chance to win one of our Grand Prize packs.
  2. Write, draw or film book reviews — get creative and let us know what you think about the books you’ve been reading, with special spot prizes for the most thought-provoking entries.
  3. Complete challenges — choose your own adventure, and participate in a range of different activities, challenges, and quests that will have you venturing out into the city, taking a deep dive into our collections, and exploring your own back yard — and what’s more, you’ll even make it home in time for tea!

Continue reading “Summer Reading Adventure 2022 – for adults, teens and kids!”

‘Wild Weather’ Author Talk at Johnsonville this Thursday

Author photo of Lisa Murray, linked to Facebook event

Join us at Waitohi Johnsonville Library on Thursday November 3rd, 5:30pm for a talk with meteorologist Lisa Murray of MetService NZ, co-author of the new book New Zealand’s Wild Weather.

Cyclones, heatwaves, snow and drought… as a long, narrow group of islands Aotearoa New Zealand has always found itself at the mercy of wild weather, and that’s before accounting for the mounting impacts of climate change.

Come hear meteorologist Lisa Murray of MetService NZ present an invigorating hour, delving into the fascinating facts behind some of this country’s most dramatic weather.

What: ‘Wild Weather’ talk with Lisa Murray
When: Thursday 3 November, 5:30pm
Where: Waitohi Johnsonville Library

Event on Facebook

About Lisa

Meteorologist Lisa Murray is MetService NZ’s Head of Weather Communication. Lisa specialises in science communication and education, to ensure people’s safety during severe weather events. She recently enjoyed success as a speaker at the Auckland Writers Festival.

New Zealand’s wild weather
“This book explores the drama of New Zealand’s changeable weather, explained by a range of MetService experts. A compelling, informative and highly illustrated series of investigations into the different types of weather events that occur in New Zealand. MetService has compiled the scientific expertise, insight and weather data across New Zealand and the globe, to communicate the intricacies of our extreme weather events.New Zealand’s Wild Weather weaves meteorology with dramatic stories of everyday people impacted by the country’s mercurial climate.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

South Asian Voices: Diwali celebration at Newtown Library

To celebrate Diwali, Wellington City Libraries and The Cuba Press have brought together some of Aotearoa’s finest award-winning writers to talk about their work.

The first of two events will be held at Newtown Library, Wednesday 26 October from 5.30–7pm. The event is free but capacity is limited, you can save your spot by registering through Eventbrite here. The second event in this series will happen at Johnsonville Library with a slightly different line-up, you can find information about that event here.

This unmissable event features the following stellar panel, who will be talking about their experiences of language, home and belonging:

Brannavan Gnanalingam – (Winner Best Novel prize at the Ngaio Marsh Awards and shortlisted for the 2021 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.) Brannavan Gnanalingam is also a lawyer and the author of seven novels, three of which have been listed for the Ockham NZ Book Awards. His latest novel is Slow Down, You’re Here.

Rijula Das – Rijula Das is an author and translator and the programmer for Verb Readers and Writers Festival. She received a PhD in Creative Writing in Singapore and her debut novel A Death in Shonagachhi was published in India where it won the Tata Literature Live! First Book Award. It is being published this year in USA and elsewhere as Small Deaths.

Rajorshi Chakraborti – Rajorshi Chakraborti was born in Kolkata and grew up there and in Mumbai, and now lives in Wellington with his family. He has published six novels and a collection of short fiction – The Man Who Would Not See was longlisted for the Ockham NZ Book Awards and his latest novel is Shakti.

Sudha Rao – Sudha Rao was originally from South India before migrating to New Zealand. She trained in classical South Indian dance and established Dance Aotearoa New Zealand. Sudha participated in the International Bengaluru Poetry Festival in 2019 and her first collection of poems On Elephant’s Shoulders was published this year.

romesh dissanayake – romesh dissanayake is a chef, poet, writer and artist from Korea, Kazakhstan, and Sri Lanka. He is currently working on his first novel as part of an MA at the International Institute of Modern Letters.

Rupa Maitra – Rupa Maitra is a fiction writer born in New Zealand to Bengali parents. Her book of short stories, Prophecies, was published in 2019.

All these authors have very different voices, with very different things to say about language, home and belonging. All are of the highest calibre, many of whom are already multi-award winning authors, and so this event this bound to be entertaining, stimulating and a fabulous way to celebrate Diwali.

This event is being run in conjunction with Cuba Press for further details please click HERE.



Slow down, you’re here / Gnanalingam, Brannavan
“Kavita is stuck in a dead-end marriage, and is juggling parenting two small kids while also being the family’s main breadwinner. When an old flame offers a week away in Waiheke, she agonises but decides to accept. When she steps onto the ferry she knows she has left her family behind – but she’s not sure for how long.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


Sprigs / Gnanalingam, Brannavan
“It is Saturday afternoon and two boys’ schools are locked in battle for college rugby supremacy. Priya – a fifteen year old who barely belongs – watches from the sidelines. Then it is Saturday night and the team is partying. Priya’s friends have evaporated and she isn’t sure what to do. In the weeks after ‘the incident’ life seems to go on. But when whispers turn to confrontation, the institutions of wealth and privilege circle the wagons.”(Adapted from Catalogue)


Small Deaths / Das, Rijula
“In Calcutta’s notorious red-light district, Lalee aspires to a better life. Her unfailingly loyal client Tilu Shau has dreams too. A heady romantic and marginal novelist, Tilu is in love with the indifferent Lalee and wants to liberate her from her street life with marriage. But when a fellow sex worker and young mother is brutally murdered, the solicitous madam of the Blue Lotus invites Lalee to take the woman’s place “upstairs” as a high-end escort. The offer comes with the promise of a more lucrative life but quickly spirals into violence, corruption, and unfathomable secrets that threaten to upset the fragile stability of Lalee’s very existence. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

“This book bridges two anniversaries. Ulysses by James Joyce was published in 1922. Venice was founded in 421. The title Breach of All Size is Joyce’s pun on Venice landmark Bridge of Sighs but could as easily describe his sprawling modernist classic, which clocks in at 265,222 words. To celebrate both anniversaries, 36 Aotearoa writers were asked to write love stories set in Venice and inspired by words from Ulysses, but to steer the opposite course and keep them short. How short? 421 words, of course.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Shakti / Chakraborti, Rajorshi
“Amid a climate of right-wing, nationalist politics, three Indian women find themselves wielding powers that match their wildest dreams. There is one catch: they come with a Faustian price.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Also available as an eBook. 


The man who would not see / Chakraborti, Rajorshi
“As children in Calcutta, Ashim and Abhay made a small mistake that split their family forever. Thirty years later, Ashim has re-entered his brother’s life, with blame and retribution on his mind. It seems nothing short of smashing Abhay’s happy home will make good the damage from the past. At least, this is what Abhay and his wife Lena are certain is happening. A brother has travelled all the way from small-town India to New Zealand bearing ancient – and false – grudges, and with the implacable objective of blowing up every part of his younger brother’s life. ” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

On elephant’s shoulders / Rao, Sudha
“With themes of longing, transition and memory, ‘On elephant’s shoulders’ explores the poet’s South Indian heritage relocated to New Zealand and tries to unlayer the complexity of the migrant experience. For Sudha this has meant experiencing the riches of a new culture and a new landscape while managing the realities of marginalisation. And ultimately a transformation into a person of the Pacific, still grounded in her family and her Hindu beliefs.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A vase and a vast sea
” This Poetry and prose collection includes contents collected from 15 years of 4th Floor journals : An island by  Rata Gordon, Blocks by  romesh dissanayake, Beloved: a timeline by  Tina Regtien , Ten years by  Kathy McVey,   That summer by Maggie Rainey-Smith,  Tuesdays by  Tim Jones , Hot cross lovers by Kristina Jensen ,  The latitude of fat by Cushla Managh,  Dear Grandmother by Renée,  Swimming by Rachel Kleinsman ,  Eclipse of the moon at Hotel St. Marie by Miriam Sagan,  Pearls by  Lynn Davidson,  Two women by Marion Jones and many others. ” ( Adapted from Catalogue) 

Prophecies / Maitra, Rupa
“Rupa Maitra’s debut collection of short stories lures us into diverse worlds. Some of her stories spring from her background in music and medicine, some from her Bengali heritage – and all from a vivid imagination.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

He Timotimo : Free Te Reo Māori Taster Sessions

Nau mai, haere mai to ‘He Timotimo’, Wellington City Libraries’ new te reo Māori taster sessions!

We know it can be scary to start learning a new language and that te reo Māori classes fill up quickly in Wellington so we are pleased to announce that we have free, friendly classes Thursday evenings starting Thursday 20th October that are available for bookings now.

Book online

These are introductory classes for beginners and will have a new topic each week as a taster, he timotimo, to get you started. The sessions will be fun and you will be supported as you learn the basics with our specially designed programme developed by Neavin Broughton and taught in association with Jordana Turahui.


Thursdays, 5:30-6:30pm, starting October 20th and running for six weeks


Karori Branch Library, 247 Karori Road, Karori.


These taster sessions are suitable for absolute beginners and we are now taking bookings. Each class will feature a new topic. Bookings will be essential for each date as numbers are limited. As each week is booked separately you don’t need to worry if you have to miss a week.

The classes are informal and you will not need textbooks or other materials, you might just want to bring a notebook and pen to take some notes.

How to Book?

Book online for each session. If you have any questions please Contact Us.