See H. G. Parry and celebrate the launch of ‘A Radical Act of Free Magic’, 22nd July

Catalogue link: Hannah Parry's A Radical Act of Free Magic

We are absolutely thrilled to announce that we will be hosting an event with Hannah Parry, in conversation with Casey Lucas-Quaid, to celebrate the launch of her latest novel A Radical Act of Free Magic.

Facebook event for Hannah Parry, in conversation with Casey Lucas-Quaid

Where? Te Awe Library, 29 Brandon Street

When? Thursday 22nd July at 6pm

Event on Facebook

Hannah's website
Hannah Parry

The internationally acclaimed and hugely popular H. G. Parry is truly a star of the New Zealand speculative fiction scene. Her first novel, The unlikely escape of Uriah Heep, quickly gained her a devoted fan base with its Wellington setting and magical host of characters. She has since followed up with A declaration of the rights of magicians, and we’re looking forward to the forthcoming A radical act of free magic — which advanced reviews have already described as “absolutely superb”.

Hannah holds a PhD in English Literature from Victoria University and currently lives in a book-infested flat on the Kapiti Coast, which she shares with her sister and an increasing menagerie of small animals. She lists her hobbies as: books, travelling, history, rabbits, tea, windy days, and Oxford commas (hooray!).

Casey Lucas-Quaid
Casey Lucas-Quaid

H.G. Parry will be in conversation with fellow science fiction and fantasy author, Casey Lucas-Quaid, winner of the 2020 Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best Short Story (as well as ice hockey reporter, games writer and NaNoWriMo devotee).

It promises to be an entertaining, enlightening, enthralling, and unmissable event, so put it in your calendar and come along!

Browse Hannah’s books:

The unlikely escape of Uriah Heep / Parry, H. G.
“For his entire life, Charley Sutherland has concealed a magical ability he can’t quite control: he can bring characters from books into the real world. His older brother, Rob – a young lawyer with a normal house, a normal fiancee, and an utterly normal life – hopes that this strange family secret will disappear with disuse, and he will be discharged from his life’s duty of protecting Charley and the real world from each other. But then, literary characters start causing trouble in their city, making threats about destroying the world… and for once, it isn’t Charley’s doing. There’s someone else who shares his powers. It’s up to Charley and a reluctant Rob to stop them, before these characters tear apart the fabric of reality.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A declaration of the rights of magicians / Parry, H. G.
“A sweeping tale of revolution and wonder in a world not quite like our own. It is the Age of Enlightenment — of new and magical political movements, from the necromancer Robespierre calling for revolution in France to the weather mage Toussaint L’Ouverture leading the slaves of Haiti in their fight for freedom, to the bold new Prime Minister William Pitt weighing the legalization of magic amongst commoners in Britain and abolition throughout its colonies overseas. But amidst all of the upheaval of the early modern world, there is an unknown force inciting all of human civilization into violent conflict. And it will require the combined efforts of revolutionaries, magicians, and abolitionists to unmask this hidden enemy before the whole world falls to darkness and chaos.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A radical act of free magic : a novel / Parry, H. G.
“The Concord has been broken, and a war of magic engulfs the world. In France, the brilliant young battle-mage Napoleon Bonaparte has summoned a kraken from the depths, and under his command, the Army of the Dead have all but conquered Europe.  In Saint Domingue, Fina watches as Toussaint Louverture navigates these opposing forces to liberate the country.But there is another, even darker war being fought beneath the surface: the first vampire war in hundreds of years. The enemy blood magician who orchestrated Robespierre’s downfall  to bring about a return to dark magic to claim all of Europe. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Find Casey’s work in…

Year’s best Aotearoa New Zealand science fiction & fantasy. V2
“Ancient myths go high-tech a decade after the New New Zealand Wars. Safe homes and harbours turn to strangeness within and without.Splintered selves come together again – or not. Twelve authors. Thirteen stories. The best short science fiction and fantasy from Aotearoa New Zealand in 2019. With works by: Juliet Marillier, Nic Low, Rem Wigmore, Andi C Buchanan, Octavia Cade, A.J. Fitzwater, Nicole Tan, Melanie Harding-Shaw, Alisha Tyson, James Rowland, Zoë Meager, and Casey Lucas.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Curator Lizzie Bisley on Te Papa’s Surrealist Art exhibition

The Te Papa Surrealist exhibition opens tomorrow — Saturday 12 June! This is your (ultra-rare) chance to see 180 surrealist masterpieces from Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam.

To celebrate the exhibition’s opening and find out more, we interviewed the exhibition curator Lizzie Bisley, Curator Modern Art at Te Papa. Have a watch below!

Lizzie Bisley, Curator Modern Art, 2019. Photo by Jack Fisher. Te Papa

Te Papa’s Surrealist exhibition runs until 31 October in Te Papa’s gallery, Toi Art. Te Papa is the only venue in the Asia Pacific region to host the exhibition, and as a city we’re incredibly lucky to have this opportunity to view these artworks — which include sculpture, furniture, paintings, graphic design, prints, and photography. (Please note, charges apply.)

This exhibition features major works by all key surrealist artists such as Salvador Dalí, René Magritte, Marcel Duchamp, Leonora Carrington, and Man Ray.

To get you fully informed before you go along to the exhibition, visit the library and browse or borrow from our extensive collection of Surrealist books:

Surrealism on our Catalogue

Salvador Dalí, Mae West Lips Sofa, wood, woollen flannel, cotton and brass rivets, 1938. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam (purchase with the support of the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen Foundation and the Rembrandt Association). Photo: Jannes Linders. © Salvador Dalí, Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí/VEGAP. Copyright Agency, 2020.

Books at the Climate Crossroads event: recording available now

The climate crisis seeps into almost everything now – that cicada thrum of environmental shift.

Ingrid Horrocks

On a very rainy Tuesday afternoon in May, Te Awe Library was lucky enough to host Ingrid Horrocks, Turi Park, Tim Park and Rebecca Priestley for Books at the Climate Crossroads: Ngā Uruora and Where We Swim.

This fantastic panel event combined literature, science, the climate emergency, history and more as the panellists discussed these two ground-breaking New Zealand titles, as well as their own personal and familial experiences.

If you weren’t able to make it, don’t worry–we recorded it for you! Click on the links below to view or listen to the talk via YouTube or MixCloud. And for more info, check out our previous blog about this event.

Watch the talk here:

Listen to the talk here:

“Pure psychic automatism” – Surrealist masterpieces coming soon to Te Papa

Coming to Te Papa on the 12th of June there will be the ultra-rare chance to see 180 surrealist masterpieces from Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam.

The Te Papa Surrealist exhibition runs until 31 October in Te Papa’s gallery, Toi Art. Te Papa is the only venue in the Asia Pacific region to host the exhibition, and as a city we’re incredibly lucky to have this opportunity to view these artworks — which include sculpture, furniture, paintings, graphic design, prints, and photography.

Surrealist Art at Te Papa Exhibition

This exhibition features major works by all key surrealist artists such as Salvador Dalí, René Magritte, Marcel Duchamp, Leonora Carrington, and Man Ray.

Salvador Dalí, Couple with their heads in the clouds, oil on panel, 1936. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam. Purchase with the support of: the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen Foundation, the Rembrandt Association, the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, the Erasmusstichting and Stichting Bevordering van Volkskracht. Photo: Studio Tromp. © Salvador Dalí, Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí/VEGAP. Copyright Agency, 2020.

About Surrealism

Pure psychic automatism, is how co-founder of André Robert Breton French writer and poet and author of the First Manifesto of Surrealism (Manifeste du Surréalisme) defined Surrealism:

Psychic automatism in its pure state, by which one proposes to express — verbally, by means of the written word, or in any other manner — the actual functioning of thought. Dictated by thought, in the absence of any control exercised by reason, exempt from any aesthetic or moral concern.

Surrealism was birthed from the fiery remnants of the Dada movement, which was a direct reaction to the propaganda and mechanised slaughter of the First World War. Dada was a mirror to the insanity of the world at the time: the Dadaists saw society’s embrace of progress and rationalism as the problem, and so the movement was anti-idealistic, anti-rational and anti-aesthetic.

Both Surrealism and Dada shared a lot in common — they both incorporated a condemnation of Western logic and reason. However, whilst the Dadaists were unfocused and often nonsensical with a deep suspicion of meaning, the Surrealists were linked to the works of Freud and Jung and were often attempting to tap into the unconscious subliminal world; trying to create images that represented the dream world’s mysteries and secrets and finding powerful motivation for looking for meaning in those subconscious worlds. Both movements served as core precursors to today’s art world, and many modern art movements such as performance art and post modernism originated in these movements.

To get you fully informed before you go along to the exhibition, Wellington City Libraries has an extensive collection of Surrealist books. We’ve highlighted a few below, but you can also browse them on our catalogue:

Surrealism on our Catalogue


Salvador Dali : 1904-1989 / Descharnes, Robert
“Picasso called Dali “”an outboard motor that’s always running.”” Dali thought himself a genius with a right to indulge in whatever lunacy popped into his head. Painter, sculptor, writer, and filmmaker, Salvador Dali (1904-1989) was one of the century’s greatest exhibitionists and eccentrics. He was one of the first to apply the insights of Sigmund Freud and psychoanalysis to the art of painting, approaching the subconscious with extraordinary sensitivity and imagination. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

René Magritte, 1898-1967 / Meuris, Jacques
“The works of Rene Magritte (1898 – 1967) and the ideas that underlie them are a special case both in the history of modern art and in surrealist painting. In the search for the “”mystery”” in which things and organisms are enveloped, Magritte created pictures which, taking everyday reality as their starting point, were to follow a different logic from that to which we are accustomed. Magritte depicts the world of reality in such unsecretive superficiality that the beholder of his pictures is forced to reflect that the mystery of it is not evoked by some sentimental transfiguration, but rather by the logic of his thoughts and associations. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Duchamp book / Parkinson, Gavin
“Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968) was, without doubt, one of the most influential and controversial artists of the twentieth century. No other figure has attracted such a wealth of often contradictory interpretation and commentary. Associated with Cubism, Dada and Surrealism and widely seen as a forerunner of conceptual art, he avoided being too closely allied with any one movement. Credited with the invention of the ‘readymade’ and a champion of what he termed ‘non-retinal art,’ he was responsible for some of the most iconic works of his era.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Leonora Carrington : surrealism, alchemy and art / Aberth, Susan
“This, the first book on Leonora Carrington (b. 1917), provides a fascinating overview of this intriguing artist’s life and rich body of work. Carrington’s preoccupation with alchemy and the occult, and the influence of indigenous Mexican culture and beliefs on her production are all explored.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Man Ray : photography and its double
“Man Ray delighted the avant-garde of the 1920s and 1930s with daring, creative experimentation. He was the first Surrealist photographer, a gifted rebel with an incisive eye and a passion for freedom and pleasure.This outstanding monograph sheds new light on Man Ray’s photographic genius — incredibly, around one third of these images have never before been published. Visually spectacular and intellectually stimulating it shatters the myth — cultivated by Man Ray himself — that his photographic creativity resulted from timely mistakes and chance occurrences.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The age of light / Scharer, Whitney
“A novel inspired by the life of the Vogue model-turned-renowned photographer finds Lee Miller relocating to 1929 Paris, where she becomes the muse and colleague of the mercurial surrealist, Man Ray.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The hearing trumpet / Carrington, Leonora
“The Hearing Trumpet is the story of 92-year-old Marian Leatherby, who is given the gift of a hearing trumpet only to discover that what her family is saying is that she is to be committed to an institution. But this is an institution where the buildings are shaped like birthday cakes and igloos, where the Winking Abbess and the Queen Bee reign, and where the gateway to the underworld is open. It is also the scene of a mysterious murder. Occult twin to Alice in Wonderland, The Hearing Trumpet is a classic of fantastic literature that has been translated and celebrated throughout the world.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Books at the Climate Crossroads – lunchtime event, Tuesday 11 May

Join us for our Books at the Climate Crossroads lunchtime event at Te Awe Library on Tuesday 11 May — “personal stories at the crossroads of history and the climate crisis”.

Ingrid Horrocks, Turi Park, Tim Park and MC Rebecca Priestley (Fifteen Million Years in Antarctica) will be discussing the ecologies, histories and personal journeys that weave their way through two ground-breaking New Zealand books — Geoff Parks’ Ngā Uruora and Ingrid Horrocks’ Where We Swim.

Facebook event page

Event details

When? Tuesday 11 May, 12:30 -1:20pm

Where? Te Awe Library (29B Brandon Street)

What? Books at the Climate Crossroads

Meet the panel

Our panel are…

Ingrid Horrocks

Where we swim, by Ingrid Horrocks

Dr Ingrid Horrocks is a writer whose work spans poetry, travel, environment and community. She is a lecturer in creative writing at Massey University.

Where We Swim is her account of setting out to chronicle a solo swimming journey, only to switch streams to a different kind of swimming altogether — one which led her to more deeply examine relationships, our ecological crisis, and responsibilities to collective care. Where We Swim ranges from solitary swims in polluted lakes and rivers in Aotearoa New Zealand, to swims in pools in Medellín, Phoenix and the Peruvian Amazon, and has been called “beautiful, surprising, mysterious, deep and reflective”.

Turi Park and Tim Park, sons of Geoff Park

The late Geoff Park, author of the ground-breaking work, Ngā Uruora, is represented on our panel by his sons Turi and Tim Park.

Ngā Uruora, by Geoff Park“First published in 1995, Ngā Uruora took the study of New Zealand’s natural environment in radical new directions.”

“Part ecology, part history, part personal odyssey, Ngā Uruora offers a fresh perspective on our landscapes and our relationships with them. Geoff Park’s research focuses on New Zealand’s fertile coastal plains, country of rich opportunity for both Māori and European inhabitants, but country whose natural character has vanished from the experience of New Zealanders today.”

Description from VUP

Turi Park designed the powerful cover image for his late father’s book Ngā Uruora. He is a brand strategist, creative director and contemporary painter, with works held in both public and private collections. His paintings have been described as “large, layered and allusive”, exploring “the darkened fringes of our remaining forests.”

Tim Park is Manager at Ōtari-Wiltons Bush and an Environment Partnership Manager. He has an extensive background in ecological restoration and environmental programmes and has been involved in the Dune Restoration Trust, the Wellington Natural Heritage Trust and the National Wetland Trust of New Zealand.

Listen to Geoff on Radio NZ:

Ngā Uruora – The Groves of Life documentary on RNZ

Dr Rebecca Priestley

Fifteen Million Years in Antarctica, by Rebecca Priestley

Dr Rebecca Priestley was the inaugural Director of the Centre for Science in Society at Victoria University. Her 2019 work Fifteen Million Years in Antarctica has been called “an utterly engrossing, surprisingly relatable memoir combining science, awe, anxiety, family life — and the spectre of climate-change devastation”:

“Rebecca Priestley longs to be in Antarctica. But it is also the last place on Earth she wants to go. In 2011 Priestley visits the wide white continent for the first time, on a trip that coincides with the centenary of Robert Falcon Scott’s fateful trek to the South Pole. Writing against the backdrop of Trump’s America, extreme weather events, and scientists’ projections for Earth’s climate, she grapples with the truths we need to tell ourselves as we stand on a tightrope between hope for the planet, and catastrophic change.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

We’re really looking forward to an excellent panel discussion — all welcome and we’d love to see you there!

A Capital Crimespree: Newtown Mystery in the Library, 6pm April 30

Do you enjoy delving into some darkness in your reading?

The Ngaio Marsh Awards, in association with Wellington City Libraries, invites booklovers to a fun evening of criminally good conversation, featuring five outstanding local storytellers.

Three-time Ockham New Zealand Book Awards listee Brannavan Gnanalingam chairs a panel discussion with 2019 Ngaio Marsh Award and Ockham winner Dame Fiona Kidman, 2021 Ockham longlistee Sally J Morgan, and New York Times bestselling writing duo Dr Judy Melinek and TJ Michell. From crafting rich characters alongside exciting storylines to addressing real-life issues through their fiction, much will be revealed.

When: 6pm, Friday 30 April 2021
Where: Newtown Library, 13 Constable Street, Wellington 6021

This is a free event.

Dame Fiona Kidman has published over 30 books, including novels, poetry, non-fiction and a play. She has worked as a librarian, radio producer and critic and as a scriptwriter for radio, television and film. Her novel This Mortal Boy won the 2019 Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Novel as well as the Acorn Prize for Fiction, the NZ Booklovers Award and the NZSA Heritage Book Award.

Brannavan Gnanalingam is a Wellington lawyer and writer of fiction and non-fiction. His past three novels have all been listed for the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards; Sodden Downstream  was shortlisted in 2018. His latest novel Sprigs has been called a “scarily contemporary and realistic story… an extraordinary piece of writing” (Kim Hill, Radio NZ).

Sally J Morgan is a Professor at Massey University Wellington, conceptual artist, and cultural historian. She grew up in a Welsh mining town and as a young women was once offered a lift by the serial killers Fred and Rose West. Sally declined, but that experience planted the seeds for her debut novel Toto Among The Murderers, which is longlisted for the 2021 Acorn Prize for Fiction.

Dr Judy Melinek and TJ Mitchell are the husband-and-wife writing duo behind the Jessie Teska forensic mysteries and the New York Times bestselling non-fiction book Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the making of a medical examiner, based on Judy’s training with the Chief Medical Examiner in New York. TJ previously worked in the film industry.

Please note “Mature/ adult issues of a challenging nature” may be discussed.

This mortal boy / Kidman, Fiona
“Albert Black, known as the ‘jukebox killer’, was only twenty when he was convicted of murdering another young man in a fight at a milk bar in Auckland on 26 July 1955. His crime fuelled growing moral panic about teenagers, and he was to hang less than five months later, the second-to-last person to be executed in New Zealand. But what really happened? Was this a love crime, was it a sign of juvenile delinquency? Or was this dark episode in our recent history more about our society’s reaction to outsiders? Black’s final words, as the hangman covered his head, were, ‘I wish you all a merry Christmas, gentlemen, and a prosperous New Year.’ This is his story.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook .

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.”–cover.” (Catalogue)

Toto among the murderers / Morgan, Sally J
“‘It is 1973 and Jude – known to her friends as Toto – has just graduated from art school and moves into a house in a run-down part of Leeds. Jude is a chaotic wild child who flirts with the wrong kind of people, drinks too much and gets stoned too often. Never happy to stay in one place for very long, her restlessness takes her on hitchhiking jaunts up and down the country. Her best friend, Nel, is the only steady influence Jude has but Nel’s life isn’t as perfect as it seems. At the same time infamous murderers, Fred and Rosemary West, are stalking the country, on the lookout for girls like Jude.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Working stiff : two years, 262 bodies, and the making of a medical examiner / Melinek, Judy
” Dr. Judy Melinek began her training as a New York City forensic pathologist. While her husband and their toddler held down the home front, Judy threw herself into the fascinating world of death investigation–performing autopsies, investigating death scenes, counseling grieving relatives. Working Stiff chronicles Judy’s two years of training, taking readers behind the police tape of some of the most harrowing deaths in the Big Apple, including a firsthand account of the events of September 11.” (Catalogue)

 

 

Three times listed for the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards Brannavan Gnanalingam coming to Newtown Library

Three times listed for the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards, Brannavan Gnanalingam will be one of the authors coming to Newtown Library as part of our

Capital Crimespree: Newtown Mystery in the Library event in conjunction with Ngaio Marsh Awards. 

When: 6pm, Friday 30 April 2021

Where: Newtown Library, 13 Constable Street, Wellington 6021

This is a free event.

Our stellar line up also includes Dame Fiona Kidman one of the most highly acclaimed and celebrated authors in New Zealand,  Sally J Morgan longlisted for the 2021 Acorn Prize for Fiction  and Dr Judy Melinek and TJ Mitchell the husband-and-wife writing duo behind the Jessie Teska forensic mysteries. Dr Judy Melinek was part of the forensic team that investigated the 9/11 World Trade Centre site.

We’re so excited to be hosting all these crime-writing luminaries, that we are doing short profiles on all the authors involved.   Our next profile is Brannavan Gnanalingam.

Brannavan Gnanalingam is a Wellington lawyer and writer of fiction and non-fiction. His past three novels have all been listed for the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards; Sodden Downstream was shortlisted in 2018. His latest novel Sprigs is on the shortlist for this year’s Fiction award at the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards and is tipped to feature in the 2021 Ngaio Marsh awards.

If you are interested in crime fiction in any way this event promises to be unmissable and will undoubtedly reveal and  shed light on how these gifted authors craft characters, create exciting storylines and how they address real-life issues through their fiction.

Below is a selection of Brannavan Gnanalingam’s work we have available to borrow.

Click here for the Facebook event.

Please note “Mature/ adult issues of a challenging nature” may be discussed.

Getting under sail / Gnanalingam, Brannavan
“Brannavan Gnanalingam’s ‘Getting Under Sail’ tells the story of three New Zealanders on an ad hoc road-trip through West Africa. Starting in Morocco, the three aim to reach Ghana via Western Sahara, Mauritania, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Togo and Benin.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

 

 

You should have come here when you were not here / Gnanalingam, Brannavan
“The intriguing title of this novel by Wellington writer Brannavan Gnanalingam derives from a statement made by Parisians to their Nazi occupiers in World War II when the Germans expressed being underwhelmed by the attractions of the French capital. This postmodern travelogue tells the lonely tale of Veronica, a thirty-something asexual female journalist from New Zealand who travels to Paris late as a freelance journalist only to find the city indifferent to and from her.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

/ Gnanalingam, Brannavan
“‘Credit in the straight world’ charts the fortunes of Frank Tolland as he casts off an ignoble birth to become the singular leader of business and community in small-town New Zealand. Told through the eyes of his mute brother, George, this novel is a sharp and satirical account of a small-town finance company, and sweeps through the dramatic economic changes of the 20th and the 21st centuries”–Publisher’s information.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

 

A briefcase, two pies and a penthouse : a novel / Gnanalingam, Brannavan
“A Briefcase, Two Pies and a Penthouse looks at modern day spies in New Zealand. Instead of ‘Reds Under the Bed’, the new existential threat is Islamic terrorism – and the novel looks at a very New Zealand response to a global issue. Rachel McManus has just started at the New Zealand Alarm and Response Ministry. One of the few females working there, she is forced to traverse the peculiarities of Wellington bureaucracy, lascivious colleagues, and decades of sedimented hierarchy. She has the chance to prove herself by investigating a suspected terrorist, who they fear is radicalising impressionable youth and may carry out an attack himself on the nation’s capital.” (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)

Meet our Capital Crimespree panel for this Friday – Sally J Morgan

Do you enjoy delving into some darkness in your reading? The Ngaio Marsh Awards, in association with Wellington City Libraries, invites booklovers to a fun evening of criminally good conversation featuring five outstanding crime writers. This is a free event.

The exciting panel line-up includes Brannavan Gnanalingam, Dame Fiona Kidman, and Sally J Morgan, as well as forensic pathologist and author Judy Melinek together with her co-author and husband TJ Mitchell (authors of New York Times bestseller Working Stiff, and the Dr. Jessie Teska forensic mystery books).

What? A Capital Crimespree – Newtown Mystery in the Library Panel Discussion, an event in association with the Ngaio Marsh Awards.

When? 6pm, Friday 30 April

Where? Newtown Library, 13 Constable Street, Newtown

Facebook event link

We’re so excited to host all these crime-writing luminaries! To celebrate, we’re running a series of features on each of the writers involved. Next up is Sally J Morgan.

Acorn Prize longlisted author Sally J Morgan was born in the Welsh mining town of Abertyleri and describes her childhood as nomadic — following her father’s career in the motor trade across Britain. Sally graduated from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp and eventually moved to New Zealand where she is now a professor at Massey University in Wellington.

As a young woman she was once offered a lift by the serial killers Fred and Rose West. Sally declined, but that experience planted the seeds for her debut novel Toto Among the Murderers, which is longlisted for the 2021 Acorn Prize for Fiction:

Toto among the murderers / Morgan, Sally J

“It is 1973 and Jude – known to her friends as Toto – has just graduated from art school and moves into a house in a run-down part of Leeds. Jude is a chaotic wild child who flirts with the wrong kind of people, drinks too much and gets stoned too often. Never happy to stay in one place for very long, her restlessness takes her on hitchhiking jaunts up and down the country. Her best friend, Nel, is the only steady influence Jude has but Nel’s life isn’t as perfect as it seems.”

“Reports of attacks on women punctuate the news and Jude takes off again, suffocated by an affair she has been having with a married woman. But what she doesn’t realise is that the violence is moving ever closer to home: there is Janice across the road who lives in fear of being beaten up again by her pimp and Nel, whose perfect life is coming undone at her boyfriend’s hands. At the same time infamous murderers, Fred and Rosemary West, are stalking the country, on the lookout for girls like Jude.” (Catalogue)

More Event Author Profiles

Internationally celebrated New Zealand author Dame Fiona Kidman coming to Newtown Library

Facebook Event LInk

Internationally celebrated New Zealand author Dame Fiona Kidman will be one of the authors coming to Newtown Library as part of our

Capital Crimespree: Newtown Mystery in the Library,
in conjunction with Ngaio Marsh Awards. 

When: 6pm Friday 30 April 2021

Where: Newtown Library, 13 Constable Street, Wellington 6021

This is a free event.

Our stellar line up also includes three-time Ockham New Zealand Book Awards listed author Brannavan Gnanalingam, longlisted 2021 Acorn Prize for Fiction nominee Sally J Morgan and Dr Judy Melinek and TJ Mitchell, the husband-and-wife writing duo behind the Jessie Teska forensic mysteries. Dr Judy Melinek was part of the forensic team that investigated the 9/11 World Trade Center site.

We’re so excited to be hosting each of these crime-writing luminaries that we are doing short profiles on all of the authors involved. Our next profile is Dame Fiona Kidman.

Dame Fiona Kidman is one of the most highly acclaimed and celebrated authors in New Zealand. She has an OBE and DNZM for services to literature as well as the French honours the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Artes et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters) and the Légion d’Honneur (French Legion of Honour).

Kidman’s contribution to literature in Aotearoa/New Zealand is vast. Since publishing her first novel in 1970, she has gone on to create a large, powerful and imaginative body of work ranging from novels to short stories, memoirs to poetry, plays to radio series. She has won a huge range of awards, fellowships and residencies and has won the New Zealand Book Award on four separate occasions!

This Mortal Boy, her most recent novel, won the 2019 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize, the NZ Booklovers Award, the NZSA Heritage Book Award for Fiction and the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel.

If you are interested in crime fiction in any way this event promises to be unmissable and will undoubtedly reveal and  shed light on how these gifted authors craft characters, create exciting storylines and how they address real-life issues through their fiction.

Below is just a very small selection of Dame Fiona Kidman’s work we have available to borrow.

Click here for the Facebook event.

Please note, mature/ adult issues of a challenging nature may be discussed.

The infinite air / Kidman, Fiona
“The rise and fall of ‘the Garbo of the skies’, as told by one of New Zealand’s finest novelists. Jean Batten became an international icon in the 1930s. A brave, beautiful woman, she made a number of heroic solo flights across the world. The newspapers couldn’t get enough of her; and yet she suddenly slipped out of view, disappearing to the Caribbean with her mother and dying in obscurity in Majorca, buried in a pauper’s grave.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

 

True stars. / Kidman, Fiona
“Rose Kendall is alone. She is alienated from her children, her friends, and her political ideals, and there is someone trying to scare her – she doesn’t know why and she doesn’t know who.” (Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

 

 

The book of secrets / Kidman, Fiona
“In 1853, a group of settlers established a community at Waipu in the northern part of New Zealand. They were led there by a stern preacher, Norman McLeod. The community had followed him from Scotland in 1817 to found a settlement in Nova Scotia, then subsequently to New Zealand via Australia.   – Isabella, her daughter Annie and granddaughter Maria. McLeod’s harsh leadership meant that anyone who ran counter to him had to live a life of secrets. The ‘secrets’ encapsulated the spirit of these women in their varied reactions to McLeod’s strict edicts and connect the past to the present and future.” (Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

 

This mortal boy / Kidman, Fiona
“Albert Black, known as the ‘jukebox killer’, was only twenty when he was convicted of murdering another young man in a fight at a milk bar in Auckland on 26 July 1955. His crime fuelled growing moral panic about teenagers, and he was to hang less than five months later, the second-to-last person to be executed in New Zealand. But what really happened? Was this a love crime, was it a sign of juvenile delinquency? Or was this dark episode in our recent history more about our society’s reaction to outsiders?” (Adapted from Catalogue)Also available as an eBook

Crime-writing duo Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell coming to Newtown Library

You may have heard American forensic pathologist and crime writer Judy Melinek and her husband and co-author TJ Mitchell interviewed by Kim Hill on Radio New Zealand at the end of March. They’re the writing sensations behind the Jessie Teska forensic mystery books — and they’re coming to Newtown Library!

The couple will part of a panel discussion in an exciting line-up that includes three-time Ockhams New Zealand Book Awards listee Brannavan Gnanalingam, 2019 Ngaio Marsh Award and Ockhams winner Dame Fiona Kidman, and 2021 Ockhams long listee Sally J Morgan.

What? A Capital Crimespree – Newtown Mystery in the Library Panel Discussion, an event in association with the Ngaio Marsh Awards.

When? 6pm, Friday 30 April

Where? Newtown Library, 13 Constable Street, Newtown

Facebook Event Link

We’re so excited to host all these crime-writing luminaries, and in subsequent posts we’ll be profiling them all, but because they were recently interviewed on Radio New Zealand, we thought we’d kick off our panellist profiles with Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell — two authors with storied pasts who relocated to Wellington from America in July 2020.

Judy Melinek is a doctor and forensic pathologist who trained in forensics at the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner. Her working life is the subject of the memoir Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner, co-authored with her husband, writer T.J. Mitchell, and the two also collaborate on their series of novels featuring medical examiner Jessie Teska. Today Dr. Melinek performs autopsies as a forensic pathologist in Wellington, New Zealand.

T.J. Mitchell, as well as being a bestselling author, also has a past as a scriptwriter for Hollywood. To hear more about their remarkable lives and times and how actual forensic practice informs their fictional works, pop along to our Newtown Mystery in the Library event!

Listen to Kim Hill’s interview with this intriguing pair of authors (18 min.)

Please note “Mature/ adult issues of a challenging nature” may be discussed.

Browse their work below:

Working stiff : two years, 262 bodies, and the making of a medical examiner / Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell
“Dr. Judy Melinek began her training as a New York City forensic pathologist. While her husband and their toddler held down the home front, Judy threw herself into the fascinating world of death investigation–performing autopsies, investigating death scenes, including a firsthand account of the events of September 11, the subsequent anthrax bio-terrorism attack, and the disastrous crash of American Airlines Flight 587. An unvarnished portrait of the daily life of medical examiners–complete with grisly anecdotes and chilling crime scenes” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.First cut : a novel / Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell
“For San Francisco’s newest medical examiner, Dr Jessie Teska, it was supposed to be a fresh start. A new job in a new city. A way to escape her own dark past. Instead she faces a chilling discovery when a suspected overdose case contains hints of something more sinister. Jessie’s superiors urge her to close the case, but as more bodies land on her autopsy table, she uncovers a constellation of deaths that point to an elaborate plot involving nefarious opioid traffickers and flashy tech titans who got rich off Bitcoin. Autopsy means ‘see for yourself,’ and Jessie Teska won’t stop until she has seen it all – even if it means the next corpse on the table could be her own.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.Aftershock / Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell
“At first glance, the death appears to be an accident. The body, located on a construction site, rests under a collapsed beam. But when Dr Jessie Teska arrives on the scene, she notices the telltale signs of a staged death. The victim has been murdered. A rising star in the San Francisco forensics world, Jessie is ready to unravel the case, help bring the murderer to justice and prevent them from potentially striking again. But when a major earthquake hits San Francisco right before Halloween, Jessie and the rest of the city are left reeling. And even if she emerges from the rubble, there’s no guaranteeing she’ll make it out alive. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Talk and draw with Tara Black in discussion with Dylan Horrocks – Saturday 17 April

If you’re a graphic artist, zine creator or comic book fan, this event is a must-see! Come along to hear Tara Black in conversation with Dylan Horrocks. Part workshop, part overview, part discussion — join us for what promises to be a fabulous, informative, and entertaining event.

Facebook Event Link

What? Talk and draw with Tara Black in discussion with Dylan Horrocks

When? Saturday 17 April, 1-2pm

Where? Johnsonville Library, 34 Moorefield Rd, Johnsonville

Picture of Tara Black, link to her websiteTara Black is one of the most distinctive and unique graphic artists working in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Alongside her excellent webcomics (we’re particularly partial to The Blue Fury, in which the ghosts of Janet Frame and Katherine Mansfield get their kicks out of haunting a first-year English teacher), Tara is known for doing live illustrations of events around Wellington City. Tara’s work appears in Booknotes, The Sapling and Stasis Journal. Her first book of graphic works This Is Not A Pipe was published in November 2020 by VUP.

Picture of Dylan Horrocks, link to his websiteThe Eisner Award-winning Dylan Horrocks, of course, is one of the most talented and versatile cartoonists working in the scene today. His works range from the meta-comic tour-de-force that is Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen (VUP, 2014) to the iconic Hicksville (Black Eye Comics, 1998), which we  believe draws some inspiration from  Hastings, which may have been briefly known as Hicksville in the early 1870s, with a healthy dose of work on the Batman and Batgirl comics in the early-mid 2000s.

View this event on Facebook

Pride Festival : Queer Experience and Expression event 5.30pm today

Come along to Te Awe Library on the 25th of March to hear from a variety of local queer and takatāpui artists about their experiences through their unique form of artistic expression. Celebrate the LGBTQI+ perspective that comes through in all varieties of expression.

Facebook event link for Queer Experience and Expression

Event Details

What? Queer Experience and Expression

When? Thursday, 25 March at 5:30pm

Where? Te Awe Library, 29B Brandon Street

About the panellists

For more information, check out the panellist bios below — assembled by the fantastic team at Te Awe Library!

Dr Elizabeth Kerekere

Dr Elizabeth Kerekere (she/her) is of Ngāti Oneone, Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki, Te Whānau a Kai, Rongowhakaata and Ngāi Tāmanuhiri. She is an artist, LGBTQ+ activist, scholar and Green Party MP. Elizabeth’s mahi exemplifies her as mana wāhine, using her leadership to hold space for marginalised groups in Aotearoa.

Elizabeth has been a facilitator of community-based activist work for over 40 years, engaging with kaupapa Māori, Te Tiriti and rainbow issues. She has also amplified this activity internationally, including at the United Nations in Geneva. She is now a representative of parliament as part of the proudest rainbow caucus in the world.

Dr Elizabeth Kerekere, MP, Parliament Profile

The mahi of Elizabeth is legendary, producing major work in mental health and takatāpui identity. Her research intersects the experience of those in both Māori and rainbow communities, focusing on mana tūpuna, mana wāhine and mana takatāpui. This work interrogates the colonial assault on traditional Māori configurations of sexuality and how the continued control of sexuality is a form of persevering colonisation.

Elizabeth shows us that the marginalisation of sexuality is a Te Tiriti issue, an issue of colonial practices, and with her vibrant style, that you can challenge human rights issues with both power and flair.

If you would like to experience the fierce Elizabeth herself, she will be speaking at ‘Queer Experience and Expression’. See you there!

Profile by Hannah


Sam Orchard

Te Awe Library has the exciting opportunity to host Sam Orchard (he/him) at a Wellington Pride Festival speaker event!

Sam Orchard's website

Sam is a queer transgender man who writes comics and illustrations that celebrate difference. He has worked on many major national campaigns that have challenged barriers to inclusion for a variety of communities, including We Are Beneficiaries and Out Loud Aotearoa. He is the author of Rooster Tails that has been running for over 10 years; and Family Portraits, a comic series that amplifies the stories of intersectional identities within Aotearoa’s rainbow communities. These works are informative, reach deeply into the personal and are fun to read.

Sam’s mahi exemplifies the power of communication to enable change. The We Are Beneficiaries campaign brought the experience of marginalised people into the mainstream and took it to the top, being submitted to Parliament. The major impact of this campaign was cultural, with the key device being the social media presence of Sam’s illustrations. These illustrations used storytelling to communicate diverse and overlooked experiences within the welfare system and amplified the demand for compassionate treatment of all welfare recipients. This campaign is an example of how Sam’s work uses art and narrative as a resource for making complex ideas accessible and inclusive, representing the experiences outside of the mainstream.

This speaker embodies that the personal is political so if you want to hear more, Sam will be at our ‘Queer Expression and Experience’ talk at Te Awe Library!

Profile by Hannah


Olga Lapin

Olga Lapin (she/her) is a Wellington-based artist and musician speaking at ‘Queer Expression and Experience’. Under her @asunder.sweet name she creates dark collage art, expressing how she overcomes pain through strength and willpower. She also designs album covers, band tees, and gig posters for other musicians.

Olga releases solo music as Bodyache. Bodyache is a long-time catharsis project for her mental health, exploring trauma and identity. This month she released a collection of remixes, live set recordings, and harsh noise songs called The Flesh Remixed. This project is a return to her 2018 EP: Vehement Suffering.

She is part of two bands: Marrowspawn and Coerced. They’re a grindcore band and a skramz band respectively. Both are playing at Valhalla for CubaDupa!

You can hear Olga discuss queer expression and experience with our other speakers at Te Awe Library on Thursday the 25th of March. This event is part of our Pride Week event series.

Profile by Emerson

Upcoming Event: Capital Crimes – Karori Mystery in the Library 9th April

Are you a fan of mysteries? The Ngaio Marsh Awards, in association with Wellington City Libraries, invites booklovers to a fun evening of criminally good conversation, featuring four acclaimed local storytellers. This is a free event.

Event details

What? A panel discussion with local authors Jennifer Lane (2018 Ngaio Marsh Award Winner, panel chair), Rajorshi Chakraborti, Helen Vivienne Fletcher, and Rodney Strong, on how they craft memorable characters and page-turning storylines, and infuse their books with real-life issues and insights into people and society

When? 6pm, Friday 9 April 2021

Where? Karori Library, 247 Karori Road, Wellington

Pictures of authors together with their book covers, superimposed over a picture of Wellington harbour

About the panel

Jennifer Lane

Catalogue link: All our secrets, by Jennifer Lane

Jennifer Lane is a copywriter, short story writer and author. Her short stories have been published in journals and magazines in New Zealand and Australia. Jennifer’s debut novel, All Our Secrets, won the 2018 Ngaio Marsh Award for Best First Novel.

Rajorshi Chakraborti

Catalogue link: Shakti, by Rajorshi Chakraborti

Rajorshi Chakraborti is a novelist, essayist and short story writer who grew up in Calcutta and Mumbai. The author of six novels, he was longlisted for the 2019 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. His latest novel Shakti is a supernatural mystery thriller set in India.

Helen Vivienne Fletcher

Catalogue link: Broken Silence, by Helen Vivienne Fletcher

Helen Vivienne Fletcher is a playwright, poet, writing teacher and children’s author. She has been shortlisted for the Joy Cowley Award, was named Outstanding Young Playwright at the Wellington Theatre Awards and was a finalist for the 2018 Ngaio Marsh Awards.

Rodney Strong

Catalogue link: Troy's possibilities, by Rodney Strong

Rodney Strong is a Porirua author who left his day job in 2016 to follow his lifelong dream of being a writer. He has now published ten novels for children and adults, including four Ghostly Hitchhiker mysteries and three Silvermoon Retirement Village mysteries.


Don’t forget to check out our second Ngaio Marsh Awards event later in the month — A Capital Crimespree – Newtown Mystery in the Library (6pm on April 30th at Newtown Library), featuring Brannavan Gnanalingam, Dame Fiona Kidman, Sally J Morgan and New York Times bestselling writing duo Dr Judy Melinek and T.J Michell. Both events are unmissable!

Neighbours Day Aotearoa is just around the corner

Neighbours Day Aotearoa 2021 runs from March 20-March 30th this year, and the theme is The Great Plant Swap to support neighbourhoods to growing stronger together. We’ve lined up an inspiring list of books to spark your creative ideas, from help with your own garden plants to ideas for activities. Share a plate with your neighbours and also grow connections on this Neighbours Day. Or, it’s never too late to plant something now to share later.


The sharing solution : how to save money, simplify your life & build community, by Janelle Orsi.
Sharing is the answer! This book is packed with heaps of ideas to connect with your neighbours :
Meals and food, through bulk buying clubs, meal-sharing arrangements, community gardens, neighbourhood fruit harvests, household goods, a book club, tools and toys to appliances and exercise equipment, car-pooling, caregiving for pets, children, older family members, or relatives with disabilities…. the list could go on. The ultimate beauty of sharing is that it’s a solution we create for ourselves.

Day walks of Greater Wellington, by Marios Gavalas.
Consider sharing transport to go on walks together. This book is a really helpful guide to over 70 walks (with approx times and grades) divided into 5 regional sections – across Otaki, Wellington city, the eastern bays, Wainuiomata Valley and the Hutt Valley. Illustrated with maps and plenty of photographs, this is a handy tool to choose the right path for the day.

The everything plant-based meal prep cookbook : 200 easy, make-ahead recipes featuring plant-based ingredients, by Diane Smith
“Enjoy hundreds of delicious plant-based recipes to mix and match with your meal prepping, like: Tropical Spinach Smoothie, sheet Pan Ratatoville with Creamy Polenta, Cauliflower-Sweet Potato Mash, Pan-Seared Artichoke Hearts with Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Loaded Tahini-Spiced Potato Skins, Chocolate-Orange Zucchini Cake, and tasty meals for every part of the day!” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

The LEGO neighborhood book : build your own town! by Brian Lyles.
Pool your LEGO resources to build on a much larger scale! Try your hand at creating your own neighborhood in miniature. Add buildings, shops, and then design the interiors by filling your buildings with furniture and light fixtures, as well as the finishing touches to your models with plants, traffic lights, scaffolding, and park benches.

Modern potluck : beautiful food to share, by Kristin Donnelly.
This updates the potluck concept into a new generation, These 100 make-ahead recipes are perfect for a crowd and navigate carnivore, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, and vegan preferences gracefully. With beautiful color photographs and lots of practical information such as how to pack foods to travel, Modern Potluck is the ultimate book for gathering friends and family around an abundant, delicious meal.

Root, nurture, grow : the essential guide to propagating and sharing houseplants, by Caro Langton,
The handbook is a practical guide with step by step instructions on how to make the most of your favourite houseplants through simple, propagation techniques. There are also welcome techniques projects including homemade rooting mediums, seed-bombs, and a self-watering plant pot. Share your plants with neighbours by making beautiful gifts and displays.

The thrifty pantry : budget-saver family favourites from under $2.50 per serve This cookbook is for the thrifty minded, with 100 recipes using common staple ingredients. Each recipe is helpfully costed out, this tailor made for cooking on a budget or at short notice. Chapters are organised into cost per serve plus there’s a handy recipe key for gluten free, vegetarian and freeze-ahead meals.

On this weekend! The Garden Party, a new summer festival

A new summer festival is coming to Pōneke and it is happening this weekend ( 2oth and 21st Feb) , organised by the wonderful people who have brought us the Verb Festival and The Spinoff. It’s called The Garden Party, and it promises to be a fabulous celebration of music, talks and food aimed at the whole family.

To give you a taste of  just one of the many unmissable delights on offer we have a very exclusive sneak peek at just one of the many highlights:- Navigating the Stars by Taki Rua Productions and Witi Ihimaera. This event integrates readings and live music to bring Māori creation myths vividly to be life.

Navigating the Stars – Taki Rua Productions and Witi Ihimaera

Verb Wellington in partnership with Taki Rua Productions bring Witi Ihimaera’s new book Navigating The Stars off the page, in a special Garden Party performance reading with live music directed and led by Maiava Nathaniel Lees.

Sunday 21 February, 10am

Other Highlights include:

Songs, Stories, Sass and Splash — Sacha Cotter & Josh Morgan in The Treehouse
Illustrator Josh Morgan (Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki, Rongowhakaata) and author Sacha Cotter together are the amazing storytelling/songwriting/award-winning-picture-book-making team, Cotter & Morgan. Together they have created Keys/Ngā Kī, The Marble Maker/Te Kaihanga Māpere, and the 2019 Margaret Mahy Book of the Year, The Bomb/Te Pohū – all published by HUIA. Sunday 21 February

11.30am: Watch out for Sacha and Josh in the Big Fun Family Quiz

12.10pm: Songs, Stories, Sass & SPLASH with Sacha Cotter & Josh Morgan in the Treehouse

Big Fun Family Quiz — with hosts Toby Morris & Toby Manhire
Toby Morris & Toby Manhire (The Spinoff) host a quiz full of fun questions for the whole family with special cameo guests. Win prizes, come dressed as your favourite book characters for bonus points. Sunday 21 February, 11.30am

 

Plus there are loads of other activities planned too (flag makingnature activity fun with Rachel Haydon, a treasure huntstring ‘o’ spells, and the nature activity book walking tour), so keep an eye out for the full timetable on Verb Wellington’s The Garden Party webpage.

So, gather friends and whānau and come along to the Botanic Garden Soundshell on the 20th and 21st of February for a weekend full of the interesting and the delicious!

Renée in conversation with Rachel McAlpine, Friday 5 March

Update:

Because of the move to COVID Alert Level 2 as of 28 February in Wellington, this event is no longer going ahead this week. We’re hoping to hold this later in the year. Stay safe Wellington!

We are delighted to announce that on Friday 5 March at 6pm we will be hosting a very special event at Newtown Library with a rangatira of Aotearoa literature and theatre — Renée. Renée will be interviewed by fellow multi-award winning poet, novelist and playwright, Rachel McAlpine.

This event is in association with Wellington publisher Mākaro Press.

Link to Read NZ's profile of writer Renée
Photo copyright Doug Lilly.

About Renée

Born in 1929 in Napier, Renée is of Ngati Kahungunu and Irish-English-Scots ancestry. She left school and started work at the age of 12; has worked in woollen mills, a printing factory, a grocery-dairy, and as a feature writer and reviewer; and completed a BA at the University of Auckland in 1979.

She has described herself as a ‘lesbian feminist with socialist working-class ideas’ and most of her writing is a direct expression of that conviction. Her plays, short stories and novels are characterized by their direct approach to women’s experience, whether lesbian, feminist, historical, or rooted in memoir.

Catalogue link: These Two Hands, by RenéeRachel McAlpine's website

Renée has so far written over twenty highly acclaimed plays — many of them works that humanise and center working-class people and feature women in leading roles. As well, she has published (so far) nine fiction works, including  most recently The Wild Card, which was shortlisted for the 2020 Ngaio Marsh Awards.

Her amazing life is documented in detail in her recently updated autobiography These Two Hands — which we highly recommend.

This is a rare opportunity to hear an iconic author talk about her remarkable life and times and is not to be missed by anyone interested in New Zealand literature, theatre or the history of our cultural scene! Renée will be interviewed by fellow multi award-winning poet, novelist and playwright Rachel McAlpine.

We wish to extend our most heartfelt thanks to Renée and Rachel — we’re so looking forward to your conversation!

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 and her only lead is a notebook that uses the symbols on playing cards to tell a story she can’t understand. 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.”

Browse more by Renée

How to be old : poems / McAlpine, Rachel
“Wellington writer Rachel McAlpine blogs and podcasts about living and ageing and is celebrating her 80th birthday with a book of poems. How to Be Old is an explosion of humanity on the page with some practical tips from the author and sage advice from Elsie aged five.” (Catalogue)

Browse more by Rachel

‘Cooking the books’ with Professor Val McDermid

‘What has Queen of crime fiction Professor Val McDermid been doing during lockdown?’… could easily  be one of the questions we ask Val in our upcoming Q & A session.

We already know at least part of the answer to this question: Val has been ‘cooking the books’ in a series of delicious, brilliant and funny videos where she shows you how to cook dishes originally prepared by the characters in her novels.

Have a watch of her video recipe for Hamish’s ‘hipster porridge’, which also includes a reading of an extract from her sixth ‘Karen Pirie’ novel, Still Life. Bonus fact — she uses a spurtle from New Zealand to make the porridge!

You can find out more about Val’s lockdown activities (and find loads more criminally good recipes besides!) by visiting her website — valmcdermid.com.

And if you’ve ever wanted to ask Val a question, now’s your chance! Val has kindly agreed to answer questions from her Wellington readers in a Q&A with the library to be recorded on video and released online later this month.

Send us your questions for Val by Wednesday 10 February and we’ll do our best to get them answered. A big thank you to Val McDermid for agreeing to do this Q & A session!

Email a question — enquiries@wcl.govt.nz

You can also send a question via:

Love Val’s books? Have a browse of our extensive Val McDermid collection available for borrowing:

Val McDermid on the Library Catalogue

Keep an eye out for our Val McDermid interview coming soon!

牛年快乐

图像来源   Pixabay  网站的PublicDomainPictures

2021 是中国新年的牛年,从公历的 2月12号开始。牛是十二生肖的第2个动物。 传说所有的动物赛跑,前12个动物会成为12生肖。老鼠站在牛的耳朵上过了河,在到终点以前跳下,成为了第一名。牛就成了第二。在中国文化中, 牛有非常正面的意义的因为它在农业上的贡献和拥有很多好的性格,例如诚实和勤劳。作为部分中国新年庆祝活动,为了聚焦悠久而丰富的中国文化,图书馆特别选出得了一些广受好评的中国文学作品。我们也馆藏了大量的中文书籍 点击这里。祝春节和阅读愉快。

Click here for English version

Hong gao liang jia zu / Mo, Yan 红高粱/莫言
“红高粱是一个集家庭,神话,和记忆为一体的小说。故事发生在自相残杀的1930年,当时中国正在和日本打仗,也在进行内战。在文化大革命的末期,一个年轻人讲述了他父亲,窦官;他的爷爷,臭名昭著的凶悍的土匪和游击队将领的故事。他爷爷爱上了女指挥官,并在她包办婚姻的三天后在红高粱地发生的故事。”(译于英文书评)

Deng dai / Jin, Ha 等待/哈金
一个专注又有野心的医生,孔林,爱上了一个有教育的现代女性 吴曼娜。但是在他年轻的时候, 他的家庭为他选了一个妻子。在决策的整个过程中,让人想起了人们渴望的需求与数百年来智慧的重压而抗争的地方。(译于英文书评)

Di qi tian / Yu, Hua 第七天/余华
杨飞生于一个火车。被他的母亲抛弃,后被一个瑞士年轻人收养,在简单有爱心的环境中长大,他完全没有预备好等待着他和他的国家的暴风雨般的巨变。作为一个年轻人,他寻找着在这个持续自我改造的国家中属于他的位置,却一直处于社会的边缘。在他41岁的时候, 他遇到了一个意外的没有仪式的死亡。他没有钱安葬,所以必须没有目的的无休游走在后世。在七天的过程以后,他遇到了他失去的人们的灵魂。点击阅读英文电子书(译于英文书评)

Ling shan. / Gao, Xingjian 灵山/高行健
诺贝尔奖2000文学奖获得者。‘灵山’是一个优雅难忘的小说,带你的心深深的进入现代中国。交织着无数故事和数不清的难忘人物 -从可敬的道家大师和尼姑, 到神话中的野人,致命的七步蛇, 和放屁的公车。这是主人公的凄美旅程和对自由的寻找。慢慢的,在记忆,想象和感觉的帮助下,他重建了他的个人过去。他哀叹着文化革命对人文和物理生态的对中国的影响。”(译于英文书评)

Balzac and the little Chinese seamstress / Sijie, Dai (英语)巴尔扎克和小裁缝/戴思杰
“在毛的文化革命的高潮,两个年轻人被下放‘再教育’。他们只有一个小提琴可以休闲,不久,一个裁缝的年轻漂亮的女儿和一摞外国小说出现了。他们都是医生的儿子,现在到山顶上再教育,而在教育的工作是向上和向下在陡峭的山坡推整桶的排泄物。相反,他们发现了资产阶级文学和当地裁缝的女儿的低调的魅力。”(译自英文书评)点击查看电影

Jinling shi san chai : chang pian xiao shuo / Yan, Geling 金陵十三钗/严歌伶
“这部短篇小说是由南京大屠杀中的一个真实故事改编的。发生在1937年日军侵略中国的城市。它讲述了一个美国的传教士,发现在胆战心惊的几天中,自己在教会里正在保护一群中国女学生,妓女和受伤的中国士兵。”点击聆听中文有声读物 (译于英文书评)

Huo zhe / Yu, Hua 活着/余华
“在赌博窝点和妓院挥霍了家族的财富后,年青的富贵安顿下来,老实地做一个农民的工作。在国民党军队的逼迫下,他见证了内战的恐怖和匮乏,几年后又回到文革的蹂躏中,面对一连串的苦难。富贵以一头牛作为他最后几年的伴生,他成为了一个硬汉的真实的典范,在这种谦卑的力量的叙述中,他对生命的欣赏有鼓舞的力量。”(译自英文书评) 点击查看电影

San ti / Liu, Cixin  三体/刘慈欣
“获得雨果奖 最佳长篇奖。故事发生在文化大革命时期,一个秘密军事项目向宇宙发送信号以和外星人建立联系。一个濒临毁灭的外星人捕获了信号,并计划入侵 地球。同时在地球上形成了不同的阵营, 有的欢迎高级生物来掌控已经腐败的地球; 有的想抵抗侵略。”(译自英文书评)

The year of the Ox

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

2021 will be the year of the Ox and begins on the 12th February in the Western Calendar.

The Ox is second of the 12-year cycle of animals that appear in the Chinese zodiac. The legend is that there was a race between all the animals to reach the Heavenly Gate and the first twelve in the race would go into the Zodiac. Rat having crossed a river in the Ox’s ear jumped out at the last minute to become the first animal in the race with the Ox coming second. In Chinese culture, the Ox is seen in a very positive light because of its role in agriculture with having many positive attributes such as being honest and hardworking.

As part of our Chinese New Year celebrations and to highlight this rich and ancient culture we have highlighted just a few of the most critically acclaimed Chinese novels in English we have available to borrow. We also have an extensive collection of books in Chinese as well as loads of other Chinese resources and items. Enjoy and Happy New Year!

点击这里查看中文版


Red sorghum / Mo, Yan
“Red Sorghum is a novel of family, myth, and memory, set during the fratricidal barbarity of the 1930s, when the Chinese battled both Japanese invaders and each other. [It is] narrated by a young man at the end of the cultural revolution who tells the stories of his father, Douguan; his granddad, the most ruthless and infamous bandit and guerrilla commander in the region; and his grandma who fell in love with the commander when he raped her in the sorghum fields, only three days after her arranged marriage.”(Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Waiting / Jin, Ha
“Lin Kong, a devoted and ambitious doctor, is in love with an educated, modern woman, Mannu Wu. But, his family chose a wife for him when he was young. Tracing these lives through their summer of decision, this work conjures the texture of daily life in a place where the demands of human longing must contend with the weight of centuries of wisdom.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The seventh day / Yu, Hua
“Yang Fei was born on a moving train. Lost by his mother, adopted by a young switchman, raised with simplicity and love, he is utterly unprepared for the tempestuous changes that await him and his country. As a young man, he searches for a place to belong in a nation that is ceaselessly reinventing itself, but he remains on the edges of society. At age forty-one, he meets an accidental and unceremonious death. Lacking the money for a burial plot, he must roam the afterworld aimlessly, without rest. Over the course of seven days, he encounters the souls of the people he’s lost.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Soul mountain = Ling shan / Gao, Xingjian
“Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature 2000.  ‘Soul Mountain’ is an elegant, unforgettable novel that journeys deep into the heart of modern-day China.Interwoven with a myriad of stories and countless memorable characters – from venerable Daoist masters and Buddhist nuns to mythical Wild Men, deadly Qichun snakes, and farting buses – is the narrator’s poignant inner journey and search for freedom. Slowly, with the help of memory, imagination, and sensory experience, he reconstructs his personal past. He laments the impact of the Cultural Revolution on the ecology – both human and physical – of China.” ( Adapted from Catalogue)

Balzac and the little Chinese seamstress / Sijie, Dai
“At the height of Mao’s Cultural Revolution, two boys are exiled to the countryside for “reeducation.” But the boys have a violin to distract them – as well as, before long, a beautiful young tailor’s daughter and a stash of Western classics. Two boys, both sons of doctors, are sent to the top of a mountain for re-education in Mao’s China; an education that involves carting buckets of excrement up and down precipitous paths. They discover instead the discreet charm of bourgeois literature and the local tailor’s attractive daughter.” (Catalogue) Click here to borrow the film adaptation.

The flowers of war / Yan, Geling
“This short novel is based on true events that took place during the Nanking Massacre in 1937 when the Japanese invaded the Chinese city. It tells the story of an American missionary who, for a few terrifying days, finds himself sheltering a group of schoolgirls, prostitutes and wounded Chinese soldiers in the compound of his church.” (Catalogue) Click here to see the availability of the film adaptation.

Overdrive cover To Live, Yu Hua (ebook)
“After squandering his family’s fortune in gambling dens and brothels, the young, deeply penitent Fugui settles down to do the honest work of a farmer. Forced by the Nationalist Army to leave behind his family, he witnesses the horrors and privations of the Civil War, only to return years later to face a string of hardships brought on by the ravages of the Cultural Revolution. Left with an ox as the companion of his final years, Fugui stands as a model of flinty authenticity, buoyed by his appreciation for life in this narrative of humbling power.” (Adapted from Overdrive description) Click here to see the availability of the film adaptation.

The three-body problem / Liu, Cixin
“A Hugo-Award winning tour de force”  Set against the backdrop of China’s Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt, or to fight against the invasion. ” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an Audiobook.

Grab a bargain at this weekend’s book sale!

Wellington City Libraries is having its first big sale of withdrawn books, magazines, CDs and DVDs since 2019 and there will be bargains galore for everyone!

The sale will be at the Ngaio Town Hall (1 Ottawa Rd – map) on:

  • Friday 29th Jan, 10am to 6pm
  • Saturday 30th Jan, 10am to 4pm
  • Sunday 31st Jan, 10am to 4pm
As at each previous sale, stock will be replenished each day of the event –  ensuring there are always fresh bargains to be found. With prices mainly around 50c and $1, you really don’t want to miss out.

Come and find some treasures!