View Finders Photo Competition for Kids and Teens

View Finders

View Finders - Child with a DSLR camera

This April School Holidays, tell us a story by taking a photo!

From the 16th of April to the 1st of May, we’re running View Finders — a photo competition for tamariki and rangatahi across Wellington City. There are heaps of cool prizes to be won — and a special exhibition to take part in at the end!

We’re taking submissions in three categories: Nature, Whānau, and Objects/Books, and in two age groups, 5-12 and 13-18.

Continue reading “View Finders Photo Competition for Kids and Teens”

Interview: Legendary musician David Long

Photo of David Long against a light yellow circle and his latest album art.


David Long is a legend in the New Zealand music scene. He started his musical career performing in the Braille Collective, in bands such as Six Volts and Jungle, and was a founding member of The Mutton Birds with Don McGlashan. These days, Long can be found working in a very wide spectrum of musical activities.

Long did compositional music for contemporary dance pieces working extensively with choreographer Douglas Wright. He works on the musical, soundscape side for a whole host of television and film projects; he has worked with Peter Jackson and has played some part in every one of his film for the last twenty years, including Lord of the Rings trilogy.  Long even worked with Brian Eno on the soundtrack to The Lovely Bones.

He also does a lot of production work, having produced many of New Zealand’s finest musicians and ,recently, doing production work for the recently formed Oro record label.

Long has worked on a wide range of collaborative projects, such as with Richard Nunn and Natalia Mann on the album Utterance. He has also just released a new work of his own, titled Ash and Bone. He has also won several silver scroll APRA awards, amongst many other musical accolades. Basically, in musical terms , Long has excelled at everything and so when we got the chance to interview him, we jumped at it.

Coming soon, we have an exclusive filmed interview with Long where we talk all things musical. For now, to whet your appetite, we recently had the pleasure of interviewing Long in conjunction with the Caffeine and Aspirin on Radioactive FM about his new album, Ash and Bone, and various other aspects of his career. Below is the podcast of that interview for your enjoyment:

We are thrilled that Long has taken time out from his very busy schedule to talk to us about his new release, his career, and all things musical. We extend our heartfelt thanks. Keep an eye out for our filmed interview coming soon!

For more information on David, visit https://www.davidlongnz.com/

And for more information on Rattle records, visit https://rattle.co.nz/


Envy of angels [1 CD] / Mutton Birds
“Envy of Angels could have been recorded ten years earlier considering its invocation of the new south — in particular the moodiness of Dumptruck — not to mention similarities to more commercial guitar rock of the same period […] Perhaps it isn’t a coincidence that Hugh Jones, who also worked with Dumptruck, produced Envy of Angels. He renders the Mutton Birds’ guitar strum and jangle in more solemn than bright tones, which suits the sometimes poetic lyrics and unusual chord progressions. ~ Greg Adams” ( Adapted from Catalogue)

Ash and bone. / Long, David
“Musicians David Long, synthesisers, banjo, electronics, electric guitar ; Carolyn Mills, harp ; Andrew Jarvis, tuba ; Mark Carter, trumpet ; Rachel Vernon, bass clarinet ; Pat Barry, clarinet ; Bridget Douglas, flute ; Riki Gooch, percussion, electronics. Contents Underground — Ash and bone — I follow it — You want to fight everything — The long long walk — A second glance — Wash your mouth out — Water the earth.” ( Adapted from Catalogue.) 

Utterance / Long, David
“Musicians …David Long, banjo, theremin, bowed guitar ; Richard Nunns, taonga pūoro ; Natalia Mann, harp, prepared harp, zither, gongs, voice. Tracks Perilous knowledge — Old shadows — Spider shell — Upper circle, lower case — Celestial dog — Mercury — The nearest clear liquid — We died once — City of green — Hidden cameras — Begin again.” ( Adapted from Catalogue) 

Flock : the best of The Mutton Birds / Mutton Birds

” Other Title Best of The Mutton Birds. Contents …Dominion Road — Nature — The heater — A thing well made — White Valiant — In my room — Anchor me — Wellington — Queen’s English — Don’t fear the reaper — While you sleep — She’s been talking — Come around — Envy of angels — As close as this — Last year’s shoes — Pulled along by love — Not to take sides.” ( Adapted from Catalogue)

The Mutton Birds. / Mutton Birds
Dominion Road (3:55) — Your window (4:39) — A thing well made (4:39) — She’s like a city (3:56) — Before the breakthrough (4:52) — White Valiant (5:12) — Giant friend (3:15) — Big fish (4:33) — No plans for later (2:31) — Nature (3:39).” ( Adapted from Catalogue) 

 

Salty / Mutton Birds
The heater — Ngaire — You will return — Wellington — In my room — When the wind comes round — Queen’s English — Salty my dear — There’s a limit — Esther — No telling when — Anchor me — Too close to the sun — Don’t fight it, Marsha, it’s bigger than both of us. ” ( Adapted from Catalogue) 

 

 

Interview with Portico Prize winning author Sally J Morgan

Sally J Morgan - Toto

Debut novel Toto Among the Murderers by Sally J Morgan, is a dark, compelling, and immersive work that recently won the Portico Prize for Literature — a British prize given to a work that evokes the “spirit of the North of England”. The book was also longlisted for the 2021 Acorn Prize for Fiction.

We were thrilled when Sally agreed to talk to us about ‘Toto Among the Murderers’ and what it feels like to win one of the big fiction prizes! She even gave us an exclusive sneak peek into her thoughts about her new book, still at the writing stage. Have a listen and read more about Sally below…

Please note: this interview was done in conjunction with Caffeine and Aspirin, an arts and entertainment review show on RadioActive FM. The interview was conducted by Caffeine and Aspirin host, Tanya Ashcroft.

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 Toto Among the Murderers.

We wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to Sally for both the interview and for her kind permission to reproduce the photographs in this blog — all © Sally J Morgan. (Photographer: Jessica Chubb)

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)

Author interview : Arthur C. Clarke Award winner Laura Jean McKay

Image of a typewriter reading "Author Interviews" with an image of novel "The Animals in That Country"
Headshot of award-winning author Laura Jean McKay.
Massey University lecturer Laura Jean McKay picked up one of the most prestigious awards in the Science Fiction World last year for her remarkable debut novel The Animals in That Country.

The Animals in That Country is a speculative fiction work about a pandemic that causes inter-species communication.  A stunning work; McKay’s debut novel is clever and darkly humorous, with carefully drawn characters and a deep empathy for some of the most important social and environmental issues of our time. One of the most remarkable aspects of this novel is the way in which Laura portrays the consciousness of our fellow creatures, exploring deeply into the limits of how we as humans can understand and comprehend (or not) other types of consciousness.

In a weird example of synchronicity, another of one the novel’s core themes is that of a contagious pandemic. Written before COVID-19, it was Laura’s own experience of contacting the chikungunya virus at a writers festival in Bali that inspired this aspect of the book.

To celebrate her exhilarating and profound work, we approached Laura about the possibility of a written interview, to which she very graciously agreed. We wish to extend our heart felt thanks to Laura for taking the time to do the below interview, and for providing such illuminating answers to our questions. You can borrow The Animals in That Country from the library by clicking the link at the end of this feature.

The Animals in That Country is a truly remarkable achievement on so many levels. It is fierce and funny and brilliant.  In the novel, after being infected by a virus, people start to understand animals. Some people embrace this new ability, and some fear what they will hear from the animals when they are talking. I say talk as shorthand, the animals don’t really talk, they more communicated through “hallucinogenic haikus”. In some ways this book might seem a bit bizarre, but is also strangely still very believable and in places also funny. Can you tell us a little bit about the creative origins of the book? 

The Animals in That County came together (or came at me?) in a few ways. The whole time I was writing the book I was asking: ‘what would happen if we could finally understand what other animals are saying?’ and this really came from the encounters I was having with other animals – a kangaroo, a chimpanzee, a mosquito (who I’ll talk about later). In Australia, I came face-to-face with a full-size rouge male kangaroo on a dark bushy path at night and had this lovely moment of benevolence, where we regarded each other calmly and then went on our way. I thought, if I could have this moment with another species, what would happen if we could actually communicate clearly? I had a similar experience in Florida, where I went to meet the ex-show chimpanzee and orangutan stars of films and TV, like Mickael Jackson’s old companion chimpanzee Bubbles. Often these stars are cast out to road-side zoos and laboratories when they grow too big for show biz. There are a few sanctuaries in the States who track them down and offer a home. I wandered through the enclosures at one such centre, feeling such a recognition for chimpanzees who are really very very similar to us in DNA and I thought about the terrifying lives they’ve had at the hands of humans. Would we treat them differently if we could communicate?

Using this animal Haiku allows you to communicate some very beautiful and, for the want of a better description,  alien views of the world? Can you tell us how you went about getting to those strange animal places? Was it just pure raw imagination?

So funny to see the nonhuman animal dialogue described as haiku! Haiku is gorgeously structured, so I wonder if it could possibly apply to what I have done? There is of course an intentionality to the dialogue, but it’s more to do with font and punctuation than poetic structure. I tried to make the rhythm as awkward as possible to move the dialogue out of a human state (while still using written English). The insects came first, especially the mosquito. I thought, how does a mosquito express themself on a page? CAPSLOCK of course. After that came the birds speaking in italics. Then Dingo Sue (in parenthesis). That sort of structure gave me some parameters to play with the idea of nonhuman dialogue.

There is a real balance in the novel between the humans understanding what the animals are communicating and incomprehension of those messages. How did you decide where that balance rested, in other words, when to make something understandable and when to make it alien and incomprehensible?

I was really conscious of avoiding the nonhuman animals as prophetic characters sent to the humans to solve their problems, or of being too poetic or meaningful. Characters need to be full on the page and being full is to have a life beyond the other characters and beyond the scope of the story. The disease in the novel – zooflu – enables the humans to understand that other animals are communicating and to translate that into human language, but it doesn’t give humans extra empathy, powers of observation or the ability to look beyond themselves. The nonhuman world is there right in front of us all the time and many from my anglo tauiwi cultural background don’t listen to this world or to the people – especially First Nations People – who do understand that humans are part of a bigger picture. Climate change, mass extinction, factory farming and habitat destruction prove that. I didn’t see a reason that many humans would completely listen even if they could finally understand other animals!

Jean, your lead human protagonist, is a fabulous creation and not without her flaws. Can you tell us about how you went about creating her?

Jean was a long time coming. For hundreds of thousands of words she was a middle-aged man, then a young woman who worked in a lab, then a cat, then a farmer. I needed someone who had the strength to hold the weight of this story and none of them could bear it. I realised that only a middle-aged woman – someone who had been through life and has learned to lose and love with a certain ferocity – could carry this narrative. Like the other animal characters, Jean needed to be full and – as humans are flawed – so too is Jean. I wanted her to love fiercely, be loyal to a fault, be curious and brave. At the same time she needed to be self-absorbed, substance-reliant, bigoted and unable to listen.

Moving on from that, can you tell us about Sue, your lead animal protagonist, and the relationship between Jean and Sue?

In western literary criticism, animals are often seen as mirrors for human meaning. But in many books (including Animals), humans can be mirrors for other animal meaning too. Jean and Sue reflect each other. They are different but they’ve experienced similar things. They’re both females of their species dealing with loss, searching for kin. I was struggling with how to find Jean, but when Sue appeared on the page (influenced by dingoes I met in the Northern Territory) she made sense of Jean. They took off together.

I know you became ill with Chikungunya (a severely debilitating mosquito born virus) just before you started writing. Can you tell us how this influenced book and its creation?

The other game-changing animal encounter I had was with a mosquito in Bali who bit me (the nerve!) and gifted a disease called chikungunya, which brought fever, delirium and serious arthritis for months and long-term symptoms for years. The most amazing thing about that was that I learnt how very powerful this tiny creature was. If a small creature could be that impactful in life, what could they do to the page?

Can you tell us how long the novel took to write, and the difficulties of completing a work over that sort of time span?

The novel took about 7 years to write (through to publication) but I was thinking and writing around it for three years before that. I did a PhD in Creative Writing in that time and the novel was part of that. The beauty of taking that long on a work is that you have space to restructure and build. I rewrote the novel completely three times. There were a few years (years!) where the book was awful and messy – I could see where I wanted it to be but it took a long time to get there. It was always going to be a slow write. Partly that’s because it’s three books: it’s a gritty realist novel about a woman struggling with life; it’s a speculative fiction novel about a world where humans can understand other animals; and it’s a nonhuman dialogue. I’m not a clever enough plot writer to do an interweaving structure told from different voices chapter by chapter so I had to make it all work at once. And apparently, that takes ages!

Your portrayal of animals in the book is, in many senses, profound, Can I ask you how you avoided the pitfall of Anthropomorphising the animals?

My initial technique for avoiding anthropomorphism was to render them silet on the page, with the humans reporting their meaning. That was terrible. Then (through my research into literary animal studies) I saw that it’s not anthropomorphism that’s the problem, but anthropocentrism: the centering of humans to the detriment of all else. As the plot goes on, I increasingly shove the humans to the side and the nonhuman animal dialogue comes through. It’s still anthropomorphism, but (I hope) a respectful one that honours the agency of all characters.

The book is about a viral pandemic and features lots of the things we have sadly got used to, for example mask wearing and fear of infection. However, the book was conceived and written long before the present Covid 19 outbreak, which is both strange and startling. Can I ask you where you got your detailed knowledge of endemic viral outbreaks from?

In another life I was an aid worker doing communications writing for international aid organisations. I started in response to the 2004 tsunami and worked on lots of emergencies, including the SARS epidemic. Even though that wasn’t a conscious experience in writing Animals, it was something I gravitated towards. In bald craft terms I needed for a lot of characters to gain the power to be able to communicate with other animals at the same time – an outbreak with weird symptoms was familiar to me. I could write that. At the time though, I kept that plotline secret from people because it seemed too far-fetched. Now of course …!

The title of the book comes from a Margaret Atwood collection of poems, can you tell us why and what led you to choose it as the novels title?

For a long time the novel manuscript was simply called ‘Animals’. I came across Atwood’s incredible poem after a few years. I love how she talks about animals in the poem as having ‘the faces of animals’ (animals as animals) and later ‘the faces of people’ (the categorisations we attribute to them). I was so thrilled when Atwood granted permission to use a line from the poem in the epigraph, so that people could see the original context and hopefully seek out the poem themselves.

Can you tell us about authors you admired or influenced you as you grew up?

Our household in regional Australia was a big Footrot Flats comic book house. We blasted the movie theme song on camping trips. When I was little I thought it was an Australian comic (typical!) – but of course it’s so Aotearoa! When I moved to New Zealand I started collecting them again and realised what an influence these stories had on me and The Animals in That Country: talking animals, environmental themes, outcast characters. I owe Murray Ball a lot. In my early uni days I read a lot of Janet Frame and Raymond Carver – I’d attribute any writing technique I have to those incredible stylists. Carver is very out of fashion now, probably because his work cast too big a shadow over creative writing studies (there are other writers!), but I learned to edit my work by reading his and that’s a skill I’m forever grateful for. I got back to Frame’s short stories again and again to remember the importance of dialogue, style and heart.

The book is also a celebration of animal bodies and their extraordinary abilities. Is this something we need to as a society embrace more?

Absolutely. The celebration of other animals as animals rather than our categorisations of pet, food, wild, vermin etc would chart a big shift in human relations with other animals, I think. What would happen if we celebrated the insatiable curiosity of cows instead of treating them as milk machines?

The animals in the book refer to humans as “it”, echoing the way we dehumanise our fellow creatures. What you tell us about approach?

As I said earlier I often feel like I wrote three novels in one … There’s a gritty realist narrative about a woman going through a rough time; there’s a speculative fiction about a dingo (also going through a rough time!) in an epidemic world where humans can communicate with animals; and there’s another thread which is the interspecies communication itself – the animal dialogue. Animals in literature are so often equated with objects: as things to use and dispose of at human will. I thought it would be interesting to turn the tables. ‘It’ is a tiny word, but when a nonhuman animal character calls humans ‘it’, a big statement is made. I love how language works that way. Tiny changes can be powerful.

How does it feel to have the novel so well received? It has already received several major awards and glowing reviews!

The most honest word I could use is: relief. Anyone who has put a book out knows the terrifying silence that follows publication where you wonder if it will get reviewed or even read and if so, will people like it? My first book was a short story collection lucky enough to get on some shortlists and a few lovely reviews, but it didn’t set the world on fire. Still, I was encouraged and excited to write the second. When it became apparent that The Animals in That Country would be released into the pandemic I was terrified. All the book shops in New Zealand were closed in the first big lockdown and I didn’t know how people would even read it. The support that New Zealand and Australian readers, festivals and book shops showed for books published in that time was incredible. And thanks to the hard work of my amazing publisher, Scribe, the book got in people’s hands early, and has since been released in the UK and US and is now in translation. It was such a strange feeling when it became apparent that this wasn’t going to be a quiet book – a relief, a thrill and an ongoing privilege.

You have a PhD in literary animal studies, can you tell us how that informed the book?

Once you start looking into human-nonhuman animal relationships, you fall down a series of rabbit holes. With every word I wrote, every thing I read, every thought I had about Animals, a new question would come up. I was so lucky to be held by amazing supervisors (Kevin Brophy and Amanda Johnson) who not only thought this relentless questioning was okay, but encouraged it. In my time as a PhD student I also came across an amazing network of people in what is known as the animal studies field. One of these people was Siobhan O’Sullivan who welcomed me into the Knowing Animals reading group and later interviewed me for her podcast. I’m now a passionate committee member of the Australasian Animal Studies Association, who work to help scholars like me to access information in the field.

Our final question is, have you got any future plans to write something else ? Would like to share some aspect of those plans with us?

A novel manuscript and I are currently circling each other. At some point one of us will strike.

The animals in that country / McKay, Laura Jean
“Hard-drinking, foul-mouthed, and allergic to bullshit, Jean is not your usual grandma. She’s never been good at getting on with other humans, apart from her beloved granddaughter, Kimberly. Instead, she surrounds herself with animals, working as a guide in an outback wildlife park. And although Jean talks to all her charges, she has a particular soft spot for a young dingo called Sue. As disturbing news arrives of a pandemic sweeping the country, Jean realises this is no ordinary flu: its chief symptom is that its victims begin to understand the language of animals – first mammals, then birds and insects, too… ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Also available as an eBook.

 

Q&A with author T. J. Klune

We are absolutely thrilled to announce the release of our recent interview with the wonderful T.J. Klune!

T.J. is one of the world’s most popular names in contemporary fantasy and romance fiction, whose work emphasizes positive LGBTQ+ characters. His just-released novel Under the Whispering Door is compelling and engrossing, a romantic fantasy story which deals with universal themes of life, death, grief and second chances.

Picture of T. J. Klune, seated outside in the snow with his dog

If you haven’t come across his works, his breakout novel The House in the Cerulean Sea, set in an orphanage for magical beings on an island, has justifiably been called a “Warm hug of a book”; a thoroughly recommended read with important messages about, friendship healing, inclusion and finding out who you really are.

Under the Whispering Door is equally compelling and engrossing — about a ghost who refuses to cross over, and the ferryman and his team tasked with helping him. Both novels have been huge bestsellers, and T.J. Klune is also a nominee for the 2021 Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature and won the Alex Award.

So, we are delighted to be posting  this touching, entertaining, insightful, poignant, and funny interview. We thoroughly enjoyed doing the interview and think you will enjoy hearing it just as much. We wish to extend our most heartfelt thanks to T.J. Klune, Tor Books and Macmillan Publishers for making it happen.

You can borrow T.J. Klune’s books from the library (see below) or buy them from any good bookshop.

Catalogue links for T.J. Klune’s books

Under the Whispering Door / Klune, TJ
The tea is hot, the scones are fresh, and the dead are just passing through.” When a reaper comes to collect Wallace from his own funeral, Wallace begins to suspect he might be dead. And when Hugo, the owner of a peculiar tea shop, promises to help him cross over, Wallace decides he’s definitely dead.
But even in death he’s not ready to abandon the life he barely lived, so when Wallace is given one week to cross over, he sets about living a lifetime in seven days. An uplifting story about a life spent at the office and a death spent building a home..” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook and an Audiobook

The house in the Cerulean Sea / Klune, TJ
“A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret. Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages. When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist.” ( Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook and an Audiobook.

The Extraordinaries / Klune, TJ
“If being the most popular fanfiction writer in the Extraordinaries fandom was a superpower, Nick Bell would be a hero. Instead he’s just a fanboy with ADHD, posting online. After a chance encounter with Shadow Star, Nova City’s mightiest hero (and Nick’s biggest crush), he sets out to make himself extraordinary. And he’ll do it with or without the reluctant help of Seth Gray, Nick’s best friend (and maybe the love of his life).” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Flash fire / Klune, TJ
“Through bravery, charm, and an alarming amount of enthusiasm, Nick landed himself the superhero boyfriend of his dreams. Now instead of just writing stories about him, Nick actually gets to kiss him. But having a superhero boyfriend isn’t everything Nick thought it would be–he’s still struggling to make peace with his own lack of extraordinary powers. When new Extraordinaries begin arriving in Nova City–siblings who can manipulate smoke and ice, a mysterious hero who can move objects with their mind, and a drag queen superhero with the best name and the most-sequined costume anyone has ever had–it’s up to Nick and his friends Seth, Gibby, and Jazz to determine who is virtuous and who is villainous.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive coverBrothersong, TJ Klune (ebook)
“In the ruins of Caswell, Maine, Carter Bennett learned the truth of what had been right in front of him the entire time. And then it—he—was gone.
Desperate for answers, Carter takes to the road, leaving family and the safety of his pack behind, all in the name of a man he only knows as a feral wolf. But therein lies the danger: wolves are pack animals, and the longer Carter is on his own, the more his mind slips toward the endless void of Omega insanity.
What Carter finds will change the course of the wolves forever.” (adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive coverHow to Be a Normal Person, TJ Klune (ebook)
“Gustavo Tiberius is not normal. He knows this. Everyone in his small town of Abby, Oregon, knows this. Until Casey, an asexual stoner hipster and the newest employee at Lottie’s Lattes, enters his life. For some reason, Casey thinks Gus is the greatest thing ever. And maybe Gus is starting to think the same thing about Casey, even if Casey is obsessive about Instagramming his food. But Gus isn’t normal and Casey deserves someone who can be. Suddenly wanting to be that someone, Gus steps out of his comfort zone and plans to become the most normal person ever. After all, what could possibly go wrong?” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive coverThe Art of Breathing, TJ Klune (ebook)
“Tyson Thompson graduated high school at 16 and left the town of Seafare, Oregon, bound for what he assumed would be bigger and better things. He soon found out the real world has teeth, and he returns to the coast with four years of failure, addiction, and a diagnosis of panic disorder trailing behind him. But shortly after he arrives home, Tyson comes face to face with inevitability in the form of his childhood friend and first love, Dominic Miller, who he hasn’t seen since the day he left Seafare. As their paths cross, old wounds reopen, new secrets are revealed, and Tyson discovers there is more to his own story than he was told all those years ago.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Interview with Professor Anne Noble, Arts Foundation Laureate

Professor Anne Noble

Professor Anne Noble is one of the most highly regarded and acclaimed art photographers and conceptual artists working in Aotearoa New Zealand today. We are absolutely thrilled to announce that you can watch our interview with Professor Noble below!

All photographs used in the video and displayed below are © Anne Noble (All rights reserved) and Massey University Press and are reproduced with kind permission.

Professor Noble’s photographic and conceptual works have gained her a major international reputation. Her work has been exhibited globally and is held in numerous national and international collections. Her practice spans various mediums — including moving image, still photography, sound, and installation work.

Professor Noble’s previous bodies of work have to this point included pieces examining Antarctica, her own daughter’s mouth, pieces on the significance of memory and imagination to personal and cultural narratives of place and belonging, and most recently, forests.

Dead Bee Portrait #01, by Anne Noble

The video interview above particularly focuses on her various bodies of work surrounding her interest in bees. This interview was shot at Professor Noble’s recent exhibition at the Bartley & Company Art Gallery, and covers her practice — in particular this exhibition and the associated book Conversātiō – in the company of bees, recently published by Massey University Press.

More about Professor Anne Noble and her practice

Professor Noble also has another exhibition coming up — “In a forest dark…” (25 November – 18 December 2021), at Bartley & Company Art Gallery.

And below is the full extended uncut version of the interview  for anyone who wishes to delve deeper into Professor Nobles work!

Conversatio : In the company of bees / Noble, Anne
“Lavishly illustrated book to accompany Professor Anne Noble’s Bee themed exhibitions staged internationally over the course of several years. With guest essayists commenting and illuminating various points and themes explored in these bodies of work.” (Adapted from Catalogue )

Find more by Professor Noble on our Catalogue:

Spoolhenge Antarctica / Noble, Anne
“Catalogue of an exhibition held at the Cube3 Gallery, Peninsular Arts, University of Plymouth from 19 May-25 June, 2011. Includes bibliographical references.” (Adapted from Catalogue )

No vertical song / Noble, Anne
“Catalogue of an exhibition held Friday 24 March – Sunday 7 May 2017, at the Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne.” (Adapted from Catalogue )

Slow release : recent photography from New Zealand : Fiona Amundsen, Gavin Hipkins, Anne Noble, Fiona Pardington, Peter Peryer, Ann Shelton, Yvonne Todd
“Catalogue of an exhibition at the Heide Museum of Modern Art, Bulleen, Victoria 10 August – 22 September 2002; the Gippsland Art Gallery Sale 16 November – 15 December 2002; and the Adam Art Gallery, Victoria University of Wellington, 2003.Supported by the Chartwell Trust. And including bibliographical references.” (Adapted from Catalogue )

Upcoming interview with photographer Professor Anne Noble

Professor Anne Noble
Anne in beesuit (All photographs are Copyrighted by Anne Noble and Massey University press and are reproduced with kind permission.)

Professor Anne Noble is one of the most highly regarded and acclaimed art photographers and conceptual artists working in Aotearoa / New Zealand.

Professor Noble’s photographic and conceptual works have gained her a major international reputation. Her work has been exhibited globally and is held in numerous national and international collections.

In 2003 Professor Noble was awarded the Order of Merit for services to photography in New Zealand. In 2009 she received a New Zealand Arts Foundation Laureate Award and was awarded the Massey University individual research medal. In 2013 Anne was appointed Distinguished Professor of Fine Art.

Professor Noble’s previous bodies of work include pieces examining Antarctica, her own daughter’s mouth, pieces on the significance of memory and imagination to personal and cultural narratives of place and belonging and most recently Forests.

Her practice spans various mediums from moving image, still photography, sound, and installation work.

Bruissement_05_003 (All photographs are Copyrighted by Anne Noble and Massey University press and are reproduced with kind permission.)

We visited her recent exhibition at the Bartley & Company Art Gallery to talk to Anne about the exhibition and the associated book Conversātiō – in the company of bees which has just been published by Massey university press. It’s a beautiful publication and contains lots of stunning, and occasionally intense works, all imagery from Ann’s various Bee related exhibitions. And features illuminating essays to accompany the pictures from several guest Essayists.

Bees have long fascinated Professor Noble and been in various aspect and guises at the core of many of her exhibitions over recent years.

Professor Noble herself is a beekeeper, and has studied their history and culture, and recently her work has looked closely at their uncertain future due to climate change and ecosystem collapse.

We were over the moon when Professor Noble very kindly agreed to a filmed Q and A interview with Wellington City Libraries.

We wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to Massey university press, Bartley & Company Art Gallery in Wellington and especially Professor Anne Noble herself for her time and enlightening and thoughtfully replies to our questions.

Click here for more information on Professor Anne Noble’s practice.

Visit Bartley & Company Art Gallery for more information. Including Anne’s forthcoming exhibition  In a forest dark… (25 November – 18 December 2021 )

Dead Bee Portrait#14 (All photographs are Copyrighted by Anne Noble and Massey University press and are reproduced with kind permission.)

Conversatio : In the company of bees / Noble, Anne

“Lavishly illustrated book to accompany Professor Anne Noble’s Bee themed exhibitions staged internationally over the course of several years. With guest essayists commenting and illuminating various points and themes explored in these bodies of work.”

(Adapted from Catalogue )

 

 

Slow release : recent photography from New Zealand : Fiona Amundsen, Gavin Hipkins, Anne Noble, Fiona Pardington, Peter Peryer, Ann Shelton, Yvonne Todd

Catalogue of an exhibition at the Heide Museum of Modern Art, Bulleen, Victoria 10 August – 22 September 2002; the Gippsland Art Gallery Sale 16 November – 15 December 2002; and the Adam Art Gallery, Victoria University of Wellington, 2003.Supported by the Chartwell Trust. And including bibliographical references.” (Adapted from Catalogue )

This Friday: Kanohi ki te Kanohi with Ray Ahipene-Mercer

Wellington City Libraries is proud to present a very special event: our first Kanohi ki te Kanohi with environmental campaigner, politician and musician Ray Ahipene-Mercer.

Bookings essential.

Book your spot here

What? Kanohi ki te Kanohi with Ray Ahipene-Mercer

When? Friday, 6 August, 12:30-1pm

Where? He Matapihi Library on Molesworth Street

Photo of Ray Ahipene-Mercer
Image thanks to Upper Hutt City Library.

Ray Ahipene-Mercer is one of Aotearoa’s leading environmentalists, spearheading campaigns to clean up Wellington’s water as well as helping to establish the region’s first artificial nesting area for kororā little penguins.

He has been a Wellington City Councillor and was twice chair of the Wellington District Māori Council, submitting a claim to the Waitangi Tribunal addressing the pollution of traditional fishing grounds. (For more on Ray–including his celebrated music career–check out his bio.)

This Friday (6 August), between 12:30-1pm, you can talk to Ray as part of our first Kanohi ki te Kanohi at He Matapihi Library on Molesworth Street. Kanohi ki te Kanohi is a special series, with just five spots available at each event. Participants can listen to the speaker’s story and ask questions in a personal, smaller scale setting, in the spirit of movements such as the Human Library. Book your spot!

Now available to watch: Our interview with multi award-winning New Zealand author Lee Murray

The fabulous Lee Murray recently won two Bram Stoker Awards®; the Oscars for dark writing and the world’s premier literary horror awards!  One in the category Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection for Grotesque: Monster Stories and the other for Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women in the category of Superior Achievement in an Anthology.

Lee has also recently been nominated in the Shirley Jackson Awards for Black Cranes,  shortlisted for the Ladies of Horror Fiction Awards in the Short Fiction Category for ‘Heart Music’ from Grotesque: Monster Stories, is a nominee in Horror Fiction in the Skoutz Awards for Beutezeit, the German translation of Into the Mist and is also currently nominated in four categories of New Zealand’s Sir Julius Vogel Awards (Novel, Short Fiction, Collection, and Services to Science Fiction and Horror).

So, with all these awards and accolades pouring in we approached Lee about the possibility of doing an online interview. Which she very kindly agreed to. So, for your delight and edification we have an exclusive in-depth interview and reading with Lee where she talks in detail about her work, inspirations, background, and a whole host of other topics. For anyone interested in Lee’s work or, indeed, speculative fiction or horror in general, the interview is unmissable. Both the interview and a special reading from Black Cranes: tales of unquiet women are available to watch below.

We wish to expend our heartfelt thanks to Lee and her film crew Dhaivat Mehta and Harry Oram.

Browse Lee’s work in our catalogue:

Black cranes : tales of unquiet women
“Almond-eyed celestial, the filial daughter, the perfect wife. Quiet, submissive, demure. In Black Cranes, Southeast Asian writers of horror both embrace and reject these traditional roles in a unique collection of stories which dissect their experiences of ‘otherness,’ be it in the colour of their skin, the angle of their cheekbones, the things they dare to write, or the places they have made for themselves in the world. Black Cranes is a dark and intimate exploration of what it is to be a perpetual outsider.” (Catalogue)

Into the ashes / Murray, Lee
“The nation’s leaders scoff at the danger. That is; until the ground opens and all hell breaks loose. The armed forces are hastily deployed; NZDF Sergeant Taine McKenna and his section tasked with evacuating civilians and tourists from Tongariro National Park. It is too little, too late. With earthquakes coming thick and fast and the mountains spewing rock and ash, McKenna and his men are cut off. Their only hope of rescuing the stranded civilians is to find another route out, but a busload of prison evacuees has other ideas. And, deep beneath the earth’s crust, other forces are stirring, ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Into the sounds / Murray, Lee
“On leave, and out of his head with boredom, NZDF Sergeant Taine McKenna joins biologist Jules Asher on a Conservation Department deer culling expedition to New Zealand’s southernmost national park. Despite covering an area the size of the Serengeti, only eighteen people live in the isolated region, so it’s a surprise when the hunters stumble on the nation’s Tūrehu tribe, becoming some of only a handful to ever encounter the elusive ghost people. Besides, there is something else lurking in the sounds, and it has its own agenda. When the waters clear, will anyone be allowed to leave?​”(Adapted from Catalogue)

Into the mist / Murray, Lee
“When New Zealand Defense Force Sergeant Taine McKenna and his squad are tasked with escorting a bunch of civilian contractors into Te Urewera National Park, it seems a strange job for the army. Taine draws on ancient tribal wisdom as he becomes desperate to bring his charges out alive. Will it be enough to stop the nightmare? And when the mist clears, will anyone be left?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

 

Te korero ahi kā : To speak of the home fires burning
“Here, between the realms of the Sky Father and Earth Mother, hellhounds race, ghosts drift and the taniwha stalks. Home fires drive them back, sparking stories and poems that traverse seconds, eons, and parsecs. Tales of gatekeepers, cloak wearers, and secrets. Of pigs with AK-47s or ruby-hued eyes, of love-struck moa, and unruly reflections. Stark truths and beautiful possibilities. Te Korero Ahi Kā-to speak of the home fires burning-is an anthology of science fiction, fantasy, and horror, showcasing work from award-winning and emerging members of SpecFicNZ (New Zealand authors, poets, artists of speculative fiction. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

At the edge
“Step up, as close as you dare… …to a place at the edge of sanity, where cicadas scritch across balmy summer nights, at the edge of town, where the cellphone coverage is decidedly dodgy, at the edge of space, where a Mimbinus argut bounds among snowy rocks, at the edge of the page, where demon princes prance in the shadows, at the edge of despair, where 10 darushas will get you a vodka lime and a ring side seat, at the edge of the universe, where time stops but space goes on… From the brink of civilisation, the fringe of reason, and the border of reality, come 23 stories infused with the bloody-minded spirit of the Antipodes. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Blood of the sun / Rabarts, Dan
“There’s been a gang massacre on Auckland’s Freyberg Wharf. Body parts everywhere. And with the police’s go-to laboratory out of action, it’s up to scientific consult Pandora (Penny) Yee to sort through the mess. It’s a hellish task, made worse by the earthquake swarms, the insufferable heat, and Cerberus’ infernal barking. And what’s got into her brother Matiu? Does it have something to do with the ship’s consignment? Or is Matiu running with the gangs again? Join Penny and Matiu Yee for the family reunion to end all family reunions, as the struggle between light and dark erupts across Auckland’s volcanic skyline.”–Publisher description.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Teeth of the wolf / Rabarts, Dan
“Scientific consultant Penny Yee has barely drawn breath before Detective Inspector Tanner assigns her another suspicious death, with Matiu tagging along for the ride. That’s fine as long as he stays outside the crime scene tape, but when one of Matiu’s former cronies turns up dead, Penny wonders if her brother might be more than just an innocent bystander. While she’s figuring that out, the entire universe conspires against her, with a cadaver going AWOL, her DNA sequencer spitting the dummy, and the rent due any day.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Hounds of the underworld / Rabarts, Dan
“On the verge of losing her laboratory, her savings, and all respect for herself, Pandora (Penny) Yee lands her first contract as scientific consult to the police department. Only she’s going to need to get around, and that means her slightly unhinged adopted brother, Matiu, will be doing the driving.  Matiu doesn’t like anything about this case, from the voices that screamed at him when he touched that bowl, to the way his hateful imaginary friend Makere has come back to torment him, to the fact that the victim seems to be tied up with a man from Matiu’s past, a man who takes pleasure in watching dogs tear each other to pieces for profit and entertainment.” (Catalogue)

A foreign country : New Zealand speculative fiction
“Strange creatures are loose in Miramar, desperate survivors cling to the remains of a submerged country, humanity’s descendants seek to regain what they’ve lost, and the residents of Gisborne reluctantly serve alien masters. The visions of New Zealand – and beyond – painted in this collection of short stories are both instantly recognisable, and nothing like the place we know. A FOREIGN COUNTRY brings together the work of established authors and fresh voices to showcase the range of stories produced by New Zealand’s growing community of speculative fiction writers.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Regeneration : New Zealand speculative fiction II
“Some things are gone forever; but that is not the end. There are new lives to be lived, new discoveries to be made, changes to be fought for, enjoyed, or feared. Experience worlds where existence continues beyond death and much-wanted babies become something else entirely. Where humanity endures in hostile environments, societies adapt to new challenges and inventions, and strange creatures live secretly among us. Travel from a curiously altered Second World War to other universes at the end of time, taking in diverse visions of New Zealand and worlds beyond along the way. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Event with H. G. Parry today – 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)

Visit our Central Library collection at Te Pātaka for some winter reading

The Te Pātaka Collection and Distribution Centre houses Wellington Central Library’s collection. This is a rare opportunity to visit, browse and borrow!

Details:

What? Te Pātaka Open Days

Date: Wednesday 14 July; Thursday 22 July — see topics per day below

Location: Johnsonville (details on registration)

Please remember to bring your library card

On the hunt for some crafting ideas? Missing all those classic graphic novels, DVDs or biographies? Or treat yourself to a swag of history, beliefs, cookery or photography books.

We’ll be opening our Te Pātaka Collection Centre to customers on two days during the school holidays. You’ll be able to browse and borrow books from our off-site storage collection. Some of the collection is on rolling stacks, so different areas of the collection will be more accessible at different times. If possible, choose the time slot which matches your interest as it will be easier for you to see that topic then. If the area you’re interested in isn’t listed below, you are still welcome and we will do our best to make it work.

Spots are limited and visits are restricted to one hour, so bookings will be essential — view and book session times and topics available below. We can’t wait to see you!

Times and topics

Teen only slot: 3pm, Thursday 22nd (but teens are of course welcome at any time).

Available at any session:

  • Fiction
  • Large print
  • Biography
  • Science and health
  • Graphic novels
  • Teen fiction and graphic novels
  • Children’s fiction and comics
  • Picture books

Wednesday 14 July — Topics and Time Slots

Time slots and topics available per time slot for Wednesday 14 July
2-3pm 3-4pm 4-5pm
  • Computing
  • Gardening
  • Photography
  • Travel
  • DVDs Movies
  • Popular CDs

Book for 2-3pm, 14 July

  • Self-help
  • Cooking
  • Music books
  • World Wars history
  • DVDs TV series
  • Classical CDs

Book for 3-4pm, 14 July

  • Economics and finance
  • Business and management
  • Film
  • NZ history
  • DVDs TV series
  • Magazines

Book for 4-5pm, 14 July

Thursday 22 July — Topics and Time Slots

Time slots and topics available per time slot for Thursday 22 July
10-11am 11am-12pm 12-1pm 3-4pm
  • Social issues
  • Art / photography
  • Sports and games
  • Cooking
  • DVDs TV series
  • Popular CDs

Book for 10-11am, 22 July

  • True Crime
  • Craft
  • Poetry
  • Art/architecture
  • DVDs Movies
  • Magazines

Book for 11am-12pm, 22 July

  • Languages
  • Cooking
  • Literature
  • Songbooks
  • DVDs Movies
  • Music Scores

Book for 12-1pm, 22 July

Teen only session.

Book for 3-4pm, 22 July

Browse all sessions on our Calendar

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.

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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.