Neighbours Day Aotearoa is just around the corner

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Navigating the Stars – Taki Rua Productions and Witi Ihimaera

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

Sunday 21 February, 10am

Other Highlights include:

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Renée in conversation with Rachel McAlpine, Friday 5 March

Update:

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

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

This event is in association with Wellington publisher Mākaro Press.

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

About Renée

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Browse more by Renée

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

Browse more by Rachel

‘Cooking the books’ with Professor Val McDermid

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

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

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

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

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

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

Email a question — enquiries@wcl.govt.nz

You can also send a question via:

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

Val McDermid on the Library Catalogue

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

牛年快乐

图像来源   Pixabay  网站的PublicDomainPictures

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

Click here for English version

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The year of the Ox

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

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

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

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

点击这里查看中文版


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grab a bargain at this weekend’s book sale!

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

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

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

Come and find some treasures!

Ask the queen of crime fiction, Val McDermid, a question

Browse Val McDermid's books on our catalogue

We’re excited to announce that bestselling queen of crime fiction Val McDermid has kindly agreed to answer questions from her Wellington readers in a Q&A to be recorded on video this month.

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

Email a question — enquiries@wcl.govt.nz

About Val McDermid

Val McDermid is one of the biggest names in contemporary crime fiction and ‘Tartan Noir’ — her novels have sold more than 16 million copies and have been translated into 40 languages worldwide. Her novels currently fall into four main series, featuring a host of memorable characters:

The  Tony Hill and Carol Jordan series has also been adapted into a TV series — the critically acclaimed Wire in the blood.

Val McDermid has also won crime writing’s most prestigious award, the much-coveted Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger for Best Crime Novel of the Year, for her novel The Mermaids Singing. Along with her plethora of awards, she also holds an Honorary Fellowship from St Hilda’s College in Oxford — where she was the first student from a state school in Scotland ever to attend.

So, send us your questions for Val! You can use the email link above, or contact us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram on or before Wednesday 10 February, and we’ll do our best to put your questions to Val in our interview.

You can also read more about Val at her website below:

Visit valmcdermid.com

Have a browse of Val’s work below, and keep an eye out here and on social media for our Val McDermid interview coming soon!


Still life / McDermid, Val
“On a freezing winter morning, fishermen pull a body from the sea. It is quickly discovered that the dead man was the prime suspect in a decade-old investigation, when a prominent civil servant disappeared without trace. DCI Karen Pirie was the last detective to review the file and is drawn into a sinister world of betrayal and dark secrets. But Karen is already grappling with another case, one with even more questions and fewer answers. A skeleton has been discovered in an abandoned campervan and all clues point to a killer who never faced justice – a killer who is still out there. In her search for the truth, Karen uncovers a network of lies that has gone unchallenged for years. But lies and secrets can turn deadly when someone is determined to keep them hidden for good…”( Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an Audiobook.

A place of execution / McDermid, Val
“On a freezing day in December 1963, Alison Carter vanishes from her rural village, an insular community that distrusts the outside world. For the young George Bennett, a newly promoted inspector, it is the beginning of his most difficult and harrowing case – a suspected murder with no body, an investigation with more dead ends and closed faces than he’d have found in the anonymity of the inner city, and an outcome that reverberates through the years.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

The mermaids singing / McDermid, Val
“Another body has been found. The fourth. Now even the most reluctant members of the Bradfield police department have to admit they have a serial killer on their hands. A sicko.” “All the victims have been young men, their naked bodies broken and battered. All have been tortured.” “Detective Inspector Carol Jordan has been working around the clock, teamed with criminologist Dr. Tony Hill. While Jordan is hunting for clues, Hill is composing a psychological profile of the murderer.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

The wire in the blood / McDermid, Val
” Young girls are disappearing around the country, and there is nothing to connect them to one another, let alone the killer whose charming manner hides a warped and sick mind. Dr Tony Hill, head of the new National Profiling Task Force, sets his team an exercise: they are given the details of missing teenagers and asked to discover any possible links between the cases. For Tony Hill, the murder becomes a matter for personal revenge and, joined by colleague Carol Jordan, he embarks on a campaign of psychological terrorism – a game where hunter and hunted can all too easily be reversed.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Booked for murder : the fifth Lindsay Gordon mystery / McDermid, Val
“Why would anyone want to kill bestselling author Penny Varnavides? Her demise can’t be the freak accident it first appeared to be: it is an exact replica of the unique murder method employed in her forthcoming novel. Only three people seemed to know the details of this unpublished book – her literary agent, her editor, and her ex-girlfriend, Meredith. Who stood to gain the most from Penny’s death? Did anyone else know about this unusual plot device?” “In an effort to clear her friend Meredith’s name, Lindsay Gordon delves beneath the glittering facade of the high-powered, seemingly glamorous world of London publishing in search of a murderer.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Northanger Abbey / McDermid, Val
“A modern re-imagining of the Gothic Classic Northanger Abbey by the bestselling crime author Val McDermid. The second book in The Austen Project. Cartier Diamond Dagger winner McDermid puts her gifts to good use in this update of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, which features sheltered young Cat Morland, who’s charmed by Henry Tilney when she visits Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival. Jane Austen in the hands of queen of crime, Val McDermid. Get ready for a very different Northanger Abbey.” (Catalogue)

Forensics : what bugs, burns, prints, DNA, and more tell us about crime / McDermid, Val
Val McDermid is one of the finest crime writers we have, whose novels have captivated millions of readers worldwide with their riveting narratives of characters who solve complex crimes and confront unimaginable evil. In the course of researching her bestselling novels McDermid has become familiar with every branch of forensics, and now she uncovers the history of this science, real-world murders and the people who must solve them. It’s a journey that will take McDermid to war zones, fire scenes, and autopsy suites, and bring her into contact with both extraordinary bravery and wickedness, as she traces the history of forensics from its earliest beginnings to the cutting-edge science of the modern day.” (Catalogue)

VR at Te Awe: Thursday, 4 February!

Ready to test your light saber skills? Brave enough to spend a night in a horror-filled bedroom? Or maybe you’d prefer to create a fantastic virtual sculpture? Then pop into Te Awe Library on Thursday 4 February for our VR afternoon!

Facebook event for VR at Te Awe

We’ll have a range of games and experiences, including Beat Saber, Face Your Fears, Tilt Brush and more! We’ll also have a range of cutting-edge technologies for you to tinker with and our makerspace expert on hand for those in-depth questions. No booking required – just drop in on the day to have a go!

VR at Te Awe — Facebook Event

Details

What: VR at Te Awe
Where: Te Awe Library, 29B Brandon Street (just off Lambton Quay)
When: Thursday, 4 February (12pm – 4pm)


VR Games Available

Beat Saber

Tilt Brush is not only a VR rhythm game, it’s also one of the most popular VR titles ever created. Described as the closest thing you’ll ever get to a Jedi rave, Beat Saber even has it’s own global leaderboard!


Face Your Fears

There are several mini games within Face Your Fears, but the scariest by far are a series of picture books that you read in a haunted bedroom–summoning all kinds of childhood nightmares. If you’re not convinced, just check out the reactions in the video below!


Tilt Brush

Some VR games have fairly short life expectancies, especially once the initial wonder has worn off. Tilt Brush is the opposite of this kind of game. The more time you spend in this dark, never-ending art studio, the more wonderous creations you’ll come up with–we promise!

“Reality ….. up for grabs” Our exclusive interview with author David Keenan

We think we’re walking into the future. We fool ourselves! But every last damn one of us is walking straight into the past.

David Keenan, in This Is Memorial Device

We are very excited to welcome (in an electronic sense) multi-award-winning Scottish author David Keenan for a wide-ranging online interview, exclusive to Wellington City Libraries.

David is one of the most innovative, exciting and dynamic authors writing in English at the moment, with huge ambitions for his work way beyond the conventional parameters of fiction. His fiction output is truly extraordinary — vibrant, visceral, genre-breaking and immersive. It could easily be said he’s a pioneering visionary when it comes to what fiction is and can be — and his many past lives are just as interesting.

A self-confessed music evangelist, David was a long-time writer for the legendary and hugely influential Wire magazine. He also ran — along with his wife —  the now sadly closed Volcanic Tongue record emporium which also served as a distribution company and record label. Volcanic Tongue was so legendary in alternative music circles that the British Library recently harvested its entire online output of over two million words for posterity.

We wish to extend to David our deepest and most sincere thanks for sharing his time with us, and for such a fabulous interview — which you can now view below.

Enjoy!

Books by David


This is Memorial Device : an hallucinated oral history of the post-punk scene in Airdrie, Coatbridge and environs 1978-1986
“David Keenan’s debut novel is a love letter to the small towns of Lanarkshire in the west of Scotland in the late 1970s and early 80s as they were temporarily transformed by the endless possibilities that came out of the freefall from punk rock.” (Catalogue)

For the good times
“Sammy and his three friends live in the Ardoyne, an impoverished, predominantly Catholic area of North Belfast that has become the epicentre of a country intent on cannibalising itself. They love sharp clothes, a good drink, and the songs of Perry Como – whose commitment to clean living holds up a dissonant mirror to their own attempts to rise above their circumstances. They dream of a Free State, and their methods for achieving this are uncompromising, even as they fully indulge in the spoils of war. Keen to make a difference, the boys find themselves in the incongruous position of running a comic-book shop taken over by the IRA.” (Catalogue)

England’s hidden reverse : a secret history of the esoteric underground : Coil, Current 93, Nurse With Wound
“An obsessively researched biography of the three seminal music groups Coil, Current 93, and Nurse With Wound that also illuminates the history of the English underground scene.” (Catalogue)

As well as:

  • Xstabeth
  • The Towers The Fields The Transmitters
  • To run wild in it: A handbook of Autonomic Tarot with Sophie Hollington
  • Monument Maker (Forthcoming in June)

Books mentioned

Below are just a few of the many books David mentions in the interview:


Cities of the red night / Burroughs, William S.
“While young men wage war against an evil empire of zealous mutants, the population of this modern inferno is afflicted with the epidemic of a radioactive virus. An opium-infused apocalyptic vision from the legendary author of Naked Lunch is the first of the trilogy with The Places of the Dead Roads and his final novel, The Western Plains.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The man in the high castle / Dick, Philip K
“The United States has lost World War II and subsequently been divided between the Germans in the east and the Japanese in the west. In this world, we meet  Frank Frink, a dealer of counterfeit Americana, Nobusuke Tagomi, the Japanese trade minister in San Francisco, and Juliana Frink, Frank’s ex-wife, who may be more important than she realizes. These seemingly disparate characters gradually realize their connections to one another other just as they realize that something is not quite right about their world. ” (Catalogue) Also available as an eBook. 

Kidnapped / Stevenson, Robert Louis
“On a stormy night off the coast of Scotland, young David Balfour faces his most terrifying test yet. He’s been double-crossed by his wicked uncle, tricked into a sea voyage, and sold into slavery. When the dashing Alan Breck Stewart comes aboard, he finds a brave friend at least, and the pair fight back against their treacherous, blackhearted shipmates. But then the ship hits a reef, it’s every man for himself, and David must battle against the raging sea itself” (Catalogue) Also available as an Audiobook.

Shakedown / Dicks, Terrance
“A classic novel starring the seventh Doctor and the Sontarans, back in print For thousands of years the Sontarans and the Rutans have fought a brutal war across the galaxy. Now the Sontarans have a secret plan to destroy the Rutan race — a secret plan the Doctor is racing against time to uncover. Only one Rutan spy knows the Sontarans’ plan. As he is chased through the galaxy in a desperate bid for his life, he reaches the planet Sentarion — where Professor Bernice Summerfield’s research into the history of the Sontaran-Rutan war is turning into an explosive reality.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

I, robot / Asimov, Isaac
” In these stories Isaac Asimov creates the Three Laws of Robotics and ushers in the Robot Age. Earth is ruled by master-machines but the Three Laws of Robotics have been designed to ensure humans maintain the upper hand: 1) A robot may not injure a human being or allow a human being to come to harm. 2) A robot must obey orders given to it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. 3) A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law. But what happens when a rogue robot’s idea of what is good for society contravenes the Three Laws?” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Desolation angels / Kerouac, Jack
 Originally published in 1965, this autobiographical novel covers a key year in Jack Kerouac’s life–the period that led up to the publication of On the Road in September of 1957. After spending two months in the summer of 1956 as a fire lookout on Desolation Peak in the North Cascade Mountains of Washington, Kerouac’s fictional self Jack Duluoz comes down from the isolated mountains to the wild excitement of the bars, jazz clubs, and parties of San Francisco, before traveling on to Mexico City, New York, Tangiers, Paris, and London. Duluoz attempts to extricate himself from the world but fails, for one must “live, travel, adventure, bless, and don’t be sorry.” Desolation Angels is quintessential Kerouac.” (Catalogue)

Arthur Rimbaud : complete works / Rimbaud, Arthur
” The complete works of the French poet I1854-1891)  whose works  pre figured surrealism and whose influence on modern culture remains huge. Rimbaud produced the vast bulk of his works in adolescence famously quitting writing literature at age 20. A restless explorer who lived life to the full in all senses of the word both personally and physically. He is credited as being the precursor to modernist literature, who works remain vibrant and vital. ” ( Adapted from Catalogue).

The hero with a thousand faces / Campbell, Joseph
“In these pages, Campbell outlines the Hero’s Journey, a universal motif of adventure and transformation that runs through virtually all of the world’s mythic traditions. He also explores the Cosmogonic Cycle, the mythic pattern of world creation and destruction. As part of the Joseph Campbell Foundation’s Collected Works of Joseph Campbell, this third edition features expanded illustrations, a comprehensive bibliography, and more accessible sidebars. As relevant today as when it was first published — and continues to inspire all those interested in the inherent human need to tell stories.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Inspire Newtown Library’s new mural

Join artists Liana Leiataua and Ruth Robertson-Taylor at one of two workshops to create your own saipo (tapa) which will inspire a new mural for the community. The new mural will replace the eye-catching artwork which was originally installed to welcome people into the Newtown Library and Smart Newtown in 1991.

The workshops are suitable for people of all ages – so bring down the whanau or a group of friends. The workshops will be held in Newtown Library at 13 Constable street on 10:30am-noon, Wednesday 27 January or 2-3:30pm, Saturday 30 January.

All you need to bring is an one item from the Newtown environment (such as a leaf or flower) and one personal item!

If you are unable to make a workshop, create your own creative canvas! These will be on display at the Newtown Library throughout February 2021. Plus your creative artwork will go into a draw to win prizes from local businesses Newtown New World and Peoples Coffee who are supporting this community event.

How to enter

Entries need to be submitted by Monday 1 February 2021.

For more information email arts@wcc.govt.nz

We’re bringing libraries to Wellington’s Pasifika Festival

Our librarians have put together fun and free activities, resources and giveaways aimed for people of all ages and interests to support this year’s Wellington Pasifika Festival.

Visit other countries or new worlds through our free virtual reality experience! From climbing El Capitan to diving down into the Mariana Trench, or flying a car through a dystopian city and more, there is a virtual experience for everyone to try.

Delve into the stories, history and songs of our Pasifika communities by browsing the diverse range of library resources which will be on display.

Say hi to our roving Librarian with their trolley of withdrawn items which they will be giving away to lucky people throughout the afternoon.

Come down to see the library team in the Odlin’s Plaza on the waterfront between 12noon – 6pm this Saturday 23 January 2021. We’re on the grass area outside St John’s bar, near the pedestrian crossing from the Michael Fowler Centre car park.

This summer event includes performance groups from across the Pacific including Mafutaga Tagata Matutua Senior Exercise Group, Israel Star, and opera legend Ben Makisi. The free, whānau friendly event will be hosted by award-winning comedian James Nokise. The full programme is available online.

Te Tiriti o Waitangi – 6th February events

Here in Wellington we’re far away from Waitangi where the official Waitangi Day commemorations happen every year. But did you know that we’re lucky enough to be able to visit the Treaty itself locally at the He Tohu exhibition at the National Library?

He Tohu is a permanent exhibition of three Aotearoa New Zealand constitutional documents, and preserves these powerful taonga for future generations. The three documents are:

  • He Whakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tireni (1835)
    Declaration of Independence of the United Tribes of New Zealand
  • Te Tiriti o Waitangi (1840)
    Treaty of Waitangi
  • The Women’s Suffrage Petition (1893)
    Te Petihana Whakamana Pōti Wahine

On Waitangi Day this year you can visit the National Library for a 30-minute guided tour exploring this multi-award winning exhibition. Tours begin on the hour and half hour between 9.30 am and 4.30 pm, and there’s much more happening besides.

As part of the commemorations, our own He Matapihi Library (housed on-site at the National Library), will be open for the day for browsing, and will host a children’s puppet show by String Bean Puppets.

Please note that He Matapihi will be the only Wellington branch library open on Waitangi Day, and will open from 9:30am – 4:30pm.

What?
Nan and Tuna — a bilingual puppet show, presented by Stringbean Puppets.

Where?
He Matapihi Molesworth Library, 70 Molesworth St, Thorndon.

When?
Saturday 6th Feb at 10:30am

“Nan and Tuna have been friends for 70 years and now it is time for one last adventure together. But before they leave they need to find someone to care for the river. A bilingual puppet show about eels, rivers and friendship.”

The National Library have a full day of activities planned so there will be lots more to see and do, including:

  • Arts and crafts activities for the whole whānau
  • Historical footage of Waitangi Day commemorations curated by Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision
  • A Māori pronunciation workshop to learn more about the Māori words used in Te Tiriti o Waitangi
  • An installation of giant banners featuring four Treaty signatories, including local rangatira Te Wharepōuri

Waitangi Day at the National Library

He Matapihi will also have a display of books about the Treaty of Waitangi, including some of these:

The Treaty of Waitangi / Calman, Ross
“The best basic introduction to the Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand’s founding document; it summarizes the history of the Treaty and race relations in New Zealand/ Aotearoa How well do any of us know what the Treaty document means? In this easy-to-follow book, Ross Calman looks at what New Zealand was like before the Treaty and how this important document has effected the way we live now.” (Catalogue)

The Treaty of Waitangi / Orange, Claudia
“Today the Treaty has come to signify what both joins and divides the people of this country. It had different meanings also to those present at the 1840 signing -the new arrivals and the tangatawhenuathen occupying the land. To the British, it was the means by which they gained sovereignty over the country; for Maori, it represented something closer to partnership. That these distinct meanings were conveyed in texts written in different languages only added to the complexities now woven around this crucial agreement.Claudia Orange’s remarkable history was first published in 1987. ” (Catalogue)

Treaty of Waitangi : questions and answers
” Covering many historical and contemporary issues, it is for people who want to gain a basic knowledge about the Treaty of Waitangi and its implications, as well as for those who want to refresh and update their understanding. It includes a summary of legislation and events since 1840 which have breached the Treaty, and a comprehensive reading list for further information. ” (Catalogue)

Treaty of Waitangi settlements
“The settlement of iwi claims under the Treaty of Waitangi has been a prominent feature of New Zealand’s political landscape over the last thirty years. In this timely book, leading scholars offer the first analysis of the economic and social impact of the settlement process.” (Catalogue)

Te Tiriti o Waitangi / Morris, Toby
“Ground-breaking full-colour graphic novel about Te Tiriti o Waitangi | The Treaty of Waitangi. Accessible, engaging, image-rich design. Dual-language flip book with Maori and Pakeha authors Ross Calman and Mark Derby. Text in te reo Maori version developed by Maori Language Commission-registered translator Piripi Walker. Reviewed by some of Aotearoas foremost Te Tiriti o Waitangi experts to reflect current scholarship. Includes a link to both versions of the treaty translated into thirty other languages and New Zealand Sign Language.” (Catalogue)

Treaty to Treaty : a history of early New Zealand from the Treaty of Tordesillas 1494 to the Treaty of Waitangi 1840 / Bennett, R. S.
“This book is a large & detailed history of early NZ and includes events elsewhere in the world that have had an effect on this country. The size of this project and the author’s wish to bring to the fore interesting and important material not covered in other historical work has necessitated the production of three volumes rather than the one as originally intended. Volume One contains essays on background topics.” (Catalogue)

Four Writers writing about Newtown….Now exclusively online

We recently had the great pleasure  of staging an event with Rachel Kerr author of Victory Park, Carl Shuker author of A Mistake, Michalia Arathimos author of Aukati and poet  Jackson Nieuwland reading their poem from their collection I am a human being in conversation with Mary McCallum at our  Newtown library.

These four esteemed authors all shared their experiences  about setting their works in Newtown. Each writer having a distinctly different take on  Newtown, with very different voices and all with very different things to say.

If you missed the live event we recorded it live and it’s now available for everyone. Enjoy!

The authors involved were…

Rachel Kerr has exploded onto the New Zealand literary scene with her debut novel Victory Park. About a single mother living on a block of flats in a fictionalised Newtown. Her life is humdrum until the mysterious Bridget moves into the flats, bringing with her unexpected friendship, glamour and wild dreams.

Carl Shuker’s A Mistake. When an operation what goes wrong, in a hospital based on Wellington Regional Hospital in Newtown a young woman dies, who is culpable and who is to blame. The moral and ethical repercussions of this tragic event are explored in this masterful work which was shortlisted for the Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize 2020.

Michalia Arathimos’s Aukati begins with two people arriving at a marae to protest fracking at a nearby farm. Family, political protest and culture intersect in this thoughtful, elegant, moving, and economically written novel. Michalia Arathimos describes herself as a Greek-New Zealander she currently is the Writer in Residence at Randell Cottage and will hold the Grimshaw Sargeson Fellowship in 2021.

Poet Jackson Nieuwland has been a busy person not only releasing their first beautiful, complex and surreal collection of poetry I am a Human Being, but also opening Food Court Books in Newtown and is also in the process of launching their own publishing house. This promises to be an unmissable event and all are very welcome.


Victory Park / Kerr, Rachel
“Kara lives in Victory Park council flats with her young son, just making a living by minding other people’s kids – her nightly smoke on the fire escape the only time she can drop her guard and imagine something better. But the truth is life is threadbare and unpromising until the mysterious Bridget moves in to the flats. The wife of a disgraced Ponzi schemer she brings with her glamour and wild dreams and an unexpected friendship. Drawn in, Kara forgets for a moment who she’s there to protect.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A mistake / Shuker, R. Carl
“Elizabeth Taylor is a surgeon at a city hospital, a gifted, driven and rare woman excelling in a male-dominated culture. One day, while operating on a young woman in a critical condition, something goes gravely wrong. A Mistake is a compelling story of human fallibility, and the dangerous hunger for black and white answers in a world of exponential complication and nuance.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The method actors : a novel / Shuker, R. Carl
“The disappearance of a young military historian leads his sister to Japan, where, among the hedonistic expatriate set of which he was a part, she uncovers evidence that her brother may have discovered evidence of war crimes committed by the Japanese during World War II. A first novel. Original. The Method Actors traces the disappearance of a young, gifted military historian named Michael Edwards from his desk in Tokyo and his sister Meredith’s return to the city in search of him. Michael’s research into international war crimes trials will take his sister through four hundred years of history, myth and propaganda, love and infidelity, religious transport and hallucination.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The lazy boys : a novel / Shuker, R. Carl
“Carl Shuker’s protagonist, Richard Sauer, heads off to college for no reason other than to escape the stultifying normalcy of his middle-class family in Timaru, New Zealand. He may appear ordinary in his aimlessness, mangling his way through his first year in college, but his bonging and banging, his anger and rage, take a brutal turn at an out-of-control dorm party which lands Richey in front of the disciplinary committee with a sexual harassment charge. Dropping out of school before he’s thrown out, Richey and his housemates Matt, Nick, and Ursula begin a freefall that forces Richey to face his most destructive desires.” ( Adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive cover Anti Lebanon, Carl Shuker (ebook)
“It is Arab Spring and the fate of the Christians of the Middle East is uncertain. The many Christians of Lebanon are walking a knife-edge, their very survival in their ancestral refuge in doubt, as the Lebanese government becomes Hezbollah-dominated, while Syria convulses with warring religious factions. Anti Lebanon is a cross-genre political thriller and horror story embedded within these recent events, featuring a multiethnic Christian family living out the lingering after-effects of Lebanon’s civil war as it struggles to deal with its phantoms, its ghosts, and its vampires. (Adapted fromOverdrive description)

Aukati / Arathimos, Michalia
“Alexia is a law student escaping the Greek family that stifles her, and Isaiah is a young Maori returning home to find the family he’s lost. Cut loose from their own cultures, they have volunteered to help Isaiah’s Taranaki iwi get rid of the fracking that’s devastating their land and water. The deeper Alexia and Isaiah go into the fight, the closer they get to understanding the different worlds they inhabit. But when a protest march becomes violent a boundary is crossed, and they need to decide where they stand and fast. It’s clear the police have been tipped off, and the activists gathered at the marae suspect they’re being watched or, worse, there is an informant in the group. Can Alexia and Isaiah be trusted? And more – can they trust themselves?” (Catalogue)

I am a human being / Nieuwland, Jackson
“Poet Jackson Nieuwland  first published collection is a beautiful, complex and surreal body  of work. The poems within are very intimate and display vulnerability, and fragility . Working with the concept that no single  word can adequately defines us. The multiplicity of who we are and what we have the potential to become is explored in a sequence of  poems such as I am an egg, I am a tree, I am a beaver, I am a bear, I am a bottomless pit etc. The works within are delicately accompanied by Steph Maree’s line drawings.” ( Adapted from Catalogue)

Monsters in the Garden Event…. Now exclusively online

Back at the tail end of 2020 we had the very special privilege of hosting an event to celebrate the recent publication of Monsters in the Garden: An Anthology of Aotearoa New Zealand Science Fiction and Fantasy.

In attendance were four of the most accomplished writers in New Zealand who all contributed works to the anthology: Elizabeth Knox, Tina Makereti, Dylan Horrocks and Craig Gamble.

The ensuing discussions were entertaining, informative, lively and a real insight into the inner workings of these fabulous authors as well as the current status of speculative fiction in Aotearoa.

If you missed the live event or want to re-experience this fascinating conversation you can watch below.

And keep your eyes peeled on our various social media channels for future events coming in 2021. Enjoy!



Monsters in the Garden : An Anthology of Aotearoa New Zealand Science Fiction and Fantasy / Knox, Elizabeth
“Casting its net widely, this anthology of Aotearoa-New Zealand science fiction and fantasy ranges from the satirical novels of the 19th-century utopians – one of which includes the first description of atmospheric aerobreaking in world literature – to the bleeding edge of now. Spaceships and worried sheep. Dragons and AI. The shopping mall that swallowed the Earth. The deviant, the fishy and the rum, all bioengineered for your reading pleasure. Featuring stories by some of the country’s best known writers as well as work from exciting new talent, Monsters in the Garden invites you for a walk on the wild side. We promise you’ll get back safely. Unchanged? Well, that’s another question.” (Publisher’s description)

Dreamhunter / Knox, Elizabeth
“Set in 1906, Dreamhunter describes a world very similar to ours, except for a special place, known simply as the Place, where only a select group of people can go. these people are called Dreamhunters and they harvest dreams which are then transmitted to the general public for the purposes of entertainment, therapy – or terror and political coercion. Fifteen-year-old cousins Laura Hame and Rose Tiebold both come from famous dreamhunting families, but only Laura proves to be blessed with the gift and once inside the Place she finds out what happened to her missing dreamhunter father .” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

The imaginary lives of James Pōneke / Makereti, Tina
‘The hour is late. The candle is low. Tomorrow I will see whether it is my friends or a ship homewards I meet. But first I must finish my story for you. My future, my descendant, my mokopuna. Listen.’ So begins the tale of James Poneke – orphaned son of a chief; ardent student of English; wide-eyed survivor. All the world’s a stage, especially when you’re a living exhibit. But anything can happen to a young New Zealander on the savage streets of Victorian London. When James meets the man with laughing dark eyes and the woman who dresses as a man, he begins to discover who people really are beneath their many guises.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Sam Zabel and the magic pen / Horrocks, Dylan
“A burned-out superhero comic artist goes on an adventure that spans time and space–with two female companions. Cartoonist Sam Zabel hasn’t drawn a comic in years. Stuck in a nightmare of creative block and despair, Sam spends his days writing superhero stories for a large American comics publisher and staring at a blank piece of paper, unable to draw a single line. Then one day he finds a mysterious old comic book set on Mars and is suddenly thrown headlong into a wild, fantastic journey through centuries of comics, stories, and imaginary worlds. (Adapted from Catalogue)

Our Festive Panoply of  Poets….Ruby Solly

As a special seasonal treat we’ve joined with author and music critic Simon Sweetman to curate and present to you a festive panoply of poets reading their works for Wellingtonians — one a day until Christmas.

Our final fabulous poet is Ruby Solly, who will be reading from her forthcoming collection Tōku Pāpā.


Ruby’s first solo collection of poetry, Tōku Pāpā is due to be released in February 2021.

About Ruby

“Ruby Solly (Kāi Tahu, Waitaha, Kāti Māmoe) is a writer, musician and taonga pūoro practitioner living in Pōneke. She has been published in journals such as Landfall, Starling and Sport, among others. In 2020 she released her debut album, Pōneke, which looks at the soundscapes of Wellington’s past, present and future through the use of taonga pūoro, cello, and environmental sounds. She is currently completing a PhD in public health, focusing on the use of taonga pūoro in hauora Māori. Tōku Pāpā, due to be published in Februrary 2021, [will be] her first book.”

From VUP

More from Ruby

Covid colab : a NZ lockdown music collaboration.
“Created during Alert Levels 4 and 3, Covid Colab is a gender-balanced, seven-track LP teeming with local talent. It features 37 Pōneke-based musicians.” (Description by Museums Wellington)

You can find Ruby’s debut album Pōneke on Bandcamp

During lockdown, Ruby was kind enough to speak to us about her work and her process. Have a listen to Ruby, speaking to our librarians Louise and Paul, below:

Our Festive Panoply of  Poets….. Maggie Rainey-Smith

As a special seasonal treat we’ve joined with author and music critic Simon Sweetman to curate and present to you a festive panoply of poets reading their works for Wellingtonians — one a day until Christmas.

Next up we have Maggie Rainey-Smith, reading a new work.

About Maggie

“Maggie Rainey-Smith is a novelist, poet, short story writer, essayist and book reviewer. Her latest novel Daughters of Messene is about immigration and the Greek Civil War. The Greek translation of this novel came out in June 2019 and is a best seller in Greece. In her working life she teaches Workplace English to migrants and refugees.”

From Maggie’s website

More from Maggie

About turns: a novel / Rainey-Smith, Maggie
“Irene has a secret. It slips out inadvertently during book club when the wine has been flowing too freely. Her teenage years as a marching girl are not something she had wanted her friend Ferrida to know about. She’s always wanted Ferrida’s approval, for her friendship is as important and fraught as the one with Paula, when they marched together all those years ago. But friends don’t necessarily march to the same beat, and Irene finds it hard to keep step. ABOUT TURNS, with its humorous insights into New Zealand women and their allegiances, will have you and your friends laughing in unison.” (Catalogue)

Daughters of Messene / Rainey-Smith, Maggie
“‘Your history, Artemis, is full of female warriors.’ Artemis has the name of a goddess, but she has trouble living up to it. Instead she usually just runs away. She’s running now … away from the married man she’s been seeing, and the Greek community in New Zealand who think they know what’s best, and into the arms of family in the Peloponnese that she’s never met. She carries her mother’s ashes and an ipod with recordings, which bit by bit tell the shocking story of what happened to Artemis’ grandmother during the Greek Civil War. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Still to come…

Still to come is a reading from Ruby Solly.

We’ll be posting up the latest in the series of poems every day until Christmas on the Library homepage and on our blog here, so keep an eye out!

Read all Festive Panoply posts

We’d like to extend our deepest gratitude to Simon Sweetman for curating these daily poems, and to the lovely people at Book Haven for allowing us to record in their bookshop. We hope you enjoy them as much as we have!

The death of music journalism / Sweetman, Simon
“Simon’s been writing poems since he was first listening to bands on his Walkman, but then he started sharing them via social media and open mic nights.  Marking a pivot from the razor-sharp and sometimes controversial music writing he is best known for, Simon’s collection is as wide-ranging as his career to date.  A natural storyteller whose poetry is filled with characters both famous and ordinary, this eagerly awaited collection is unpredictable, anarchic, playful and surprisingly heartfelt.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Our Festive Panoply of  Poets….. Michael Fitzsimons

As a special seasonal treat we’ve joined with author and music critic Simon Sweetman to curate and present to you a festive panoply of poets reading their works for Wellingtonians — one a day until Christmas.

Next up we have Michael Fitzsimons, reading an exclusive new poem.

About Michael

“Michael Fitzsimons is a writer and co-founder of Wellington communications and publishing company, Fitzbeck Creative. He’s a proud member of the three- person South Wellington Poetry Society and his first collection, Now You Know, combined poems with photography and was recommended in Radio New Zealand’s annual poetry highlights. Michael’s latest publishing project is Joy Cowley’s Veil Over Light. He lives in Seatoun with his wife, Rose, in a hillside house overlooking Wellington Harbour.”

Sourced from Cuba Press

More from Michael

Michael, I thought you were dead / Fitzsimons, Michael
“My favourite poet with a ponytail greets me warmly at the launch of his latest book of poems. Michael, he says, I thought you were dead. A pragmatic, intelligent, irreverent, and searching collection.” (Catalogue)

Still to come…

Still to come are readings from Maggie Rainey-Smith,  and Ruby Solly.

We’ll be posting up the latest in the series of poems every day until Christmas on the Library homepage and on our blog here, so keep an eye out!

Read all Festive Panoply posts

We’d like to extend our deepest gratitude to Simon Sweetman for curating these daily poems, and to the lovely people at Book Haven for allowing us to record in their bookshop. We hope you enjoy them as much as we have!

The death of music journalism / Sweetman, Simon
“Simon’s been writing poems since he was first listening to bands on his Walkman, but then he started sharing them via social media and open mic nights.  Marking a pivot from the razor-sharp and sometimes controversial music writing he is best known for, Simon’s collection is as wide-ranging as his career to date.  A natural storyteller whose poetry is filled with characters both famous and ordinary, this eagerly awaited collection is unpredictable, anarchic, playful and surprisingly heartfelt.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Our Festive Panoply of  Poets….Rachel McAlpine

As a special seasonal treat we’ve joined with author and music critic Simon Sweetman to curate and present to you a festive panoply of poets reading their works for Wellingtonians — one a day until Christmas.

Next up we have the lovely Rachel McAlpine, who will be reading from her collection How to be old.

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

About Rachel

Rachel says about her writing:

“Why do people hate and fear old age? Why is it so hard to see ourselves as belonging to the kingdom of old? Why does my own ageing seem overall a positive thing? What should I do with these age-related changes? What do other people think and feel and do? What am I for? How can I help?”

“Those questions puzzle me as I meander past my 80th year, and I explore them through poems, books, podcast and blog.”

Read more about Rachel, on her website writeintolife.com

More by Rachel

Scarlet heels : 26 stories about sex / McAlpine, Rachel
“Twenty-six women, young and old, talk about moments when sex (or abstaining from sex) changed their lives somehow, brirnging clarity, change, or love. Their stories happened decades ago or yesterday, in Alaska, California, England, Nigeria, Ascension Island or New Zealand – in a pulpit, garden, airport, cupboard, train or bed.” (Catalogue)

Templates / McAlpine, Rachel
“Touching insights into growing older. Six poems, six old photos of six little girls. A precious gift for contemplating life.” (Catalogue)

Tactics / McAlpine, Rachel
“Adorable poems with advice from a five-year-old life coach. Useful tips on breathing, voting, and killing zombies. A charming gift for anyone who interacts with children.” (Catalogue)

Another 100 New Zealand poems for children
“From computers and robots to moa and tuatara, from popcorn and mud pies to drought and howling wind, this sequel to 100 New Zealand Poems for Children speaks to New Zealand children today.” (Catalogue)

Still to come…

Still to come are readings from Maggie Rainey-Smith, Michael Fitzsimons,  and Ruby Solly.

We’ll be posting up the latest in the series of poems every day until Christmas on the Library homepage and on our blog here, so keep an eye out!

Read all Festive Panoply posts

We’d like to extend our deepest gratitude to Simon Sweetman for curating these daily poems, and to the lovely people at Book Haven for allowing us to record in their bookshop. We hope you enjoy them as much as we have!

The death of music journalism / Sweetman, Simon
“Simon’s been writing poems since he was first listening to bands on his Walkman, but then he started sharing them via social media and open mic nights.  Marking a pivot from the razor-sharp and sometimes controversial music writing he is best known for, Simon’s collection is as wide-ranging as his career to date.  A natural storyteller whose poetry is filled with characters both famous and ordinary, this eagerly awaited collection is unpredictable, anarchic, playful and surprisingly heartfelt.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Our Festive Panoply of  Poets….. Richard Langston

As a special seasonal treat we’ve joined with author and music critic Simon Sweetman to curate and present to you a festive panoply of poets reading their works for Wellingtonians — one a day until Christmas.

Next up we have Richard Langston, who will be reading from his collection Five o’clock shadows.

Five o’clock shadows / Langston, Richard
“Poems that return over and over to the land – an offering to the country of Richard’s bones and of his heart. From a longdrop that demands binoculars to Caberfeidh in the Catlins where his father picked plums from the passing train, Richard Langston writes poems that return over and over to the land. Born to a Lebanese immigrant family in Dunedin, and a Country Calendar director by trade, he is constantly refreshing his acquaintance with the country he calls home. Somehow writing it down seals the deal. ‘We make marks in ink,’ he says. ‘We are here.’ Poetry is incantation too, and Richard uses it to call family from the shadows and sing ancestors into being, a tentative offering to the country of his bones and of his heart.” (Publisher description)

About Richard

“Richard Langston is a veteran broadcasting journalist and director, who comes from Dunedin, and was a driving force in the city’s music scene in the 1980s. He lives in Wellington and is a proud member of the three-person South Wellington Poetry Society.”

From The Cuba Press website

More by Richard

The newspaper poems / Langston, Richard
“`Regard this as a bouquet to ink  this is Richard Langston’s paean to the world of newspaper to the world of newspaper reporting and reporters. To the gone age of the setting of metal type, the sound of a roomful of typewriters. To the past age of the afternoon city newspaper. This was the age of journalism before it went to university, the time of journalist as character.” (Catalogue)

The trouble lamp / Langston, Richard
“A collection of poems by Richard Langston some previously published.” ( Adapted from Catalogue)

Things lay in pieces / Langston, Richard
“Poet / Journalist Richard Langston’s fifth collection Things Lay in Pieces features 50 poems written about the Christchurch earthquake. These are poems of invention and witness that mix the everyday with the lyrical.” (Catalogue)

Still to come…

Still to come are readings from Rachel McAlpine, Maggie Rainey-Smith, Michael Fitzsimons,  and Ruby Solly.

We’ll be posting up the latest in the series of poems every day until Christmas on the Library homepage and on our blog here, so keep an eye out!

Read all Festive Panoply posts

We’d like to extend our deepest gratitude to Simon Sweetman for curating these daily poems, and to the lovely people at Book Haven for allowing us to record in their bookshop. We hope you enjoy them as much as we have!

The death of music journalism / Sweetman, Simon
“Simon’s been writing poems since he was first listening to bands on his Walkman, but then he started sharing them via social media and open mic nights.  Marking a pivot from the razor-sharp and sometimes controversial music writing he is best known for, Simon’s collection is as wide-ranging as his career to date.  A natural storyteller whose poetry is filled with characters both famous and ordinary, this eagerly awaited collection is unpredictable, anarchic, playful and surprisingly heartfelt.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Our Festive Panoply of  Poets….Mary McCallum

As a special seasonal treat we’ve joined with author and music critic Simon Sweetman to curate and present to you a festive panoply of poets reading their works for Wellingtonians — one a day until Christmas.

Next up we have Mary McCallum who will be reading from her collection XYZ of happiness.

XYZ of happiness / McCallum, Mary
“These are poems of happiness… as it comes, when it’s missing and when it is hoped for. Pastel and glib or orange and high-vis, it is almost invisible in a chemical cocktail and strangely visible – but unreachable – in an equation etched into glass. It is a dog unleashed on the grass and a man going about measuring the Earth. It can be heard at the end chemotherapy and in a conversation in the kitchen while a boy drowns in the harbour outside. It wears a pink T-shirt, spins with sycamore seeds and spends a whole poem finding a yellow it can live with.” (Description from Mākaro Press)

About Mary

“Mary McCallum is a novelist, poet, songwriter and publisher. Her novel The Blue won two national book awards in 2007, she is the inaugural winner of the Caselberg Trust International Poetry Prize and her children’s novel Dappled Annie and the Tigrish won a Kirkus Star in the US. She founded Mākaro Press in 2013 and her band The Brooklyns plays around Wellington. She has three adult children and lives with her husband and his selection of yellow socks in Wellington and the Wairarapa.”

From Mākaro Press

More by Mary

The blue / McCallum, Mary
“Lilian lives in an isolated island community at the mouth of Tory Channel trying to make the best of a life that has at its core a secret grief. It is 1938 and for three months of every year the men take to the sea to hunt whales with fast boats and explosive harpoons. This year, the whales aren’t the only ones returning – Lilian’s troubled son Micky has come home too. In this rugged, unsettled world, things are not always what they seem.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Dappled Annie and the Tigrish / McCallum, Mary
“A beautifully written novel about nature, siblings, bravery, and a touch of something magical. There are faces in the hedge at the end of the garden, and a nest of tiny fantails, and that’s where 9-year-old Annie goes to play one hot summer while her father works up at the lighthouse. One after another, an earthquake and a terrible wind leave Annie with losses that seem irreplaceable, and her little brother Robbie emerges as the only person who can help her find what she’s lost. Him and the tigrish.” (Catalogue)

Still to come…

Still to come are readings from Richard Langston, Rachel McAlpine, Maggie Rainey-Smith, Michael Fitzsimons,  and Ruby Solly.

We’ll be posting up the latest in the series of poems every day until Christmas on the Library homepage and on our blog here, so keep an eye out!

Read all Festive Panoply posts

We’d like to extend our deepest gratitude to Simon Sweetman for curating these daily poems, and to the lovely people at Book Haven for allowing us to record in their bookshop. We hope you enjoy them as much as we have!

The death of music journalism / Sweetman, Simon
“Simon’s been writing poems since he was first listening to bands on his Walkman, but then he started sharing them via social media and open mic nights.  Marking a pivot from the razor-sharp and sometimes controversial music writing he is best known for, Simon’s collection is as wide-ranging as his career to date.  A natural storyteller whose poetry is filled with characters both famous and ordinary, this eagerly awaited collection is unpredictable, anarchic, playful and surprisingly heartfelt.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Our Festive Panoply of  Poets….Simon and Oscar Sweetman

As a special seasonal treat we’ve joined with author and music critic Simon Sweetman to curate and present to you a festive panoply of poets reading their works for Wellingtonians — one a day until Christmas.

Next up we have a very special double bill — Simon himself and his son Oscar Sweetman. Simon will be reading from his collection The Death of Music Journalismp, while Oscar will be making his poetry reading debut. Have a listen below, and enjoy!

The death of music journalism / Sweetman, Simon
“Simon’s been writing poems since he was first listening to bands on his Walkman, but then he started sharing them via social media and open mic nights. Word got around and he was a sleeper hit at LitCrawl’s Lit-Sync For Your Life and the 2020 Variety for Fierys. Marking a pivot from the razor-sharp music writing he is best known for, Simon’s collection is as wide-ranging as his career to date. A natural storyteller whose poetry is filled with characters both famous and ordinary, this eagerly awaited collection is unpredictable, anarchic, playful and surprisingly heartfelt.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

About Simon

“Simon Sweetman is a music journalist, short story writer and poet. He blogs at Off The Tracks. Simon was born in Hastings in 1976.”

From Simon’s profile on The Spinoff

You can find more of Simon’s music journalism over at offthetracks.co.nz

We’d like to extend our deepest gratitude to Simon for curating these daily poems, and to the lovely people at Book Haven for allowing us to record in their bookshop. We hope you enjoy Simon and Oscar’s wonderful work as much as we have!

More books by Simon

OnSong : stories behind New Zealand’s pop classics / Sweetman, Simon
“On Song is a lively journey through New Zealand’s diverse pop landscape. Prolific music journalist Simon Sweetman has interviewed the writers and performers of beloved Kiwi classics, presenting ‘in conversation’ text that illuminates the fascinating stories behind the pop songs we all know and love, all complemented with a plethora of artists’ personal imagery and archival photography. A stunning portrait of modern New Zealand through music.” (Catalogue)

Still to come…

Still to come are readings from Mary McCallum, Richard Langston, Rachel McAlpine, Maggie Rainey-Smith, Michael Fitzsimons,  and Ruby Solly.

We’ll be posting up the latest in the series of poems every day until Christmas on the Library homepage and on our blog here, so keep an eye out!

Read all Festive Panoply posts

A Festive Panoply of Poets…. a Reading from Chris Tse

As a special seasonal treat we’ve joined with author and music critic Simon Sweetman to curate and present to you a festive panoply of poets reading their works for Wellingtonians — one a day until Christmas.

First up is the wonderful Chris Tse, reading a poem from his collection he’s so MASC. Have a listen below, and enjoy!

he’s so MASC / Tse, Chris
he’s So MASC confronts a contemporary world of self-loathing poets and compulsive liars, of youth and sexual identity, and of the author as character — pop star, actor, hitman, and much more. These are poems that delve into worlds of hyper-masculine romanticism and dancing alone in night clubs. With its many modes and influences, he’s So MASC is an acerbic, acid-bright, yet unapologetically sentimental and personal reflection on what it means to perform and dissect identity, as a poet and a person.” (Library Catalogue)

About Chris

“Chris Tse was born and raised in Lower Hutt, New Zealand. He studied film and English literature at Victoria University of Wellington, where he also completed an MA in Creative Writing at the International Institute of Modern Letters.”

“His poetry, short fiction, and non-fiction have been recorded for radio and widely published in numerous journals, magazines and anthologies, including Best New Zealand Poems, Sport, Turbine, The New Zealand Listener, Fishhead, Landfall, Cha, Poetry NZ, Takahe, JAAM, Snorkel, Sweet Mammalian, Glitterwolf, Cordite Poetry Review, Ika, Cyphers, Poetry, Capital Magazine, The Spinoff, and Mimicry.”

Excerpted from Chris’s website

More from Chris

How to be dead in a year of snakes / Tse, Chris
“In 1905, white supremacist Lionel Terry murdered the Cantonese gold prospector Joe Kum Yung to draw attention to his crusade to rid New Zealand of Chinese and other east Asian immigrants. Author Chris Tse uses this story–and its reenactment for a documentary a hundred years later–to reflect on the experiences of Chinese migrants of the period, their wishes and hopes, their estrangement and alienation, their ghostly reverberation through a white-majority culture. How to be Dead in a Year of Snakes” is a welcome poetic addition to New Zealand literature.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

New Zealand’s China experience : its genesis, triumphs, and occasional moments of less than complete success
New Zealand’s China Experience collects fiction, poetry, personal accounts, historical narrative, anecdotes, transcribed oral narratives, newspaper articles and more, all bearing in one way or another on New Zealand perceptions of China and contacts with China and the Chinese. The book is richly illustrated with photographs, paintings, posters, and cartoons, and includes photographs by Brian Brake, George Silk, and Tom Hutchins, and three works by the contemporary artist Kerry Ann Lee. This unique collection brings together history from an 1823 report pointing to the importance of the Chinese market, to firsthand reports of the bombing of Shanghai from Yunan caves. The book also marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between New Zealand and China in December 1972.” (Catalogue)

Browse everything by Chris

Still to come…

Still to come are readings from Mary McCallum, Richard Langston, Sam Duckor-Jones, Rachel McAlpine, Simon Sweetman, Oscar Sweetman, Maggie Rainey-Smith, Michael Fitzsimons, Janis Freegard,  and Ruby Solly.

We’ll be posting up the latest in the series of poems every day until Christmas on the Library homepage and on our blog here, so keep an eye out!

Read all Festive Panoply posts

A big thank you to Simon Sweetman for curating these daily poems, and to the lovely people at Book Haven for allowing us to record in their bookshop. We hope you enjoy them as much as we have!

The death of music journalism / Sweetman, Simon
“Simon’s been writing poems since he was first listening to bands on his Walkman, but then he started sharing them via social media and open mic nights.  Marking a pivot from the razor-sharp and sometimes controversial music writing he is best known for, Simon’s collection is as wide-ranging as his career to date.  A natural storyteller whose poetry is filled with characters both famous and ordinary, this eagerly awaited collection is unpredictable, anarchic, playful and surprisingly heartfelt.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Creature Feature. Our spotlight on Dylan Horrocks


When we make art, the landscape that we are really exploring is the landscape of the human imagination.” — Dylan Horrocks

Dylan Horrocks is one of the most talented and versatile cartoonists working in NZ today, his works range from the Tour De force that is Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen to Hunter: The Age of Magic to Batgirl and Supergirl as well as the acclaimed Hicksville and his illustrations have been exhibited in many galleries including City Gallery Wellington, The Dowse Gallery in Lower Hutt, Centre National de la Bande Dessinee Internationale (CNBDI) in Angoulême, France and Auckland City Art Gallery to name but a few.

Dylan is one of the four authors at our unmissable Monsters in the Garden event which will have conversations and readings from Dylan as well as Elizabeth Knox, Tina Makereti and Craig Gamble the event is Free and all are very welcome.

______________________________

9th December 2020

Te Awe Library – 29 Brandon Street

12.30pm to 1.30 pm

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Incomplete works / Horrocks, Dylan
“Daydreams, fantasy, true love, and procrastination feature strongly in this selection of Dylan Horrocks’s shorter comics running from 1986 to 2012. It is both the chronicle of an age and a portrait of one man’s heroic struggle to get some work done.” (Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Hicksville : a comic book / Horrocks, Dylan
“Introduction by Seth.,World-famous cartoonist Dick Burger has earned,millions and become the most powerful man in the,comics industry. However, behind his rapid rise to,success, there lies a dark and terrible secret, as,biographer Leonard Batts discovers when he visits,Burger’s hometown in remote New Zealand. A rich,and captivating book, one of the best graphic,novels of the past decade. World-famous cartoonist Dick Burger has earned millions and become the most powerful man in the comics industry. However, behind his rapid rise to success, there lies a dark and terrible secret, as biographer Leonard Batts discovers when he visits Burger’s hometown in remote New Zealand.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Batman : War games. Book two.
“The complete epic conclusion of the “War Games” saga that changed the criminal underworld of Gotham City forever Stephanie Brown, also known as the vigilante Spoiler, has made her former partner Batman’s training scenario a chilling reality. The various crime families are leaderless…the soldiers running for their lives while trying to grab a piece of the underworld pie for themselves. Batman is stunned to learn that the wave of terror and death threatening his beloved Gotham City originated closer to home than he ever imagined, and that someone he once trusted is responsible for the carnage. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Monstrous affections : an anthology of beastly tales
“Fifteen top voices in speculative fiction explore the intersection of fear and love in a haunting, at times hilarious, darkly imaginative volume. Predatory kraken that sing with — and for — their kin; band members and betrayed friends who happen to be demonic; harpies as likely to attract as repel. Welcome to a world where humans live side by side with monsters, from vampires both nostalgic and bumbling to an eight-legged alien who makes tea. Here you’ll find mercurial forms that burrow into warm fat, spectral boy toys, a Maori force of nature, a landform that claims lives, and an architect of hell on earth. ” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Sam Zabel and the magic pen / Horrocks, Dylan
“A burned-out superhero comic artist goes on an adventure that spans time and space–with two female companions. Sam spends his days writing superhero stories for a large American comics publisher and staring at a blank piece of paper, unable to draw a single line. Then one day he finds a mysterious old comic book set on Mars and is suddenly thrown headlong into a wild, fantastic journey through centuries of comics, stories, and imaginary worlds. Accompanied by a young webcomic creator named Alice and an enigmatic schoolgirl with rocket boots and a bag full of comics, Sam goes in search of the Magic Pen.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Creature Feature. Our spotlight on Tina Makereti

The hour is late. The candle is low. Tomorrow I will see whether it is my friends or a ship homewards I meet. But I must finish my story for you first. My future, my descendant, my mokopuna. Listen.’ —Tina Makereti from The Imaginary Lives of James Poneke. 

Tina Makereti’s fabulous fourth book The Imaginary Lives of James Poneke was shortlisted for: The New Zealand Heritage Book Awards and Longlisted for Ockham New Zealand Book Awards and the International Dublin Literary Award. The story of a young Maori boy put on display as a curiosity in Victorian London the tale is told from the first person and is an enthralling, compassionate and engrossing read that deals with big issues that are all still very relevant to this day.

Tina is one of the four authors at our unmissable Monsters in the Garden event which will have conversations and readings from Tina as well as Elizabeth Knox, Dylan Horrocks and Craig Gamble the event is Free and all are very welcome.

______________________________

9th December 2020

Te Awe Library – 29 Brandon Street

12.30pm to 1.30 pm

______________________________

Where the Rēkohu bone sings / Makereti, Tina
“In the 1880s, Mere yearns for independence. Iraia wants the same but, as the descendant of a slave, such things are hardly conceivable. One summer, they notice their friendship has changed, but if they are ever to experience freedom they will need to leave their home in the Queen Charlotte Sounds. A hundred years later, Lula and Bigs are born. The birth is literally one in a million, as their mother, Tui, likes to say. When Tui dies, they learn there is much she kept secret and they, too, will need to travel beyond their world, to an island they barely knew existed. Neither Mere and Iraia nor Lula and Bigs are aware that someone else is part of their journeys. He does not watch over them so much as through them, feeling their loss and confusion as if it were his own.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Once upon a time in Aotearoa / Makereti, Tina
“Once Upon a Time in Aotearoa explores a world where mythological characters and stories become part of everyday life. Old and new worlds co-exist, cultures mingle, and magic happens. Familiar characters appear, but in these versions the gods live in a contemporary world and are motivated by human concerns. In this perplexing world, characters connect with each other and find ancient wisdom that carries them through. Bold and sexy, this collection is a crafty combo of mystery and history that makes the old new.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Black marks on the white page
“Stones move, whale bones rise out of the ground like cities, a man figures out how to raise seven daughters alone. Sometimes gods speak or we find ourselves in a not-too-distant future. Here are the glorious, painful, sharp and funny 21st century stories of Maori and Pasifika writers from all over the world. Vibrant, provocative and aesthetically exciting, these stories expand our sense of what is possible in Indigenous Oceanic writing. Witi Ihimaera and Tina Makereti present the very best new and uncollected stories and novel excerpts, creating a talanoa, a conversation, where the stories do the talking.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

The imaginary lives of James Pōneke / Makereti, Tina
” All the world’s a stage, especially when you’re a living exhibit. But anything can happen to a young New Zealander on the savage streets of Victorian London. When James meets the man with laughing dark eyes and the woman who dresses as a man, he begins to discover who people really are beneath their many guises.Although London is everything James most desires, this new world is more dark and dazzling than he could have imagined.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Breton Dukes shares his writing hints and tips for NaNoWriMo

 

Breton Dukes author of What Sort of Man, Bird North and Empty Bones shares his writing hints and tips for NaNoWriMo.

With NaNoWriMo now in full swing and scores of people busy beavering away at various branches of our library network throughout Wellington. We thought now is an excellent time to step back for a moment take stock, seek advice and ask some of New Zealand’s leading authors for any helpful suggestions they might have to help people on their way.

Breton Dukes has these tips:

Expect to fail. Over and over. Enjoy the failure. Enjoy the work of writing, forget about fame or whatever, just enjoy the act of sitting at your desk/table/wherever and making stuff up. Do it enough – the sitting and working – and you’ll create a habit. With the habit ingrained, you’ll get work made. Once you’ve made something, run through the whole thing again. Keep going through it until it makes a clear, seamless sound in your brain. Then give it to someone you trust to read. Make changes based on their feedback. Take time away from the project. A month or so. Then re-read and rewrite parts that don’t seem right. Send the work to a magazine/newspaper/online journal. While awaiting response, start a new project. Expect failure – embrace failure!

– Do you have any writing rituals you follow before starting writing?
Avoid rituals. They’ll stop you from getting work done.


Branches hosting “Come Write In” spaces for NaNoWriMo:

Newtown Library – Special one-off event on Monday 9th November 4.00pm
Kilbirnie – Special one off on Monday the 16th at 4.00pm
Te Awe Library – Monday – Friday 5.30pm – 7.30pm; Saturday – Sunday 12.00 – 2.00pm
Arapaki Library – Thursdays and Fridays 5.00 – 7.00pm
Mervyn Kemp (Tawa) Library – Wednesdays 10.00am – 2.00pm
Johnsonville Library – Tuesdays 4.00 – 6.30pm and Sundays 10.00am – 4.00pm
Karori Library – Fridays 3.00pm – 5.00pm and Saturdays 10.00am – 1.00pm
Cummings Park (Ngaio) Library – Mondays 5.00pm – 7.00pm and Wednesdays 2.00 – 5.00pm


We wish to thank Breton for his invaluable advice.

Coming soon award winning author  Catherine Chidgey and debut novelist Mikaela Nyman share their NaNoWriMo hints and tips. For full details on NaNoWriMo click here.


Empty bones : and other stories / Dukes, Breton
“From the author of the acclaimed short story collection Bird North, Empty Bones is a novella accompanied by five equally raw, intense, and comical short stories. Empty Bones is weightlifting, infidelity, drunk driving, facelifts, and childbirth. It’s a family and their weekend reunion. It is Lisbon to Madrid on the night train and Auckland to Wellington on a motorbike. It is the end, the beginning, and the gristly in between.” (Catalogue)

Overdrive cover Bird North and Other Stories, Breton Dukes (ebook)
“The vignettes in these fresh, searing short stories, closely examine the complex male life. From a predatory act during a cross-country run in Fiordland to a doomed diving trip off Wellington’s south coast, this collection combines emotional urgency with a surprising dose of humor to a great range of worlds. The result is a startlingly candid portraiture of the modern man.” (Overdrive description)

The Nancys: Our Interview with Ngaio Marsh Finalist R.W.R. McDonald

This year’s Ngaio Marsh Awards shortlist is full of outstanding New Zealand novels that cover a wide range of styles and tones in stories entwined with crime, mystery, thrills, and suspense. And it is going to be a really difficult task for the judges to pick a winner.

R.W.R. McDonald’s debut novel The Nancys is one of most unique books among the list. Set in South Otago, the book is about friends, family, a murder  and young girl’s obsession with the Nancy Drew series of books. It’s simultaneously funny, dark, touching and ultimately joyously uplifting.

The charismatic author of The Nancys R.W.R. McDonald took some time out of his busy schedule to do a really special online piece for us and talk to us about The Nancys,  his literary influences, and also give us a very special fireside reading–not to mention introducing us to Harry his cat!

We want to extend our biggest thank you to R.W.R. McDonald for his time and such a great interview. And we wish him and his fellow shortlisted authors good luck in the final awards ceremony.

The finalists will be celebrated, and the winners announced, as part of a special event at this year’s WORD Christchurch Festival, held from 29 October to 1 November. Enjoy!

Below are some of the books that influenced R.W.R. McDonald and were mentioned in his interview. You can also borrow a copy of The Nancys here or buy yourself a copy here!

The hidden staircase / Keene, Carolyn
“After receiving a call from her friend Helen Corning, Nancy agrees to help solve a baffling mystery. Helen’s Aunt Rosemary has been living with her mother at the old family mansion, and they have noticed many strange things. They have heard music, thumps and seen eerie shadows on the walls. Could the house be haunted? Will Nancy be able to find  how these mysteries are related?” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an Audiobook.

Kiss kiss / Dahl, Roald
“Contains stories including The Landlady, William and Mary, The Way up to Heaven, Parson’s Pleasures, Mrs Bixby and the Colonel’s Coat, Royal Jelly, Gregory Progy, Genesis and Catastrophe, Edwards the Conqueror, Pig and The Champion of the World.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Charlie and the chocolate factory / Dahl, Roald
“Mr Willy Wonka is the most extraordinary chocolate maker in the world. And do you know who Charlie is? Charlie Bucket is the hero. The other children in this book are nasty little beasts, called- Augustus Gloop- a great big greedy nincompoop; Veruca Salt- a spoiled brat; Violet Beauregarde – a repulsive little gum-chewer; Mike Teavee – a boy who only watches television. Clutching their Golden Tickets, they arrive at Wonka’s chocolate factory…” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an Audiobook. 

To the lighthouse / Woolf, Virginia
“Set on the beautiful Isle of Skye. To the Lighthouse features the serene and maternal Mrs. Ramsay, the tragic yet absurd Mr. Ramsay, and their children and assorted guests who are on holiday on the Isle of Skye. From the seemingly trivial postponement of a visit to a nearby lighthouse, Virginia Woolf constructs a moving examination of the complex tensions and allegiances of family life and the conflicts within a marriage…. the sea encircles the story in a brilliant ebb and flow” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an Audiobook. 

The whale rider / Ihimaera, Witi
“This timeless story tells how the courage of one Maori girl in standing against the tide of tradition enables her tribe to become reconnected with their ancestral life force. As her beloved grandfather, chief of the Maori tribe of Whangara, New Zealand, struggles to lead in difficult times and to find a male successor, young Kahu is developing a mysterious relationship with whales, particularly the ancient bull whale whose legendary rider was their ancestor.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

A Saint from Texas [paperback] / White, Edmund
“Yvette and Yvonne Crawford are twin sisters, born on a humble patch of East Texas prairie but bound for far grander fates. Just as an untold fortune of oil lies beneath their daddy’s land, both girls harbour their own secrets and dreams: ones that will carry them far from Texas and from each other. As the decades unfold, Yvonne will ascend the highest ranks of Parisian society as Yvette gives herself to a lifetime of worship. And yet, even as they remake themselves, the twins find that the bonds of family and the past are unbreakable.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Margaret Mahy treasury : eleven favourite stories from the marvellous Margaret Mahy. / Mahy, Margaret
“The Margaret Mahy Treasury contains eleven favourite Mahy stories. In this volume you will find such timeless classics as A Lion in the Meadow, The Witch in the Cherry Tree, The Man Whose Mother was a Pirate and many more. These beautifully illustrated stories are childhood essentials. This book contains a CD of Margaret Mahy reading six of her classic stories.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Nancys / McDonald, R. W. R.
“”Tippy Chan is eleven and lives in a small town in a very quiet part of the world – the place her Uncle Pike escaped from the first chance he got as a teenager. Now Pike is back with his new boyfriend Devon to look after Tippy while her mum’s on a cruise. Tippy is in love with her uncle’s old Nancy Drew books; she wants to be Nancy and solve a real mystery. When her teacher’s body is found beside Riverstone’s only traffic light, Tippy’s moment has arrived.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Find out more about the Ngaio Marsh Awards here. For R.W.R. McDonald’s official site.

Ask Ben Aaronovitch a Question!

We are very excited to announce that in October we will be doing a pre-recorded Question and Answer online event with the international bestselling author Ben Aaronovitch–and we need your help with the questions!

Ben Aaronovitch is one of the most popular science fiction and fantasy writers in the world today. His Rivers of London series has been translated into 14 languages worldwide, with every one of the novels becoming a Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller. Ben has been a screenwriter for Doctor Who, Casualty and has written spin-off novels for Doctor Who and Blake 7. His work has even been adapted into a fantastic graphic novel series.

So if you’ve ever wanted to ask Ben Aaronovitch a question, now’s your chance!

Simply send us your questions via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or email and we’ll do our best to ask them during the event. And in the meantime, check out the selection of Ben’s work we have available to borrow throughout our libraries. Enjoy!

False value / Aaronovitch, Ben
“Peter Grant is facing fatherhood, and an uncertain future, with equal amounts of panic and enthusiasm. Rather than sit around, he takes a job with émigré Silicon Valley tech genius Terrence Skinner’s brand new London start up – the Serious Cybernetics Company. Drawn into the orbit of Old Street’s famous “silicon roundabout”, Peter must learn how to blend in with people who are both civilians and geekier than he is. But magic is not finished with Mama Grant’s favourite son.” (Adapted from  Catalogue)

The October man / Aaronovitch, Ben
“When a man is found dead with his body impossibly covered in a fungal rot, the local authorities know they are out of their depth. But fortunately this is Germany, where there are procedures for everything.Enter Tobias Winter, an investigator for the Abteilung KDA, the branch of the German Federal Criminal Police which handles the supernatural. His aim is to get in, deal with the problem, and get out with the minimum of fuss, personal danger, and paperwork.” (Catalogue)

Foxglove summer / Aaronovitch, Ben
“Ben Aaronovitch takes Peter Grant out of whatever comfort zone he might have found and takes him out of London – to a small village in Herefordshire where the local police are reluctant to admit that there might be a supernatural element to the disappearance of some local children. But while you can take the London copper out of London you can’t take the London out of the copper. Peter soon finds himself caught up in a deep mystery and having to tackle local cops and local gods.” (Catalogue). Also available as an Audiobook. 

The furthest station / Aaronovitch, Ben
” Traumatised travellers have been reporting strange encounters on their morning commute, with strangely dressed people trying to deliver an urgent message. Stranger still, despite calling the police themselves, within a few minutes the commuters have already forgotten the encounter – making the follow up interviews rather difficult. So with a little help from Abigail and Toby the ghost hunting dog, Peter and Jaget are heading out on a ghost hunting expedition…” (Catalogue)

Lies sleeping / Aaronovitch, Ben
“The Faceless Man, wanted for multiple counts of murder, fraud, and crimes against humanity, is on the run. Peter Grant, Detective Constable and apprentice wizard, now plays a key role in an unprecedented joint operation to bring him to justice. But even as the unwieldy might of the Metropolitan Police bears down on its foe, Peter uncovers clues that the Faceless Man, far from being finished, is executing the final stages of a long term plan.” (Catalogue)

The hanging tree / Aaronovitch, Ben
“Suspicious deaths are not usually the concern of Police Constable Peter Grant or the Folly–London’s police department for supernatural cases–even when they happen at an exclusive party in one of the flats of the most expensive apartment blocks in London. But the daughter of Lady Ty, influential goddess of the Tyburn river, was there, and Peter owes Lady Ty a favor. Plunged into the alien world of the super-rich, a sensible young copper would keep his head down. But this is Peter Grant we’re talking about.” (Catalogue)

Rivers of London [1] : body work / Aaronovitch, Ben
“Peter Grant, having become the first English apprentice wizard in fifty years, must immediately deal with two different but ultimately inter-related cases. In one he must find what is possessing ordinary people and turning them into vicious killers, and in the second he must broker a peace between the two warring gods of the River Thames.  The graphic novel is based on the bestselling novel “Rivers of London.” (Catalogue)

Rivers of London [2] : night witch / Aaronovitch, Ben
“Press-ganged into helping a Russian oligarch hunt his missing daughter, PC Peter Grant and his boss, Thomas Nightingale, London’s only wizarding cops, find themselves caught up in a battle between Russian gunmen, a monstrous forest creature – and their nemesis: The Faceless Man. But as Grant and Nightingale close in on the missing girl, they discover that nothing about this case is what it seems!” (Catalogue)

“Taunaha Whenua: Naming the Land”, a Matariki Kōrero from Honiana Love

Tēnā koutou katoa e te whānau! Nau mai, haere mai ki te whakarongo ki tēnei kōrero. This matariki, we are proud to present a kōrero from Honiana Love about the significance of place names around Pōneke.

Honiana Love, Kaiāwhina Tumu Whakarae, Ngā Taonga Sound. Photo credit: Stephen A’Court.

Matariki is a powerful time of reflection, and there’s no better time than now to learn more about the history of Aotearoa.

Ngā Taonga, The National Library and Wellington City Libraries are proud to present Honiana Love’s kōrero “Taunaha Whēnua: Naming the Land”, at the National Library, on 16 July at 1230pm.

Honiana is Tumu Whakarae / Chief Executive of Ngā Taonga, and she will be discussing how names like Owhiro, Pipitea and Kaitoa have much to tell us about the gardens, swamps and food-gathering areas which have stood where we stand today.

This event is a free presentation of Ngā Taonga, The National Library of New Zealand and Wellington City Libraries. All are welcome, and the event will be recorded and shared at a later date.

“Taunaha Whēnua: Naming the Land” is part of Wellington City Libraries’ #purapurawhetu Matariki festival. You can learn more here about our other events, for tamariki and their whānau, these school holidays.

Grab a book, pull up a seat and relax in the Outdoor Reading Room

Te Ngākau Civic Square will be transformed into a giant Outdoor Reading Room stocked with decommissioned library books that readers are free to take home.

Mayor of Wellington Andy Foster in the Civic Square with the Pop Up Library

The five-week-long celebration of books will be open from 10am to 3pm Wednesday to Saturday. The first scheduled day is Wednesday 12 February, the last day will be Saturday 14 March. All days are weather dependent.

The Civic Square’s artificial turf will be reconstructed into the Outdoor Reading Room using 24 bean bags, shelves of books, outdoor umbrellas, café style tables and chairs, stools and a large kids activity table. The furniture will be a mix or red, orange, yellow, green and blue, taking inspiration from the City Gallery’s Yayoi Kusama installation in 2009.

We have provided a stock of decommissioned library books which will be regularly replenished as readers find gems to take home.

Some book-related events will also be held at the Outdoor Reading Room. These include readings from local authors involved with the New Zealand Festival, and children’s reading sessions with Wellington City Libraries.

Free daily copies of The Dominion Post, back copies of Capital magazine, Salient student magazine, as well as crayons and colouring cards will also be available.

WellingtonNZ General Manager Anna Calver says the Outdoor Reading Room will help bring vibrancy back to Civic Square.

“We expect it to be popular with a wide range of people from parents taking their children and lunchtime workers, through to those missing the Central Library and visitors to Wellington.

“The Outdoor Reading Room is the perfect place to grab a book and relax in the heart of Wellington. It also provides the opportunity for booklovers to check out the nearby galleries, cafes and shops.”

Mayor of Wellington Andy Foster in the Civic Square with the Pop Up Library

Wellington Mayor Andy Foster says the Outdoor Reading Room is a very welcome event.

“Te Ngākau literally means the ‘heart’ and events like this keep the heartbeat of Civic Square alive.  The Outdoor Reading Room will bring people back to the area to enjoy a novel pop-up library.

“Civic Square is an important location for people to mix and mingle and I know people are pining for the Central Library. We’ve worked hard on the three other city libraries and expect some decisions on the Central Library in coming months.

“But right now, all we have to do is hope Wellington’s weather is kind and then it’s time to slap on the sunscreen and get down to Te Ngākau Civic Square.”

The Te Ngākau Civic Square Outdoor Reading Room is a joint initiative between WellingtonNZ, Wellington City Council and Wellington City Libraries.

The event will be staffed by WellingtonNZ.