Hiwa: Contemporary Māori Short Stories event

Recently at our Karori Library, in conjunction with Auckland University Press, we staged a very special celebration event for Hiwa: Contemporary Māori Short Stories with authors Whiti Hereaka (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Te Arawa) and Jack Remiel Cottrell (Ngati Rangi).

Hiwa: Contemporary Māori Short Stories is a vibrant collection of contemporary Māori short stories, featuring twenty-seven writers working in English and te reo Māori. Edited by Paula Morris and consulting editor Darryn Joseph.

Photo of Whiti Hereaka(c)2021 Tabitha Arthur Photography

In this vibrant showcase of contemporary talent, Hiwa explores the range of styles and subjects in the flourishing world of Māori fiction. For our Karori event, we were honoured by the presence of two of the book’s contributors Whiti Hereaka (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Te Arawa) and Jack Remiel Cottrell (Ngati Rangi)

Whiti Hereaka (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Te Arawa) is an award-winning playwright, novelist and screenwriter. Whiti’s books include The Graphologist’s Apprentice, which was shortlisted for Best First Book in the Commonwealth Writers Prize South East Asia and Pacific 2011, Bugs which won the Honour Award, Young Adult Fiction, New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, 2014, Legacy, which won the award for Best Young Adult Fiction at the 2019 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults and Kurangaituku, winner of  the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction at the 2022 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. When not writing multi award-winning books, Whiti is a barrister and solicitor. She has held a number of writing residencies and appeared at many literary festivals in Aotearoa and overseas.

Continue reading “Hiwa: Contemporary Māori Short Stories event”

New Podcast! The Meow Gurrrls ”Famdamily“ poetry launch

Recently at Te Awe Brandon Street Library we were delighted to do a very special launch event celebrating the release of Famdamily, the latest poetry collection by iconic Wellington poetry collective The Meow Gurrrls.

The Meow Gurrrls are a group of Wellington and Kāpiti Coast poets, named in part after Meow Café and Bar in Wellington where the group meet, who for some time now have been sharing poetry, wine, food and fine company.

This fabulous event featured readings from many of the collective and was hosted by the wonderful Mary McCallum from Makaro Press and The Cuba Press.

It proved to be an evening of unmissable new poetry from these acclaimed wordsmiths. The evening featured readings from six of the group, and was full of feats of verbal gymnastics and poetic daring.

If however you did miss it, do not fear!  The Meow Gurrrls gave us permission to record the proceedings and we are now proud to present a podcast of the evening for your enjoyment.

The poets who read at this very special event were Janis Freegard, Kirsten Le Harivel, Mary Jane Duffy, Mary Macpherson, Abra Sandi King and Sudha Rao. We wish to extent our heartfelt thanks to The Meow Gurrrls and Mary McCallum.

You may now listen to that podcast below, or by following this link!

Continue reading “New Podcast! The Meow Gurrrls ”Famdamily“ poetry launch”

Interview: Emergency Weather Author Tim Jones

Emergency Weather is Tim Jones’ debut novel, his previous literary outings have included releasing several acclaimed poetry collections and editing award -winning science fiction short story collections.

Emergency Weather is a powerful, prescient and compelling climate change thriller set in Aotearoa, and more precisely the Wellington region. The novel focusses on three very different people who have to face the climate crisis head-on, when a giant storm builds and then hits our capital city.

Tim Jones. Photo Copyright: Ebony Lamb.

Wellingtonian Tim Jones was awarded the NZSA Janet Frame Memorial Award for Literature in 2010. He co-edited Voyagers: Science Fiction Poetry from New Zealand, which won the 2010 Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best Collected Work. His recent books include poetry collection New Sea Land (Mākaro Press, 2016) and climate fiction novella Where We Land (The Cuba Press, 2019). He is also a climate change activist.

Continue reading “Interview: Emergency Weather Author Tim Jones”

Our Interview with Little Doomsdays Creators, Nic Low and Phil Dadson

Little Doomsdays
Little Doomsdays by Nic Low and Phil Dadson on the library catalogue
Little Doomsdays by Nic Low and Phil Dadson

Little Doomsdays is a lavishly illustrated collaborative art book between musician/painter Phil Dadson and writer Nic Low. It’s the fifth in the ‘kōrero series’ of books, conceived and edited by Lloyd Jones.

In Little Doomsdays, legendary musician and painter Phil Dadson responds to a wildly innovative text by Ngāi Tahu writer Nic Low that’s steeped in te ao Māori. Together they play with the notion of ark and arc in a manner that is at once beguiling and challenging.

Nic Low, head and shoulders shot, against a brick wall backdrop
Nic Low

Nic Low (Ngāi Tahu) is the partnerships editor at NZ Geographic magazine and the former programme director of WORD Christchurch. A prize-winning author of short fiction, essays and criticism, his writing on wilderness, technology and race has been widely published and anthologised on both sides of the Tasman.


Continue reading “Our Interview with Little Doomsdays Creators, Nic Low and Phil Dadson”

Novelist Latika Vasil picks her top five dystopian reads

The World I Found is the debut novel by Wellingtonian based Indian New Zealander Latika Vasil.

This emotional and exciting young adult read is an apocalyptical ‘what if’ novel, in which 15-year-old Quinn returns from a visit to the remote Campbell Island only to discover everything has changed, everyone has vanished, phones don’t work and there is no power. How do they go about navigating and surviving in this new world?

Latika Vasil lives in Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington. She has worked as a university lecturer, a researcher, a creative writing tutor and currently as a freelance writer. Her fiction has been broadcast on Radio New Zealand, and published in many anthologies and magazines. The World I Found is her first novel.

Dystopian novels have a long and noble history and the opportunity to ask someone who is adding to this illustrious canon was just too good to miss. So, to celebrate the release of The World I Found we asked Latika to select her top five dystopian novels.

We wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to Latika Vasil for taking the time to write this list!

Station eleven / Mandel, Emily St. John
Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel
Despite the bleakness of a world destroyed by a deadly virus, Station Eleven offers the reader moments of incredible beauty amongst the gloom. I loved the writing and the meticulous worldbuilding. The book follows the stories of various characters across different timelines, but the storyline that stuck with me the most was the one that followed The Traveling Symphony, a rag-tag group of musicians and actors, as they roamed through a post-apocalyptic world performing for survivor communities. In the face of an almost total collapse and the loss of technology, Station Eleven shows that art will endure.

The road / McCarthy, Cormac
The Road – Cormac McCarthy
The Road follows the journey of a father and his young son as they walk across America after an unspecified apocalyptic event. McCarthy’s writing style is spare which perfectly mirrors the unrelentingly bleak landscape through which the pair are travelling. Some readers may find the book too dark and pessimistic but I loved its intensity. It will break your heart many times over but it is a masterpiece of dystopian fiction and the deep love between father and son is truly beautiful to read. We never find out what caused the devastation but it is timely to consider climate change as a contender for leading to this type of future.

Continue reading “Novelist Latika Vasil picks her top five dystopian reads”

Kristen Phillips’ book ‘Dad, You’ve Got Dementia’

Dad, You’ve Got Dementia: Conversations With My Father is local author Kristen Phillips’ new book that focuses on her experiences with her father Don through his journey with dementia. The book is an intimate look at their relationship, with a focus on the enduring love and connection that remains between them throughout the difficult late-stage years. Kristen writes an endearing and relatable book that is equal parts memoir and poetry. She expresses the moving importance of caring for whānau with dementia using patience and understanding, to help maintain the deep connections that remain throughout the process of memory loss. We sat down with Kristen for an interview and talked about what inspired her to write the book, what it was like sharing intimate moments in the book and her professional work in helping to reduce social stigmas around dementia in NZ.

Dad, You’ve Got Dementia is published by The Cuba Press. You can reserve a library copy here. Kristen also writes short book reviews for the series ‘On The Same Page‘, for New Zealand Dementia Foundation. For more resources for you and your whānau visit Dementia Wellington.

At the library we have also recently introduced He Kete Pupuri Mahara: Memory Bags to our borrowing collection. You can reserve and take home a collection of items aimed at encouraging conversation and reminiscence for people with dementia or memory loss.

Below is a list of some the books on dementia that we hold in our collection, including the books Kristen mentions in her interview:

Contented dementia : 24-hour wraparound care for lifelong well-being / James, Oliver
” A groundbreaking and practical method for managing dementia that will allow both sufferer and carer to maintain the highest possible quality of life. Dementia is a little-understood and currently incurable illness, but this guide shows how much can be done to maximize the quality of life for people with the condition. The SPECAL method (Specialized Early Care for Alzheimer’s) outlined in this book works by creating links between past memories and the routine activities of daily life in the present.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Continue reading “Kristen Phillips’ book ‘Dad, You’ve Got Dementia’”