What to look out for in the World of fiction in 2021 – Part two

Welcome to our second part of our “What to look out for in the World of fiction in 2021” (click here to visit our first instalment).

And for a more comprehensive overview of fiction in 2021 click here to view the Guardian’s overview of literature in 2021.

September

Colm Tóibín author of The Master, which explored the life of Henry James, looks at the life of another literary giant Thomas Mann in his latest novel called The Magician.

The master / Tóibín, Colm
“In January 1895 James anticipates the opening of his first play in London. He has never been so vulnerable, nor felt so deeply unsuited to the public gaze. When the production fails, he returns, chastened, to his writing desk. The result is a string of masterpieces, but they are produced at a high personal cost.” “Colm Toibin captures the exquisite anguish of a man whose artistic gifts made his career a triumph but whose private life was haunted by loneliness and longing, and whose sexual identity remained unresolved. Henry James circulated in the grand parlours and palazzos of Europe, he was lauded and admired, yet his attempts at intimacy inevitably failed him and those he tried to love.” (Catalogue)

Colson Whitehead follows up The Nickel Boys with a “lively heist” novel set amid the crime syndicates of 1960s Harlem called Harlem Shuffle.

The Underground Railroad : a novel / Whitehead, Colson
“A slave named Cora, brutalized by her Georgia master yet shunned by her own, determines to escape via the railroad with newly arrived slave Caesar. When Caesar, a slave recently arrived from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they take the perilous decision to escape to the North. In Whitehead’s razor-sharp imagining of the antebellum South, the Underground Railroad has assumed a physical form: a dilapidated box car pulled along subterranean tracks by a steam locomotive, picking up fugitives wherever it can. Cora and Caesar’s first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. ” (Catalogue)

Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka first novel in almost 50 years Chronicles from the Land of the Happiest People on Earth is due in September 2021 and promises “murder, mayhem and no shortage of drama” and is eagerly awaited in many circles.

You must set forth at dawn : a memoir / Soyinka, Wole
“The first African to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, as well as a political activist of prodigious energies, Soyinka now follows his modern classic “Ake: The Years of Childhood” with an equally important chronicle of his turbulent life as an adult in (and in exile from) his beloved, beleaguered homeland. The first African to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, as well as a political activist of prodigious energies, Wole Soyinka now follows his modern classic Ake: The Years of Childhood with an equally important chronicle of his turbulent life as an adult in (and in exile from) his beloved, beleaguered homeland.” (Catalogue)

Pointless host Richard Osman wrote one of the biggest selling books of 2020 The Thursday Murder Club. Despite the fact that it was only published in September 2020 the film rights have already been snapped up by no less than Steven Spielberg. The sequel The Thursday Murder Club 2 is due out in September.

The Thursday murder club / Osman, Richard
” In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet weekly in the Jigsaw Room to discuss unsolved crimes; together they call themselves The Thursday Murder Club. When a local developer is found dead with a mysterious photograph left next to the body, the Thursday Murder Club suddenly find themselves in the middle of their first live case. As the bodies begin to pile up, can our unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer, before it’s too late?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

 

Lauren Groff follows up the Fates and Furies with a novel called the Matrix set in the 12th-century in a failing abbey in England.

We see the welcome return of Birdsong author Sebastian Faulks with a novel called Snow Country, a book whose plot revolves around the prelude to World War Two.

Birdsong / Faulks, Sebastian
“Birdsong is the story of Stephen Wraysford, a young Englishman who journeys to France on business in 1910 and becomes so entangled in a passionate clandestine love affair that he never returns home. Rootless and heartbroken when war breaks out in 1914, he joins the army and is given command of a brigade of miners, whose macabre assignment is to tunnel beneath German lines and set off bombs under the enemy trenches – thereby creating a pitch-dark subterranean battlefield even more ghastly than the air and trench warfare above them. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

September also sees the provisional date for as yet Untitled new historical novel from Bernard Cornwell.

October

October sees (hopefully) the much delayed and much anticipated cinematic release of Frank Herbert’s science fiction masterwork Dune.

Jonathan Franzen’s latest novel is called Crossroads and examines the myths in 1970s America.

Booker shortlisted Graeme Macrae Burnet releases Case Study about a controversial 60s psychotherapist.

His bloody project : documents relating to the case of Roderick Macrae, a historical thriller / Burnet, Graeme Macrae
“Presented as a collection of documents discovered by the author, His Bloody Project opens with a series of police statements taken from the villagers of Culdie, Ross-shire. They offer conflicting impressions of the accused; one interviewee recalls Macrae as a gentle and quiet child, while another details him as evil and wicked. Chief among the papers is Roderick Macrae’s own memoirs where he outlines the series of events leading up to the murder in eloquent and affectless prose. There follow medical reports, psychological evaluations, a courtroom transcript from the trial, and other documents that throw both Macrae’s motive and his sanity into question.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Novermber

In November there is a new as yet untitled novel by the author of The Sea John Banville.

In November Helen Oyeyemi releases a story about a mysterious train journey called Peaces.

Gingerbread / Oyeyemi, Helen
” Perdita Lee may appear your average British schoolgirl; Harriet Lee may seem just a working mother trying to penetrate the school social hierarchy; but there are signs that they might not be as normal as they think they are. For one thing, they share a gold-painted, seventh-floor flat with some surprisingly verbal vegetation. And then there’s the gingerbread they make. Londoners may find themselves able to take or leave it, but it’s very popular in Druhástrana, the far-away (and, according to Wikipedia, non-existent) land of Harriet Lee’s early youth. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

And finally, in our brief overview of 2021 is Salley Vickers follow up to Grandmothers called The Gardener.

Grandmothers / Vickers, Salley
Grandmothers follows four grandmothers – Blanche, who can’t seem to stop stealing things from the local pharmacy; Minna, who just wants a quiet life in her shepherd’s hut, though the local children have other ideas; Cherry, who’s adjusting to life in a care home; and Nan, whose favourite occupation is researching funerals – whose lives and grandchildren become unexpectedly entangled.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

 

Of course, one of the most exciting, interesting and exhilarating things about the world of literature are the unexpected gems and unheralded classics that emerge as the year goes on. We can’t wait to read them!

What to watch out for in the World of fiction in 2021 – Part one

The beginning is always today.” ― Mary Shelley

So now that 2020 is over, what can we look forward to in the world of fiction in 2021? Well, below we have highlighted just a few of the books that have caught our eye some of them by new voices others by well established name and we have supplied ( where relevant ) links to some previous works. For a more comprehensive fiction roundup of 2021 click here to see the Guardian’s Fiction highlights list.

 January

The start of the year sees the release of Luster the debut novel by Reven Leilani. A book that has already attracted a lot of advanced publicity. The plot revolving around an American black millennial tackling the difficulties of sex, work and being.

January also sees the release of Booker prize winning Richard Flanagan’s latest novel The Living Sea of Waking Dreams in which a family deals with questions of mortality in an extinction fable with magical realist overtones set in Australia.


The narrow road to the deep north / Flanagan, Richard
“August, 1943. In the despair of a Japanese POW camp on the Thai-Burma death railway, Australian surgeon Dorrigo Evans is haunted by his love affair with his uncle’s young wife two years earlier. Struggling to save the men under his command from starvation, from cholera, from beatings, he receives a letter that will change his life forever. This savagely beautiful novel is a story about the many forms of love and death, of war and truth, as one man comes of age, prospers, only to discover all that he has lost.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

February

The traditionally quiet publishing month of February sees international prize for Arabic fiction winner Hoda Barakat releasing Voices of the Lost in which six characters share secrets in a war torn country.

March

A busier month with many great books! We see the publication of Klara and the Sun by Nobel prize winner Kazuo Ishiguro. March also heralds the publication of Yaa Gyasi’s Transcendent Kingdom, her follow-up to her bestselling debut Homegoing.

A pale view of hills / Ishiguro, Kazuo
“Etsuko, a middle-aged Japanese woman now living alone in England, dwells on the recent suicide of her elder daughter, Keiko. Despite the efforts of her surviving daughter to distract her thoughts, Etsuko finds herself recalling a particular summer in Nagasaki after the bomb fell.” (Catalogue)

Scottish author Alan Warner’s Kitchenly 434 iIs the tale of a rock star’s Butler at the tail end of the 70’s and promises to be very colourful. Another title to look out for in march is The Committed by Viet Thanh Nguyen, the sequel to The Sympathizer, set in underworld of 80s Paris.

The sympathizer / Nguyen, Viet Thanh
The Sympathizer is a sweeping epic of love and betrayal. The narrator, a communist double agent, is a “man of two minds,” a half-French, half-Vietnamese army captain who arranges to come to America after the Fall of Saigon, and while building a new life with other Vietnamese refugees in Los Angeles is secretly reporting back to his communist superiors in Vietnam.The Sympathizer is a blistering exploration of identity and America, a gripping espionage novel, and a powerful story of love and friendship.” (Catalogue)

In March we also have the international release of the fabulous Elizabeth Knox’s The Absolute Book, which has been available here in New Zealand/Aotearoa for quite some time.

The absolute book / Knox, Elizabeth
“The Absolute Book is an epic fantasy, intimate in tone. A book where hidden treasures are recovered; where wicked things people think they’ve shaken from their trails find their scent again. A book about beautiful societies founded on theft and treachery, and one in which dead sisters are a living force. It is a book of journeys and returns, set in London, Norfolk, and the Wye Valley; in Auckland, New Zealand; in the Island of Apples and Summer Road of the Sidhe; at Hell’s Gate; in the Tacit with its tombs; and in the hospitals and train stations of Purgatory.” (Catalogue)

April

April kicks off with Reservoir 13’s author Jon McGregor latest book Lean Fall Stand. And also a new collection of stories by Haruki Murakami called First Person SingularHummingbird Salamander by Annihilation’s author Jeff VanderMeer, described as “a climate change conspiracy thriller about ecoterrorism and extinction.”

Dead astronauts / VanderMeer, Jeff
“Under the watchful eye of The Company, three characters – Grayson, Morse and Chen – shapeshifters, amorphous, part human, part extensions of the landscape, make their way through forces that would consume them. A blue fox, a giant fish and language stretched to the limit. A messianic blue fox who slips through warrens of time and space on a mysterious mission. A homeless woman haunted by a demon who finds the key to all things in a strange journal. A giant leviathan of a fish, centuries old, who hides a secret, remembering a past that may not be its own. ” (Catalogue)

May

Rachel Cusk’s Second Place explores the nature of male power and privilege as seen through the lens of the Art World and the relationship between a famous male artist and a woman.

Also in May Patrick McGrath releases Last Days in Cleaver Square. Set in 70’s London but concerning a man haunted by his days fighting in the Spanish civil war.

June

June sees the release of Greta and Valdin the debut novel by Rebecca K Reilly. Set in an Auckland apartment, and revolving around a brother and sister navigating around the pit falls of modern romance in what is described as a “beguiling and hilarious novel”.

Also in June we have the third instalment of David Peaces’s Tokyo trilogy entitled Tokyo Redux.

There’s also a modern translation of the ‘Wife of Bath’ called The Wife of Willesden by White Teeth author Zadie Smith; as well as a semi autobiographical novel written her mother Yvonne Bailey-Smith called The Day I Fell Off My Island.

Overdrive cover White Teeth, Zadie Smith (ebook)
“One of the most talked about debut novels of all time, White Teeth is a funny, generous, big-hearted novel, adored by critics and readers alike. Dealing – among many other things – with friendship, love, war, three cultures and three families over three generations, one brown mouse, and the tricky way the past has of coming back and biting you on the ankle, it is a life-affirming, riotous must-read of a book.”(Overdrive description)

Finally, we have a new book by Scottish author David Keenan called Monument Maker, revolving around France’s great cathedrals.

This is Memorial Device : an hallucinated oral history of the post-punk scene in Airdrie, Coatbridge and environs 1978-1986 / Keenan, David
This Is Memorial Device, the debut novel by David Keenan, 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. It follows a cast of misfits, drop-outs, small town visionaries and would-be artists and musicians through a period of time where anything seemed possible, a moment where art and the demands it made were as serious as your life. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

July

July sees the release of Animal by Lisa Taddeo, a debut novel about a woman driven to kill when on a road trip with three women.

August

The Women of Troy is the latest book by the multi award winning author Pat Barker and is scheduled for an August release.

The silence of the girls : a novel / Barker, Pat
“There was a woman at the heart of the Trojan war whose voice has been silent – till now... Briseis was a queen until her city was destroyed. Now she is slave to Achilles, the man who butchered her husband and brothers. Trapped in a world defined by men, can she survive to become the author of her own story? Discover the greatest Greek myth of all – retold by the witness history forgot. ‘Make s] you reflect on the cultural underpinnings of misogyny, the women throughout history who have been told by men to forget their trauma.” (Catalogue)

And finally for our first instalment of ‘What to look out for in the World of fiction in 2021’ we have Girl on the Train author Paula Hawkin’s new novel, A Slow Fire Burning, about a murder on a London houseboat. Look out for our second instalment of ‘What to watch out for in the World of fiction in 2021’ soon.

The girl on the train / Hawkins, Paula
“Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life–as she sees it–is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.
UNTIL TODAY And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say?” (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:

Comics in Conversation with Comics: Dial H for Hero Volume 2

This is the next in our Comics in Conversation with Comics series of posts, in which we explore comics and graphic novels that highlight, challenge, and celebrate the works that came before them, or say something about comics as an art form overall.

In this post we’ll be taking a look at the recent DC Comics series Dial H for Hero, by writer Sam Humphries and artist Joe Quinones.

Dial H for Hero is one of DC Comics’ more obscure series, but it’s a title that has a strong following among comic writers for its seemingly infinite potential. First appearing in House of Mystery #156 in January 1966, the premise centres around the H-Dial, a mysterious rotary phone (ask your parents) that, when H-E-R-O is dialled on it, can transform the caller into a random superhero. 

The 2019 Dial H for Hero series finds the Dial in the hands of two teen runaways, Miguel Montez and Summer Pickens, and this time the dial not only changes them into different comic heroes, but different art styles. These moments are the main draw of the series, referencing famous comics outside of the DC universe such as Dragon Ball, Krazy Kat, Peanuts, Tank Girl, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and paying homage to such celebrated artists like Dan Clowes, Mike Allred, Alex Toth, Rob Liefeld, Moebius and more over the course of the series’ twelve issues.

We’ve listed some of the best comic homages from the second volume, with links to the relevant comics that inspired them if you want to check them out from our collection. You can also jump away now and reserve both volumes of Dial H for Hero if you don’t want to be spoiled on the story.

Continue reading “Comics in Conversation with Comics: Dial H for Hero Volume 2”

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….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!

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