Coming this Friday June 9th to Newtown Library in conjunction with the Ngaio Marsh awards, we have a very special event for all lovers of crime fiction.
The panel for this event features some of Aotearoa’s finest crime and thriller writers. In the lead up to this unmissable event, we thought we would place a spotlight on just a few of the fabulous writers who will be in attendance.
Award -winning Wellington author Kirsten McDougall’s books include the critically acclaimed Tess, “a wonderful, multi-layered can of worms” and The Invisible Rider, as well as short stories and non-fiction in a range of books and journals. She’s a Killer has been heaped with praise since its release from the likes of The Listener, The Post and Radio New Zealand and is already one of this most talked about and highly regarded novels of recent years.
She’s a Killer, her most recent novel, is set in the very near future in New Zealand where the effects of climate change are really beginning to bite and affect both our physical world and our society. The main theme of the book might be heavy, but the book is often very funny in a dark way. It contains layers of twists and turns and is a fast-paced thriller with great characters to boot.
Kirsten will be joined by the 2021 Ngaios winner Brannavan Gnanalingam and fellow Wellington novelists Anne Harre and Rodney Strong to discuss how they craft page-turning stories about captivating characters. Join us for an exciting evening of criminally good conversation featuring four local authors.
Below is a selection Kirsten’s work available to borrow from the Library:
She’s a killer. / McDougall, Kirsten
“Set in a very near future New Zealand where the effects of climate change are really beginning to bite and affect both our physical world but also our society.Full of spicy and fresh characters that leap of the book’s pages and a plot effortlessly moves from razor sharp humour to Climate fear driven sure shot action. ” ( Adapted from Catalogue)
Tess / McDougall, Kirsten
“Tess is on the run when she’s picked up from the side of the road by lonely middle-aged father Lewis Rose. With reluctance, she’s drawn into his family troubles and comes to know a life she never had. Set in Masterton at the turn of the millennium, Tess is a gothic love story about the ties that bind and tear a family apart.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
The invisible rider / McDougall, Kirsten
“This delightful collection of linked short stories focuses on Philip Fetch, a lawyer with an office in a suburban shopping mall who feels increasingly out of step with his society and neighbours. At once surreal and whimsical, and fired by a quietly burning moral engagement, The Invisible Rider is an antipodean cousin of Calvino’s Marcovaldo” (Adapted from Catalogue)
Coming this Friday June 9th to Newtown Library in conjunction with the Ngaio Marsh awards, we have a very special event for all lovers of crime and thriller fiction.
The panel for this event features some of Aotearoa’s finest crime and thriller writers. So, in the lead up to this unmissable event, we thought we would place a spotlight on just a few of the fabulous writers who will be in attendance.
Brannavan Gnanalingam is one of the most accomplished authors working in Aotearoa today. A Wellington lawyer as well as a writer, his past three novels have all been listed for Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. His novel, Sprigs, won the 2021 Ngaio Marsh award and was described by Kim Hill as “scarily contemporary and realistic story…an extraordinary piece of writing”.
Brannavan’s most recent book, Slow Down, You’re Here, gathered glowing reviews. In brief, the novel revolves around the arrival of an old flame into a dead-end marriage. Filled with unexpected twists and turns which propel the plot forwards, this book is a fast paced, page turning domestic thriller. It’s funny, smart and touching with truly relatable characters. As well as this, the novel is also an exploration of serious moral questions, including issues racism and class. In short, it is a fantastic and engaging read.
Brannavan Gnanalingam will be joined by two-time Ngaios finalist Kirsten McDougall and fellow Wellington novelists Anne Harre and Rodney Strong to discuss how they craft page-turning stories about captivating characters. Join us for an exciting evening of criminally good conversation featuring four fabulous local authors.
Below is a selection of Brannavan’s work available to borrow from the library:
Slow down you’re here. / Gnanalingam, Brannavan “Kavita is stuck in a dead-end marriage. A parent of two small kids, she is the family’s main breadwinner. An old flame unexpectedly offers her a week away in Waiheke. If she were to go, she’s not sure when – or if – she’d come back.”
( Adapted from catalogue)
You should have come here when you were not here / Gnanalingam, Brannavan
“The intriguing title of this novel by Wellington writer Brannavan Gnanalingam derives from a statement made by Parisians to their Nazi occupiers in World War II when the Germans expressed being underwhelmed by the attractions of the French capital. This postmodern travelogue tells the lonely tale of Veronica, a thirty-something asexual female journalist from New Zealand who travels to Paris late as a freelance journalist only to find the city indifferent to and from her.” ( Adapted from Catalogue)
Sprigs / Gnanalingam, Brannavan
“It is Saturday afternoon and two boys’ schools are locked in battle for college rugby supremacy. Priya – a fifteen year old who barely belongs – watches from the sidelines. Then it is Saturday night and the team is partying. Priya’s friends have evaporated and she isn’t sure what to do. In the weeks after ‘the incident’ life seems to go on. But when whispers turn to confrontation, the institutions of wealth and privilege circle the wagons.” ( Adapted from Catalogue )
Sodden downstream / Gnanalingam, Brannavan
“Thousands flee central Wellington as a far too common ‘once in a century’ storm descends. For their own safety, city workers are told that they must go home early. Sita is a Tamil Sri Lankan refugee living in the Hutt Valley. She’s just had a call from her boss – if she doesn’t get to her cleaning job in the city she’ll lose her contract.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
Credit in the straight world / Gnanalingam, Brannavan
“‘Credit in the straight world’ charts the fortunes of Frank Tolland as he casts off an ignoble birth to become the singular leader of business and community in small-town New Zealand. Told through the eyes of his mute brother, George, this novel is a sharp and satirical account of a small-town finance company, and sweeps through the dramatic economic changes of the 20th and the 21st centuries.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
A briefcase, two pies and a penthouse : a novel / Gnanalingam, Brannavan
“Rachel McManus has just started at the New Zealand Alarm and Response Ministry. One of the few females working there, she is forced to traverse the peculiarities of Wellington bureaucracy, lascivious colleages, and decades of sedimented hierarchy. She has the chance to prove herself by investigating a suspected terrorist, who they fear is radicalising impressionable youth and may carry out an attack on the nation’s capital.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
Getting under sail / Gnanalingam, Brannavan
“Morocco to Ghana. Overland. Three New Zealanders. Armed with a guide book and stereotypes. They go being warned of danger, poverty and war by people who had never been there. They end up embroiled in a civil war – but it wasn’t really anything to do with Africa.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
Ron extensively documented the development of Wellington Airport and the effect it had on the shape of Rongotai, Evans Bay and Lyall Bay in the 1950s. A selection of his photographs are available to view in person at the Kilbirnie Library throughout the month of June.
The original Rongotai Aerodrome opened in Lyall Bay in 1928, but as aircraft technology advanced, it was quickly noted that Wellington needed a bigger and more reliable airport. Proposals for a new site carried on for many years until the area that forms the airport today was formally selected in 1950. In order to achieve optimal runway length, the new runway would need to be extended into the sea on both sides of Rongotai. This would require extensive reclamation of both Evans and Lyall Bays, as well as the relocation of over 160 buildings.
Construction couldn’t begin until the affected residents were relocated. Land for new homes in Wellington was already at a premium, so it was decided that the soil that had to be removed from nearby hills would be placed in Evans Bay, creating valuable reclaimed land for new residential zones. As earth from above Aberdeen Quay (now part of Cobham Drive) filled up more of the bay, houses in Rongotai were precariously relocated to their new sites in Kilbirnie. Continue reading “Where did Rongotai Terrace go?”→
Recently at Karori Library, we had the rare opportunity to celebrate the 21st anniversary of the Wellington Writers Walk the iconic waterfront walk. This very special event featured two of New Zealand’s most celebrated authors, Elizabeth Knox and Dame Fiona Kidman, who were interviewed by author, broadcaster and Writers Walk committee member Tanya Ashcroft. During this wide-ranging conversation, Elizabeth Knox and Dame Fiona Kidman talked about the creation and future of this wonderful Wellington institution, as well as the part they’ve played in making the walk the much-loved success it is.
The event has now passed into history, but with the participants and Writer’s Walk committee permission we were able to film the proceedings and are now proud to present a video of the evening.
For anyone unfamiliar, this walk along Wellington’s beautiful waterfront pedestrian precinct is considered by many as “one of the world’s loveliest urban land-and-seascapes”. It consists of sculptural quotations situated in picturesque locations from the writings of a selection of iconic New Zealand authors – both past and contemporary. The walk celebrates and commemorates the place of Wellington in these writers’ lives, and their place in the life of Wellington.
Writers on the walk include: Katherine Mansfield, Robin Hyde, Pat Lawlor, Denis Glover, James K. Baxter, Bruce Mason, Lauris Edmond, Maurice Gee, Patricia Grace, Vincent O’Sullivan, Barbara Anderson, Alistair Te Ariki Campbell, Eileen Duggan, Bill Manhire and our very special guests Dame Fiona Kidman and Elizabeth Knox.
We wish to extend our most heartfelt thanks to Elizabeth Knox, Dame Fiona Kidman and Tanya Ashcroft. We’d also like to thank Karori Library and its staff and The Wellington Writers walk committee for making this very special event happen.
You can now view the video below or visit our You Tube channel.
The Wellington Writers Walk is a project of the Wellington Branch of the New Zealand Society of Authors Te Puni Kaituhi o Aotearoa (PEN NZ) Inc.
Below is a very small selection of Elizabeth Knox and Fiona Kidman titles available to borrow.
So far, for now : on journeys, widowhood and stories that are never over / Kidman, Fiona
“Evocative, wry and thought-provoking, this is a rewarding journey with one of our finest writers. It is a little over a decade since Fiona Kidman wrote her last volume of memoir. But her story did not end on its last page; instead her life since has been busier than ever, filled with significant changes, new writing and fascinating journeys. From being a grandmother to becoming a widow, from the suitcase-existence of book festivals to researching the lives and deaths of Jean Batten and Albert Black, she has found herself in new territory and viewed the familiar with fresh eyes. ” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.
The absolute book / Knox, Elizabeth
“Taryn Cornick believes that the past is behind her – her sister’s death by violence, and her own ill-conceived revenge. She has chosen to live a life more professional than personal. She has written a book about the things that threaten libraries – insects, damp, light, fire, carelessness and uncaring. The book is a success, but not all of the attention it brings her is good. There are questions about a fire in the library at Princes Gate, her grandparents’ house, and about an ancient scroll box known as the Firestarter. A policeman, Jacob Berger, has questions about a cold case. There are threatening phone calls. And a shadowy young man named Shift appears, bringing his shadows with him. Taryn, Jacob, Shift – three people are driven towards a reckoning felt in more than one world.” (Adapted from Catalogue) This mortal boy / Kidman, Fiona
“Albert Black, known as the ‘jukebox killer’, was only twenty when he was convicted of murdering another young man in a fight at a milk bar in Auckland on 26 July 1955. His crime fuelled growing moral panic about teenagers, and he was to hang less than five months later, the second-to-last person to be executed in New Zealand. But what really happened? Was this a love crime, was it a sign of juvenile delinquency? Or was this dark episode in our recent history more about our society’s reaction to outsiders.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook Dreamhunter / Knox, Elizabeth
“Fast-paced and dazzlingly imaginative, Dreamhunter will draw the reader into an extraordinary fictional world in which dreams are as vividly described as the cream cakes in the tea shop, the sand on the beach or teenage first love.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 and reveals how the government has used dreams to control an ever-growing population of convicts and political dissenters.” (Adapted from Catalogue) All the way to summer : stories of love and longing / Kidman, Fiona
“Fiona Kidman’s early stories about New Zealand women’s experiences scandalised readers with their vivid depictions of the heartbreaks and joys of desire, illicit liaisons and unconventional love. Her writing made her a feminist icon in the early 1980s, and she has since continued to tell the realities of women’s lives, her books resonating with many readers over the years and across the world. To mark her 80th birthday, this volume brings together a variety of her previously published stories as well as several that are new or previously uncollected; all moving, insightful and written with love. The final stories trace her own history of love, a memoir of significant people from childhood and beyond.” (Adapted from Catalogue) The angel’s cut / Knox, Elizabeth
” Boomtown Los Angeles, 1929: Into a world of movie lots and speakeasies comes Xas, stunt flier and wingless angel, still nursing his broken heart, and determined only to go on living in the air. But there are forces that will keep him on the ground. Forces like Conrad Cole, movie director and aircraft designer, a glory-seeking king of the grand splash who is also a man sinking into his own sovereign darkness. And Flora McLeod, film editor and maimed former actress, who sees something in Xas that no one has ever seen before, not even God, who made him, or Lucifer, the general he once followed – Lucifer, who has lost Xas once, but won’t let that be the end of it. ” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook. The infinite air / Kidman, Fiona
“Jean Batten became an international icon in the 1930s. A brave, beautiful woman, she made a number of heroic solo flights across the world. The newspapers couldn’t get enough of her; and yet she suddenly slipped out of view, disappearing to the Caribbean with her mother and dying in obscurity in Majorca, buried in a pauper’s grave.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.
The vintner’s luck / Knox, Elizabeth
“One summer night in 1808, Sobran Jodeau sets out to drown his love sorrows in his family’s vineyard when he stumbles on an angel. Once he gets over his shock, Sobran decides that Xas, the male angel, is his guardian sent to counsel him on everything from marriage to wine production. But Xas turns out to be a far more mysterious character. Compelling and erotic, The Vintner’s Luck explores a decidedly unorthodox love story as Sobran eventually comes to love and be loved by both Xas and the young Countess de Valday, his friend and employer at the neighboring chateau.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an Audiobook.
To celebrate the 21st anniversary of the fabulous Wellington Writers Walk, we’ve taken a closer look at just a few of the authors represented. In this blog we take a look at Bill Manhire’s typographical sculpture, which features a quote taken from ‘Milky Way Bar’ in Milky Way Bar, Victoria University Press, 1991
I live at the edge of the universe, like everybody else.
In the video below, local authors and Wellington Writers Walk Committee members Philippa Werry and Maggie Rainey-Smith explore Manhire’s work, to be found overlooking the water by the bridge, near the Hikitia floating crane. They provide a fascinating insight into Bill Manhire’s work life and creative process, and also celebrate his continuing achievements, body of work and connections to Wellington.
Milky Way bar / Manhire, Bill
“Collection of award winning Bill Manhire poetry first released in 1992. Which includes his Wellington Writers Walk poem ” (Adapted from Catalogue)
Selected poems / Manhire, Bill
“This generous selection of Bill Manhire’s poems moves from playful early pieces like “On Originality” and “How to Take off Your Clothes at the Picnic” to major works of recent years such as “Hotel Emergencies”–a powerful response to contemporary atrocities–and “Erebus Voices”–written to be read by Sir Edmund Hillary at the 25th anniversary of the Mt. Erebus tragedy. The poems featured in this definitive collection of New Zealand’s most important poet are deceptively simple, often funny, and always revelatory of his own and his country’s history.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
South Pacific / Manhire, Bill
“”In this lively, humorous and original book, the romance of the Pacific confronts the truth about that paradise. The stories include a do-it-yourself murder mystery an assassination attempt on the Queen, the hilarious account of a Writers’ Congress in Kuala Lumpur, and an unsettling, futuristic tale from 1999.” “Set in New Zealand and its environs, several of the pieces were first collected in The New Land, which won the 1990 Buckland Award for the best work of literature published in New Zealand. In South Pacific Bill Manhire has added view tales and other work. A vein of satire runs through his stories. Yet rooted as many of them are in a particular place and time, the laughter they generate is anything but local.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
The victims of lightning / Manhire, Bill
“Building on previous themes and introducing some new techniques, this collection reveals a respected poet at the height of his powers. Here are finely crafted lyrics, found poems, a bracket of songs, and complex emotions–all tempered by the use of humor.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
Wow / Manhire, Bill
“Excuse me if I laugh. The roads are dark and large books block our path. The air we breathe is made of evening air. The world is longer than the road that brings us here. Bill Manhire’s new book begins with the song of an extinct bird, the huia, and journeys on into troubling futures. These poems reach for the possibilities of lyric, even as their worlds are being threatened in a range of agitating ways. In the title poem we hear a baby say Wow to life and to the astonishing prospect of language; but almost immediately we hear the world reply: Also. Along the way there are several desperate jokes. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)
The stories of Bill Manhire / Manhire, Bill
“Collects the stories from The New Land : A Picture Book (1990) and the stories added to South Pacific (1994) and Songs of My Life (1996). In addition there are previously uncollected and unpublished stories, the choose-your-own-adventure novella The Brain of Katherine Mansfield (1988), and the memoir Under the Influence (2003).” (Adapted from Catalogue)
Lifted / Manhire, Bill
“An award-winning collection exploring the plight of the secular spirit in the face of mortality and human violence, this work demonstrates a poet writing at the height of his powers.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
Some things to place in a coffin / Manhire, Bill
“Bill Manhire’s first new collection of poems for seven years takes its title from his elegy for his close friend the painter Ralph Hotere, who died in 2013. At its heart is the sequence ‘Known Unto God’, commissioned by the BBC for the centenary of the Battle of the Somme in 2016. These are poems of memory and mortality, which are also full of jokes and good tunes.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
This month’s new fashion and beauty books bring a great selection of reads! Lee Alexander McQueen: mind, mythos, muse is a brand new title on the legendary genius of designer Alexander McQueen and Be-spoke pairs quotes, inspiring edicts, and philosophies from famous fashion designers with fun fashion illustrations. We also have new books on the history of fashion, Indian fashion and textiles, fashionable menswear and a diary from the 1800s, filled with fragments of cloth which become windows into Victorian life. Find your favourite new fashion read in the list below.
Lee Alexander McQueen : mind, mythos, muse / Esguerra, Clarissa M.
“British designer Lee Alexander McQueen’s collections synthesized his training in Savile Row tailoring, theatrical design, and haute couture with references spanning time, geography, mediums, and technology. Taking a look at McQueen’s design process, this book documents the designer’s diverse sources of inspiration by displaying McQueen’s fashions alongside related artworks. McQueen’s encyclopedic references range from ancient Greece and Rome to Tibetan silk brocade patterns, 17th-century Dutch painting, the prints of Goya, and the films of Stanley Kubrick. In each of these cases and beyond, examples of McQueen’s work are displayed alongside artworks from LACMA’s permanent collection.” (Catalogue)
Be-spoke : revelations from the world’s most important fashion designers / Luther, Marylou
“A collection of witty and sometimes wry quotes, inspiring edicts, and philosophies about fashion and style by celebrated fashion designers. Featuring Karl Lagerfeld, Virgil Abloh, Marc Jacobs, Azzedine Alaïa, Rei Kawakubo, Miuccia Prada, Thom Browne, and more, the book celebrates the designers with drawings by fashion’s favorite illustrator, Ruben Toledo. His charming and vibrant renderings of these creative individuals, combined with inspiring and humorous text, makes this captivating book a must-have for fashion lovers everywhere.” (Adapted from catalogue)
India in fashion : the impact of Indian dress and textiles on the fashionable imagination / Bowles, Hamish
“India in Fashion’ explores the beautiful and sophisticated history and aesthetics of traditional Indian fashion, dress, and textiles and their profound impact on European and American fashion from the eighteenth century to today.00This intoxicating and visually rich volume, with texts by experts from India, Europe, and North America, is published to accompany a major exhibition that celebrates the long historical contributions that Indian dress, textiles, and embroidery have had on Western fashion. (Adapted from catalogue)
The men’s fashion book
“The Men’s Fashion Book’ is an unparalleled A-Z deep-dive into the designers, photographers, icons, and other creatives who have produced and inspired the most memorable looks in menswear – and are advancing today’s renaissance in men’s clothing and style. Created in collaboration with Jacob Gallagher, men’s fashion editor at Off Duty for the Wall Street Journal, this stunning book documents more than two centuries of men’s fashion, bringing its history to life through iconic, inspirational images, from traditional suits to streetwear, and beyond.” (Adapted from catalogue)
Worn : a people’s history of clothing / Thanhauser, Sofi
“In this ambitious, panoramic social history, Sofi Thanhauser brilliantly tells five stories–Linen, Cotton, Silk, Synthetics, Wool–about the clothes we wear and where they come from, illuminating our world in unexpected ways. Thanhauser makes clear how the clothing industry has become one of the planet’s worst polluters, relying on chronically underpaid and exploited laborers. But she also shows us how micro-communities and companies of textile and clothing makers in every corner of the world are rediscovering ancestral and ethical methods for making what we wear. Worn reveals to us that our clothing comes not just from the countries listed on the tags or ready-made from our factories–it comes, as well, from deep in our histories.” (Adapted from catalogue)
The dress diary of Mrs Anne Sykes / Strasdin, Kate
“In 1838, a young woman was given a diary on her wedding day. Collecting snippets of fabric from a range of garments she carefully annotated each one, creating a unique record of her life and times. Nearly two hundred years later, the diary fell into the hands of Kate Strasdin, a fashion historian and museum curator. Piece by piece, she charts Anne’s journey from the mills of Lancashire to the port of Singapore before tracing her return to England in later years. Fragments of cloth become windows into Victorian life. Through the evidence of waistcoats, ball gowns and mourning outfits, Strasdin lays bare the whole of human experience in the most intimate of mediums: the clothes we choose to wear.” (Adapted from catalogue)
It’s time to rethink your fashion : creating a better future / Lowe, Lalita
“The fashion industry is one of the most resource-intensive industries in the world. Over the years considerable damage has been done, but with increasing knowledge and the power of choice consumers are now influencing change. The key to success is for the fashion industry, consumers, political powers and other industries to join forces for a better and brighter future. To rethink our fashion is to understand and examine our personal and social values. It also means we need to understand the real impact our clothes have on the environment and the people in the supply chain, so we can make better buying decisions.” (Catalogue)
Dress code : unlocking fashion from the new look to millennial pink / Hyland, Véronique
“What does “dressing for yourself” really mean for a woman? Will gender-differentiated fashion go forever out of style? How has social media affected and warped our sense of self-presentation, and how are we styling ourselves expressly for it? Not everyone participates in painting, literature, or film. But there is no “opting out” of fashion. And yet, fashion is still seen as superficial and trivial, and only the finest of couture is considered as art. Hyland argues that fashion is a key that unlocks questions of power, sexuality, and class, taps into history, and sends signals to the world around us.” (Adapted from catalogue)