The latest fiction from the Zambezi river to Graceland

This autumn find a great new read from the libraries latest acquisitions.  Indulge in romance, challenging assumptions, voyage through family sagas or prepare for a gripping ride with an unexpectedly disconcerting thriller these tales from new and experienced adept authors have something for everyone.

Queenie / Carty-Williams, Candice
“Queenie Jenkins is a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London, straddling two cultures and slotting neatly into neither. She works at a national newspaper, where she’s constantly forced to compare herself to her white middle class peers. After a messy break up from her long-term white boyfriend, Queenie seeks comfort in all the wrong places including several hazardous men who do a good job of occupying brain space and a bad job of affirming self-worth. As Queenie careens from one questionable decision to another, she finds herself wondering, “What are you doing? Why are you doing it? Who do you want to be?” All of the questions today’s woman must face in a world trying to answer them for her.” (Catalogue)

Schoolgirl missing / Fortin, Sue (eBook) (eAudiobook) (print)
“A gripping portrayal of a family caught on the wrong side of the law. When fourteen-year-old Poppy vanishes on a family boating trip, suspicion soon turns close to home – to the two people who should do everything to keep her safe, her parents, Kit and Neve.
Neve has a secret. Kit is lying. Everyone is watching. Who do you believe? (Catalogue)


Syndetics book coverThe parade : a novel / Dave Eggers.The Parade: A Novel
“An unnamed country is leaving the darkness of a decade at war, and to commemorate the armistice the government commissions a new road connecting two halves of the state. Two men, foreign contractors from the same company, are sent to finish the highway. While one is flighty and adventurous, wanting to experience the nightlife and people, the other wants only to do the work and go home. But both men must eventually face the absurdities of their positions, and the dire consequences of their presence.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book / Nathan Englander.
“Larry is the secular son in a family of Orthodox Brooklyn Jews. When his father dies, it’s his responsibility to recite the Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the dead, every day for eleven months. To the horror and dismay of his sister, Larry refuses, imperiling the fate of his father’s soul. To appease her, Larry hatches an ingenious if cynical plan, hiring a stranger through a website called to recite the prayer and shepherd his father’s soul safely to rest.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMemories of the future : a novel / Siri Hustvedt.
Memories of the Future tells the story of a young Midwestern woman’s first year in New York City in the late 1970s.  S.H., aka “Minnesota,” transcribes her neighbor’s bizarre and increasingly ominous monologues in a notebook. One frightening night Lucy bursts into her apartment on a rescue mission. Forty years later, S.H., now a veteran author, discovers her old notebook while moving her aging mother from one facility to another.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLost children archive / Valeria Luiselli.
“Suppose you and Pa were gone, and we were lost. What would happen then? A family in New York packs the car and sets out on a road trip. A mother, a father, a boy and a girl, they head south west, to the Apacheria, the regions of the US which used to be Mexico. Meanwhile, thousands of children are journeying north, travelling to the US border from Central America and Mexico. A grandmother or aunt has packed a backpack for them, putting in a bible, one toy, some clean underwear. They have been met by a coyote: a man who speaks to them roughly. They cross a river on rubber tubing and walk for days. Then they climb to the top of a train and travel precariously in the open container on top. In a breath-taking feat of literary virtuosity, Lost Children Archive intertwines these two journeys to create a masterful novel.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe old drift : a novel / Namwali Serpell.The Old Drift: A Novel
“1904. On the banks of the Zambezi River, a few miles from the majestic Victoria Falls, there is a colonial settlement called The Old Drift. In a smoky room at the hotel across the river, an Old Drifter named Percy M. Clark, foggy with fever, makes a mistake that entangles the fates of an Italian hotelier and an African busboy. This sets off a cycle of unwitting retribution between three Zambian families (black, white, brown) as they collide and converge over the course of the century, into the present and beyond.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGraceland / Bethan Roberts.
“What happens when your only son becomes The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll? From the moment she first holds him, after his twin brother is stillborn, Gladys Presley loves her son Elvis ferociously. And he will love her back, even as his heart is turned by the blues, clothes and girls. But while he makes it big in Hollywood, brings audiences across the land to their knees and achieves unimagined wealth and fame, there is another story – of drinking and diet pills, loneliness and loss. While the heat and music of the American South in the 40s and 50s play in the background, a heartbreaking portrait of a mother’s love and a son’s devotion takes centre stage. When Elvis reaches the height of his power, he buys his family the ultimate mansion on the hill, Graceland, where he hopes his mother will be happy. The reality, though, is very different, and Elvis finds that even kings must go on alone.” (Syndetics summary)


An evening of African Poetry

Come and join us for an evening of Poetry with Poetic Voices of Africa. A line up of six African poets from Ethiopia, Kenya and South Sudan, and American poets from Georgia, Hawaii and Washington DC have come together to perform their array of poetry leading up to the Africa Day celebration on Saturday 24 May at Shed 6.
Their works are as diverse as their backgrounds, reflecting on politics, society, war, exile, the hopes and dreams of humanity, all intrinsically linked to the African continent and its many facets, often overlooked in favour of a more one-dimensional narrative.

Sam Manzanza
The session will be introduced and concluded by the amazing sounds of Sam Manzanza’s drum.

Here is a brief introduction to the participants:

L. E. ScottLewis Scott
African American jazz poet L. E. Scott was born in Cordele, Georgia, in the USA. His work is underpinned by the sounds and cadences of the spoken word of the Black Church. He defines his work as jazz blues, a repetition of sound that he trusts much more than the creation of defined words.

Wanjiku Kiarie Wanjiku Kiarie
Wanjiku Kiarie was born in Kenya and came to New Zealand after some years living in London. Her writing reflects insightfulness, political awareness and a compassion for humanity that endures in spite of our frailties and our duplicity of spirit. Wanjiku’s poetry collection, I Used To Sell Bones, was published in 2009.

Makuei AkenMakuei Aken
Poet and musician Makuei Aken fled from his village in war-torn southern Sudan at the age of 9. Much of his writing reflects the reality of a young man learning to live with the memories of that life experience. In 2011 Makuei’s creative work earned him the Arts Access Aotearoa Young Artist Award.

Tony HopkinsTony Hopkins
Tony Hopkins is an actor, poet, and storyteller of African and Cherokee descent, originally from Washington DC and now resident in Wellington. As a storyteller Tony has performed internationally and throughout New Zealand, specialising in telling traditional African, African American and Native American legends as well as personal stories from his own life.

Inshirah MahalInshirah Mahal
Inshirah Mahal has written poetry since she could write. In explaining what poetry means to her she says, “My inner voice took the form of a poet when I was a little girl. It has always comforted me and made sense of this world. I will always treasure my Muse and I am grateful, still, for this life-long companion.”

Samson SaheleSamson Sahele
Samson Sahele, born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, was a journalist and newspaper editor in Addis Ababa before being forced to flee his homeland in 1996. He arrived in New Zealand in 2000 and settled in Wellington. Along with the recent publication of this poetry collection, Journey with My Shadow, Samson is writing a book in his first language, Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia, about his experience as an Ethiopian in exile.

An evening of African Poetry

Free poetry events 21 & 22 May: ‘Poetic Voices of Africa’

African poetry poster
Join us for an early evening of poetry with ‘Poetic Voices of Africa’. Celebrating 50 years of the African Union, poets Samson Sahele, L.E. Scott, Tony Hopkins, Wanjiku Kiarie, Makuei Aken and Inshirah Mahal will perform on:

Tuesday 21 May, 5-7pm
Newtown Library (13 Constable Street, Newtown)

Wednesday 22 May, 5-7pm
Central Library, (65 Victoria Street, Wellington)

Entry is FREE and there is no need to book – just come along.

This event is part of the ACCW’s African Union celebrations throughout May, including Africa Day at Wellington Town Hall on Saturday 25 May. For more information and other event details visit