Now available to watch: Wellington writer Anne Harré in conversation with Dame Fiona Kidman

For your delight, edification, and enjoyment our very special interview with debut crime novelist and author of The Leaning Man Anne Harré in conversation with Dame Fiona Kidman.

Filmed at her publisher’s office by Wellington City Library staff. This wide-ranging interview with Anne covers The Leaning Man’s origins and creation, her love of Wellington and how Anne approaches her writing, not to mention how it feels to release your first novel.

Anne Harré’s debut novel The Leaning Man is a newly-released, gripping, suspenseful page-turning thrill ride of a book (you are very likely to stay up very late to see what happens next). It is set in our very own windy Wellington and in some respects is a love letter to the city with its perfectly visualised, vivid, and evocative descriptions of the capital. And to top it all one of the locations in the book is our very own Te Awe Library, with accompanying fictional librarian.

The book has already gained glowing reviews in The Listener, The Dominion Post as well as RNZ.

We wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to Anne Harré, Dame Fiona Kidman and Mary McCallum for making this interview happen. This interview was done in conjunction with The Cuba Press and Creative New Zealand.

The leaning man / Harré, Anne
“It’s Saturday night down on the wharf. Celebrations are in full swing for the Westons’ fortieth wedding anniversary. Their daughter Stella has returned from London to attend. Once shoulder-tapped as detective material, a few bad decisions and a questionable ethical dilemma saw her leave the force under a cloud. She’s now a private investigator in London, reduced to filming errant husbands for court cases. She doesn’t want to be home. Later that night her best friend Teri is found dead in a lane in the central city. Her phone is missing. It looks like suicide, but Stella won’t believe it.” (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.” (Catalogue)

Facebook Premiere: Wellington writer Anne Harré in conversation with Dame Fiona Kidman

Anne Harré’s debut novel The Leaning Man is a newly released, gripping, suspenseful page-turning thrill ride of a book (you are very likely to stay up very late to see what happens next). It is set in our very own windy Wellington and in some respects is a love letter to the city with its perfectly visualised, vivid, and evocative descriptions of the capital both its light and darker sides.

The main protagonist in the novel is Stella; a complex, engaging, and damaged individual on a mission to get to the bottom of her friends’ mysterious death.

And to top it all one of the locations in the book is our very own Te Awe Library, with accompanying fictional librarian.

The book has already gained glowing reviews in The Listener, The Dominion Post as well as RNZ. So, when the opportunity arose for us to interview Anne about The Leaning Man’s origins and creation and  how Anne approaches her writing, not to mention how it feels to release your first novel, we jumped at it.

And when it was confirmed that one of the most respected and acclaimed of all our authors, Dame Fiona Kidman was to conduct the interview we were over the moon.

This exclusive interview will be premiered on our Facebook page

Sunday 17th October at 8.30

It will be available on our library social media platforms soon after. We wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to Anne Harré, Dame Fiona Kidman and Mary McCallum for making this interview happen. This interview was done in conjunction with The Cuba Press and Creative New Zealand.

The leaning man / Harré, Anne
“Wellington. The land dips and rolls, the wind has a life of its own. Dig a little deeper and the city is unforgiving and unrepentant. Forget the politicians, they’re poor amateurs in deception and crime. It’s Saturday night down on the wharf. Celebrations are in full swing for the Westons’ fortieth wedding anniversary. Their daughter Stella has returned from London to attend. Once shoulder-tapped as detective material, a few bad decisions and a questionable ethical dilemma saw her leave the force under a cloud. She’s now a private investigator in London, reduced to filming errant husbands for court cases. She doesn’t want to be home. Later that night her best friend Teri is found dead in a lane in the central city. Her phone is missing. It looks like suicide, but Stella won’t believe it. Stella Weston is relentless, foul-mouthed and tenacious. She’s not above taking big risks to find the truth about her friend and the shady world she appears to have been dragged into. The race is on between those who want the phone, the homeless man who’s pocketed it, and Stella.” (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)

Interview: Both Feet in Paradise author Andy Southall

“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” – Robert Louis Stevenson.

New Zealand writer Andy Southall has just released his second novel Both Feet in Paradise.  Andy’s mysterious, compelling, suspenseful thriller is occasionally surreal and chock full of unexpected twists and turns. It is set in Samoa, and along with its other attributes, is also a love letter to the island.

Andy has already published two travelogues: One Hundred Days in Samoa and 28 Days in Sri Lanka. His debut novel Making Meredith was about an amateur genealogist traveling to the north of England hoping to research his mother’s father.

During our interview with Andy we talked about his travel writing, the processes he uses whilst creating his work and how his mentorship with Pip Adam helped him finish the book. The resulting interview is a fascinating insight into Andy’s writing practice and also a great non plot spoiler accompaniment to Both Feet in Paradise. Andy was interviewed in conjunction with Caffeine and Aspirin arts and entertainment review show on Radioactive FM.

Overdrive cover Both Feet in Paradise, Andy Southall (ebook)
“After months of researching butterflies in Sāmoa, Adam is looking forward to returning home to his family. Then his transfer to the airport doesn’t arrive. Worse, a hastily arranged taxi takes him not to departures but an empty field in the middle of nowhere, and he misses his flight. As he fails to find alternative ways off the island – other flights, ferries, even seagoing yachts – he grows increasingly frustrated, especially as all overseas phone lines and emails seem to be down as well. In a café, he meets Eve, who offers to help him. Adam decides he has to trust her, for there is no one else. Yet he has a strange feeling he’s met her before …” (Adapted Overdrive description)

The Only Living Lady Parachutist: interview with author Catherine Clarke

Image of Leila Adair during her tour of Aotearoa New Zealand in 1894,
courtesy of Palmerston North City Library

The Only Living Lady Parachutist is a remarkable novel by Catherine Clarke based in fact about aerial acrobat daredevil, Lillian (aka Leila Adair). Leila was a smoke balloonist who was billed on flyers of the time as ‘The Aerial Queen’; she toured New Zealand in 1894 and her performance included aerial acrobatics followed by death-defying parachute jumps from her balloon.  A risky endeavour at the best of times, and one that was often fraught with danger. Catherine’s book takes much of the historical information available about Leila and turns it into a compelling, fascinating, fictional page-turner of a read.

As well as being a compulsive read, the book is a fascinating insight into New Zealand and the wider world of the time, not to mention society’s perceptions of pioneering daredevil women who pushed the boundaries of what was perceived as acceptable for the time.

So, for your delight and edification, this is our exclusive, in-depth interview with Catherine Clarke, where she talks about her novel in detail, the fascinating historical and societal context behind aerial acrobats of the time, her research methods and a whole host of other topics. For anyone interested in New Zealand history, or how to create captivating historical based fiction, the interview is unmissable.

Continue reading “The Only Living Lady Parachutist: interview with author Catherine Clarke”

Library Lockdown Distractions: WCL’s You Tube channel

Color Fish GIF by Ana Pérez López

Whilst we are all at home doing the right thing, lots of us are looking for long or short distractions. Either to while away time or for something to listen to whilst doing all those tasks, or perhaps to learn something new. And the library is the perfect place to find a huge number of activities and entertainments to occupy your time, and all of them free. We have electronic platforms with tens of thousands of free-to-access books, magazines, films and video courses to learn everything, from a new language to new computing skills.

And in this series of mini blogs, we want to place the spotlight focus on just a tiny aspect of these fabulous resources. First up is our very own You Tube channel which features Q and A’s, author interviews, Home With Ghosts readings  and even whole events, such as the 2019 Comicfest panels. Our channel features some of the most popular authors from Aotearoa and across the world, such as Lee Murray, Val McDermid, Renee, Elizabeth Knox, Ben Aaronovitch, to name but a few. Click HERE to access the full list.

Poet interview: Sam Duckor-Jones

Poet / artist Sam Duckor-Jones has so far released two collections of poetry; People from the Pit Stand Up and the recently released Party Legend. As a poet his works are widely varied, wickedly clever, often poignant in an understated way and often displaying Sam’s mischievous sense of humour.

The starting point for his poems is often eclectic:- from dissections of lying, and overhead commuter conversations, to the subtle sensibilities of the works of Maurice Sendak or poetic allusions to Bach’s Allemande in G, not to mention the tensions between the options of lustful pursuit or putting your feet up in front of a warm comfy cosy fire. Sam has a natural poet’s awareness of rhythm and line and a razor-sharp intellect as this interview shows and is a radical, fresh, and distinctive voice in the poetry world.

His artwork shows the same breath of intellect and consideration and is unbounded by convention or the desire to follow any movement or school. You can see more of Sam’s artwork by clicking here.

We recently had the great pleasure of interviewing Sam to ask him all about his latest collection of poetry Party Legend and the various other projects he is involved in, including his Greymouth church project, not to mention doing a fabulous poetry reading for us.

This interview was done in conjunction with Caffeine and Aspirin arts and entertainment review show on Radioactive FM. The interview was conducted by Caffeine and Aspirin host Liam Wild.

 

Party legend / Duckor-Jones, Sam
“Sam Duckor Jones’s first poetry collection was a tour of small towns, overgrown lawns, and giant clay men. In Party Legend he turns once again to questions of existence but at an even bigger scale. These are poems about creation, God, intimacy, the surreality of political rhetoric, misunderstandings at the supermarket – and they are fearless in form and address. Though Party Legend is often wildly funny, it is also, in its Duckor-Jonesian way, tender-hearted and consoling.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

 

People from the pit stand up / Duckor-Jones, Sam
“This is the voice of someone who is both at home and not at home in the world. Sam Duckor-Jones’s wonderfully fresh, funny, dishevelled poems are alive with art-making and fuelled by a hunger for intimacy. Giant clay men lurk in salons, the lawns of poets overgrow, petrolheads hoon along the beach, birds cry ‘wow-okay, wow-okay, wow-okay’.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Author interview: Rajorshi Chakraborti

Rajorshi Chakraborti is one of the most interesting and exciting voices in New Zealand literature at the moment; a superb novelist, essayist, and short story writer. Rajorshi grew up in Calcutta and Mumbai and now lives in New Zealand.

He is the author of six novels and his novel The Man Who Would Not See was longlisted for the 2019 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. Set in Calcutta, it is the story of a family split apart by a very small error that moves ahead thirty years, so a possible apparent reconciliation, but is it?

His latest novel Shakti is a supernatural magical realist mystery thriller set in India, that delves into the murky and dark waters of modern Indian politics in a carefully chosen, considered  and unique fashion.

And as an accompaniment to this exceptional book, we recently had the pleasure of interviewing Rajorshi in conjunction with  Caffeine and Aspirin arts and entertainment review show on Radioactive FM. The interview was conducted by Caffeine and Aspirin host Liam Wild.

You can also borrow his books:

Shakti / Chakraborti, Rajorshi
“Amid a climate of right-wing, nationalist politics, three Indian women find themselves wielding powers that match their wildest dreams. There is one catch: they come with a Faustian price.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Also available as an eBook. 

 

The man who would not see / Chakraborti, Rajorshi
“As children in Calcutta, Ashim and Abhay made a small mistake that split their family forever. Thirty years later, Ashim has re-entered his brother’s life, with blame and retribution on his mind. It seems nothing short of smashing Abhay’s happy home will make good the damage from the past. At least, this is what Abhay and his wife Lena are certain is happening. A brother has travelled all the way from small-town India to New Zealand bearing ancient – and false – grudges, and with the implacable objective of blowing up every part of his younger brother’s life. Reconciliation was just a Trojan horse. But is Ashim really the villain he appears to be, or is there a method to his havoc?” (Catalogue)

Shadow play / Chakraborti, Rajorshi
“An international conspiracy thriller in the vein of The Parallax View— a Salman Rushdie-esque figure uses his latest novel to explain his own disappearance after a journalist’s murder   Raj Chakraborti, internationally renowned novelist and commentator, has disappeared from public view. What’s worse, the police want to question him about the murder of a young journalist. Raj claims to explain everything in chapters from his latest work of fiction about a serial-killer-turned-hired-assassin. Is Raj right to believe that he is being hunted, or is it his past that has finally borne down to haunt him?” (Catalogue)

Lit : stories from home
“Home-grown literary heroes, established contemporary authors, and award-winning emerging writers have been brought together in this new short story collection. Exploring ideas about identity, activism awareness, coming-of-age, society, and family in Aotearoa, New Zealand” (Catalogue)

Our exclusive author interview: Carol Markwell on Edwardian and Victorian Renaissance woman Blanche Edith Baughan (1870–1958)

New Zealand biographer Carol Markwell has just published her latest book – a brilliant and fascinating account of the life of Edwardian and Victorian Renaissance woman Blanche Edith Baughan (1870-1958), called Enough Horizon: the life and work of Blanche Baughan.

Blanche Edith Baughan was remarkable in many ways: she one of New Zealand’s first poets, a Victorian feminist, an active social reformer, one of the very first travel writers in New Zealand and an early environmentalist. She was, in all senses of the word, a true pioneer and a social visionary.

We recently had the pleasure of interviewing Carol about Blanche in conjunction with the Caffeine and Aspirin arts and entertainment review show on Radioactive FM. And below is the podcast of that interview for your enjoyment:

In the podcast Carol also mentions her first biography Alice, what have you done! about NZ waitress Alice May Parkinson, who shot her lover in 1915.  Carol’s work also includes poetry and fiction.

Enough Horizon : The Life And Work Of Blanche Baughan / Markwell, Carol
“Blanche Edith Baughan (1870–1958) was one of New Zealand’s first poets and travel writers –  her travel writing introduced people here and overseas to our walks and wilderness areas. Born in England, Blanche emigrated to New Zealand in 1900, settling in Sumner and Banks Peninsula, where she embraced the freedom to write and think, and formed friendships with poets Jessie Mackay and Ursula Bethell. It was here that Blanche’s interest in the environment and her advocacy for the vulnerable in society flourished. She became a botanist, conservationist and prison reformer, known for her fierce correspondence in defence of her causes. ” (from publisher)

Alice, what have you done! : the case of Alice May Parkinson / Markwell, Carol
“Napier, 1915: Alice May Parkinson shoots and kills her lover. Her trial and its aftermath cause controversy throughout New Zealand. Is she a feminist heroine or a callous killer ? Or simply a desperate woman who ran out of choices? This is her story.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Our exclusive author interview: John Summers on his latest book The Commercial Hotel

New Zealand writer and essayist John Summers has just published his latest work The Commercial Hotel.  John’s clever and often humorous book is part reportage, part memoir and is a meditation on his life and personal interests. Whilst the areas the book covers include John’s past, wider interests and obsessions, in doing so it also speaks to the reader about a wider story, about a side of New Zealand that is fast vanishing.

The book has a strangely modern, haunting quality to it. The Commercial Hotel in part achieves this by looking at some of the less celebrated and explored aspects of New Zealand’s recent past, especially in the more provincial areas of the country. By looking at things such as New Zealand Elvis impersonators, freezing works, night trains, hotel pubs and landfills he gets behind the surface of these things to reveal something deeper about life and death in New Zealand.

We recently had the pleasure of interviewing John about The Commercial Hotel in conjunction with the Caffeine and Aspirin arts and entertainment review show on Radioactive FM.

Click below to hear the interview:


The Commercial Hotel / Summers, John
Combining reportage and memoir, The Commercial Hotel is a sharp-eyed, poignant yet often hilarious tour of Aotearoa: a place in which Arcoroc mugs and dog-eared political biographies are as much a part of the scenery as the hills we tramp through ill-equipped. We encounter Elvis impersonators, the eccentric French horn player and adventurer Bernard Shapiro, Norman Kirk balancing timber on his handlebars while cycling to his building site, and Summers’s grandmother: the only woman imprisoned in New Zealand for protesting World War Two. And we meet the ghosts who haunt our loneliest spaces.” (Publisher information) 

The mermaid boy / Summers, John
“From Christchurch to China, from mattress manufacture to Burmese medicine, these true stories explore one man’s experience with the exotic and the mundane. Witty, perceptive, and often surprising, The Mermaid Boy introduces striking new ways to write about love, travel, and home.” (Publisher information)