Come join our online book group on Goodreads – Wellington Reads!

Wellington Reads Goodreads groupWould you love to belong to a book group, but just don’t have the time? We’ve created a Goodreads group especially for Wellingtonians (or Wellingtonians at heart!), called “Wellington Reads“. This is an online group that (so far!) doesn’t meet in person, and we’d love to have you join!

If you’ve never heard of Goodreads before, you’re in for a treat. Goodreads is a social networking site (like facebook, but for books!), that lets you catalogue your own bookshelf, keep track of your reading, and follow and interact with your friends’ and favourite authors’ reading. It’s also a recommendation engine for what you might enjoy reading next — and it’s free! Head over and explore Goodreads site.

On Wellington Reads, we talk about favourite books and authors — from New Zealand, and around the world. We have a monthly challenge (our current one is nostalgia children’s fiction!), but usually no set book. Come share what you like to read, and find new reads and discover new authors!

Here’s what our members are reading in September

We look forward to seeing you there!


Man Booker Prize 2013 shortlist announced

Syndetics book coverThe shortlist of six novels from the 151 submitted, of the Man Booker Prize 2013 has been announced. Eleanor Catton with her second novel, The Luminaries has been selected. She is the youngest writer ever shortlisted for this prize. She is joined on the list by Jim Crace, with The Harvest, Colm Toibin with The Testament of Mary, Ruth Ozeki with A Tale for the Time Being, Jhumpa Lahiri with The Lowland (on order now!), and NoViolet Bulawayo with We Need New Names.
This shortlist is the most diverse in many years, not only with the selected novels which range from historical New Zealand and England to modern day Zimbabwe and Japan, but also in the writers, from the prolific and experienced Colm Toibin and Jim Crace to the new and relatively unknown Eleanor Catton and NoViolet Bulawayo.
The winner will be announced in London on 15th October 2013.

Thriller fiction writer Elmore Leonard dies

Syndetics book coverThe popular American crime writer Elmore Leonard has died aged 87. He was born in New Orleans in 1925, after serving in the Navy during World War II, he graduated from the University of Detroit and began work as a copy writer with an advertising agency. Here he began his writing career firstly with short stories, with his first publication in 1951.He continued with short stories throughout his career, but moved onto writing Western novels, the first The Bounty Hunters being published in 1953. Through the years he went on to write crime and mystery novels, also screen plays. 19 movies and 7 television series have been adapted from Elmore Leonard’s short stories and novels, the best known are the crime-comedy Get Shorty, the western 3.10 to Yuma, adapted in 1957 and again in 2007, Hombre adapted in 1967 and The Big Bounce adapted in 1969 and again 2004. His last novel Raylan published in 2012 has been adapted, with several other Leonard works into the continuing television series Justified.

2013 New Zealand Post Book Award finalists announced

Syndetics book coverThe finalists in the New Zealand Post Book Awards have been announced. In the Fiction Category, four novels have been selected by the panel of judges chaired by John Campbell. They are The Big Music by Kirsty Gunn, In the Absence of Heroes by Anthony McCarten, The Forrests by Emily Perkins and the debut novel by Wellington writer Gigi Fenster, titled The Intentions Book.
The winners for this and other categories will be announced in Auckland on 28th August.

2013 Man Booker Prize long list announced

Syndetics book coverSyndetics book coverThe long list for this year’s Man Booker Prize, the 45th year of the award, has been announced. Thirteen novels from experimental to traditional, historical to modern times, ranging from all parts of the world have been selected by the panel of judges. Harvest by Jim Crace and The Testament of Mary by Colm Toibin are the only two writers who have previously been shortlisted in the past foe the prize. There are three, as yet unreleased novels on the long list, one being The Luminaries by Wellington writer Eleanor Catton (congratulations Eleanor from all our librarians, we’re all very excited for you!), who is also the youngest writer selected. The shortlist will be announced in September and the £50,000 prize will be awarded to the winner on 15th October.

Sir Julius Vogel Award winners

Syndetics book coverThe winners of the Sir Julius Vogel Award, New Zealand’s annual recognition for Science Fiction and Fantasy writing, were recently announced. The Best Youth Novel was awarded to Fredrik Brouneus for his novel, The Prince of Soul and the Lighthouse. The Best Collected Work was awarded to Matt and Debbie Cowens for their collection of short stories titled Mansfield with Monsters. They also received the Vogel Award for Best New Talent.

Wellington City Libraries were fortunate to host these writers and others in March at the Words on the Wind speculative fiction evening. Both winning novels were published by independent publishers Steam Press, who have recently published Joseph Edward Ryan’s The Factory World.

The Sir Julius Vogel Awards began in 1989 and were initially known as the New Zealand Science Fiction Fan Awards. Since 2002 several new professional award categories have been included, while still retaining some fan based awards, and they are now organised by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand with the awards being made annually at the New Zealand Science Fiction Convention.

Ruth Prawer Jhabvala dies

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The well known fiction and screenplay writer Ruth Prawer Jhabvala has died in New York aged 85 years. Born in Cologne to Polish Jewish parents, the family moved to Britain in 1939, where she received her education. In 1951 she married an Indian Parsi architect, and spent the next 64 years living in Delhi. Her first novel, To Whom She Will was published in 1955. Eleven more novels and eight collections of short stories would follow, all much acclaimed and most set in India. Her novel titled Heat and Dust, published in 1975, was the Booker Prize winner for that year. The same year she moved to New York, and began working with film makers Merchant and Ivory, as a screen writer, producing 23 screenplays, winning two Oscars for A Room with a View in 1985 and Howards End in 1992. Her last published fiction was My Nine Lives in 2004, although she completed two screenplays after with the last in 2008.

2012 Man Booker Prize winner announced

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Hilary Mantel has won the 2012 Man Booker Prize for her novel, Bring Up the Bodies, the second book in her historical trilogy on the life of Thomas Cromwell. Three years ago she won the same prize for Wolf Hall, the first book in the trilogy. Only two other writers have won the Man Booker Prize previously, they were Peter Carey and J M Coetzee. The judges agreed that this extraordinary novel will be read in decades to come, and that Hilary Mantel has excelled in re-defining historical fiction genre.

2012 Man Booker shortlist announced

The 2012 Man Booker shortlist has been announced. Six novels from the long list of twelve were selected by the judging panel to go forward for further judging to find the eventual winner, with the announcement being made on 16th October. Not surprisingly, last year’s winner, Hilary Mantel has made the shortlist with her sequel to Wolf Hall, Bring up the Bodies, along with Will Self for his novel titled Umbrella.

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2012 Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel

The short list for the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel, established in 2010, has been announced. The four novels are:

Collecting Cooper Luther: the callingBy any means Bound, by Vanda Symon

The winner selected by the judging panel will receive a handcraft Trophy, a set of Ngaio Marsh novels and $1000, with the announcement and presentation on 1st September. Exciting!