Verb Wellington 2019: Librarians’ Choice!

When it began life in 2014, Verb Wellington (then LitCrawl) featured 15 literary events across a single night in November. Six years on, things have changed! This highlight of the capital’s creative calendar runs for a full four days, with writers from Aotearoa and around the world packing into shops, bars, libraries, galleries and more to listen to–and take part in–a range of exciting literary events.

To help you navigate these authorial riches, we’ve put together a librarians’ choice of Verb Wellington events. And if you need to do some reading before heading along, never fear–we’ve got links to the books associated with each event as well! So whether you like discovering the luxurious yet desolate apartments of post-recession Iceland or Tinakori Road in the ’60s–or anything else!–Verb Wellington has got you covered. (And for bonus reading, check out our curated list of Verb Wellington eBooks here!)

Monty’s Pick:

Going to Custard: High Tea with Danielle Hawkins and Catherine Robertson.

The pair of best-selling Aotearoa writers sit down and tuck in to talk about how they draw upon life to spin into stories for their beautifully Kiwi pages.

When it all went to custard / Hawkins, Danielle
“The news of Jenny’s husband’s infidelity comes as a nasty shock to the part-time building control officer and full-time mother – even though, to her surprise, her first reaction is relief. What really hurts is her children’s unhappiness at the break-up, and the growing realisation that she may lose the family farm. This is the story of the year after Jenny’s old life falls apart; of family and farming, pet lambs and geriatric dogs, choko-bearing tenants and Springsteen-esque neighbours. And of getting a second chance.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

What you wish for / Robertson, Catherine
“Dr Ashwin Ghadavi, the newly imported GP, is trying hard to fit into Gabriel’s Bay. His challenges include the immoveable force of his office manager, Mac, the ambiguities of the Kiwi idiom and his unrequited attraction to Mac’s daughter, Emma. Having returned home, Emma is on a mission to right eco wrongs, and her targets include local farmer Vic Halsworth, who’s already neck deep in the proverbial and, to make matters worse, seems to be having visions of moose.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Fiona’s Pick:

Val McDermid: Queen of Crime with Val McDermid and Noelle McCarthy.

Val joins RNZ’s Noelle McCarthy for a discussion about her latest books: the beautiful My Scotland, an ode to the Scotland in her stories and what those places mean to her, and the rather more bloody, How the Dead Speak.

My Scotland / McDermid, Val
“In My Scotland, number one bestselling author Val McDermid takes readers to the landscapes where she has lived all her life, and the places where her stories and characters reside. Accompanied by over 100 stunning photographs, this remarkable book uncovers Val’s own Scotland in all its glory – from the iconic Isle of Skye to the majestic streets of Edinburgh; from the undiscovered hideaways of the Highlands to the wild and untamed Jura.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

How the dead speak / McDermid, Val
“After an explosive case that forced Tony Hill and Carol Jordan to reassess everything they thought they knew about right and wrong, both are dealing with the fallout in their own separate ways. While Tony must pay the price for his actions, Carol is conducting investigations into suspected miscarriages of justice. But when a shocking discovery is made on a construction site, Tony and Carol are brought into each other’s orbit once again…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Cathy’s Pick:

Lit-Sync For Your Life 2019 curated by Chris Tse.

Six of Wellington’s most dynamic and fearless drag performers will shablam the house down in a literary drag show celebrating New Zealand books and writers.

He’s so MASC / Tse, Chris
He’s So MASC confronts a contemporary world of self-loathing poets and compulsive liars, of youth and sexual identity, and of the author as character–pop star, actor, hitman, and much more. These are poems that delve into worlds of hyper-masculine romanticism and dancing alone in night clubs. With it’s many modes and influences, He’s So MASC is an acerbic, acid-bright, yet unapologetically sentimental and personal reflection on what it means to perform and dissect identity.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

How to be dead in a year of snakes / Tse, Chris
“In 1905, white supremacist Lionel Terry murdered the Cantonese gold prospector Joe Kum Yung to draw attention to his crusade to rid New Zealand of Chinese and other east Asian immigrants. Author Chris Tse uses this story–and its reenactment for a documentary a hundred years later–to reflect on the experiences of Chinese migrants of the period, their wishes and hopes, their estrangement and alienation, their ghostly reverberation through a white-majority culture.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Neil’s Pick:

For the Love of the Library with Laurinda Thomas, Bee Trudgeon, Jackson Nieuwland and Elizabeth Knox.

Three librarians discuss, with Elizabeth Knox, what they value most about their work, their workplace and how they see the libraries of the future for Aotearoa.

The absolute book / Knox, Elizabeth
“Taryn Cornick believes that the past is behind her – her sister’s death by violence, and her own ill-concieved 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.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Wake / Knox, Elizabeth
“One sunny spring morning the Tasman Bay settlement of Kahukura is overwhelmed by a mysterious mass insanity. A handful of survivors find themselves cut off from the world, and surrounded by the dead. As they try to take care of one another, and survive in ever more difficult circumstances, it becomes apparent that this isn’t the first time that this has happened, and that they aren’t all survivors and victims—two of them are something quite other.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Paul’s Pick:

Growing up Wāhine Māori with Nadine Anne Hura, Patricia Grace and Tayi Tibble.

Nadine Anne Hura talks with one of our greatest writers Patricia Grace, and powerhouse of poetry, Tayi Tibble, about the ways that being a Māori woman has influenced their written worlds.

Chappy / Grace, Patricia
“Uprooted from his privileged European life and sent to New Zealand to sort himself out, 21-year-old Daniel pieces together the history of his Maori family. As his relatives revisit their past, Daniel learns of a remarkable love story between his Maori grandmother Oriwia and his Japanese grandfather Chappy. The more Daniel hears about his deceased grandfather, the more intriguing and elusive Chappy becomes.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Poūkahangatus / Tibble, Tayi
“This collection speaks about beauty, activism, power and popular culture with compelling guile, a darkness, a deep understanding and sensuality. It dives through noir, whakama and kitsch and emerges dripping with colour and liquor. There’s whakapapa, funk (in all its connotations) and fetishisation. The poems map colonisation of many kinds through intergenerational, indigenous domesticity, sex, image and disjunction.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

LitCrawl is back at WCL!

LitCrawl is back and this year they are celebrating five years of the crawl! From 8 – 11 November you can get involved in over 50 events featuring writers, illustrators, storytellers, musicians, historians, taxidermists, performance artists and more! LitCrawl features the famous crawl on Saturday 10 November from 6pm to 9.15pm, during which there are 25 events in as many locations in Wellington’s CBD. The LitCrawl Extended programme is running again this year between Thursday 8th and Sunday 11th November and is a mixture of free and ticketed events, so make sure you mark your diaries and take a good look at the programme! There is something for everyone at LitCrawl! For the full programme see www.litcrawl.co.nz 

We have two very exciting events at Central this year!

True Stories Told Live is back! LitCrawl and the New Zealand Book Council are bringing True Stories Told Live back to Central on Saturday 10 November as part of Phase 1 of the crawl. From 6pm – 6.45pm an epic line up of writers deliver true stories on the theme of age. Featuring Victor Rodger, Eirlys Hunter, Lizzie Marvelly, Raymond Antrobus, Helen Heath and Kate Spencer. Hosted by Penny Ashton. To plan out the rest of your crawl, check out the full programme online.

And something for the kids! Earlier on Saturday 10 November bring the kids along to the first ever KidsCrawl. LitCrawl has joined forces with the amazing Annual (edited by Kate De Goldi and Susan Paris) to create an adventure for the whole family. From 10-11am at the Central Library, you will be given a story map that takes you all over the library in search of Annual authors who have a story to tell… KidsCrawl is free but registration is essential so make sure you send an email to kidscrawl@litcrawl.co.nz to register your storyhunters. For more information check out the website.

Read before you crawl…

The programme is out, you’ve seen then line up, now it’s time to get reading! Search the catalogue and place those reserves for the authors you are most excited to see and keep an eye out for our special Read Before You Crawl blogs which will be coming out weekly as we countdown to the big weekend!

Read before you crawl… Fiction Choices
Read before you crawl… a Poetry Showcase
Read before you crawl – KidsCrawl Edition

 

Did someone say prizes?

In the lead up to LitCrawl we will have some tickets and books to give away! Make sure you keep an eye on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts to be in it to win it!

LitCrawl: True Stories Told Live at Central library

That’s right! It’s LitCrawl time again and that means it’s time to get excited because this year is going to be on a whole different level!

With the addition of LitCrawl Extended and events running across the whole weekend, starting on Friday 10th November all the way through to Sunday the 12th, it’s time to come into the library, grab your programme and start planning your crawl.

We will be hosting True Stories Told Live as part of LitCrawl Phase 1, starting at 6pm at the Central Library on Saturday November 11th.

This years theme is ‘Quiet Revolutions’. Totally unscripted, no power points or cue cards, just storytelling in its rawest form!

Featuring Makerita Urale, Witi Ihimaera, Hēmi Kelly, Renèe, Lucy Revill, Rajorshi Chakraborti and Eamonn Marra it’s going to be an unmissable event!

To help everyone get excited and pumped for their crawl, we’ve asked our librarians to share their recommendations. Just like True Stories Told Live, we just asked for everyone’s picks, no theme, no time, no parameters just Librarian’s choices, straight from the heart!

Syndetics book coverLinda’s Pick: Tess / Kirsten McDougall.
“In the silence she could hear the oncoming hum, like a large flock approaching. She didn’t want to hear his story; she’d had enough of them. 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.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverJamie’s Pick: Crisis four : a Nick Stone thriller / Andy McNab.
“Ex-SAS trooper Nick Stone is clever, ruthless and very effective, it is no surprise that he is hired by British Intelligence. Sarah Greenwood is beautiful, intelligent and cunning, and the only woman Stone has ever truly opened up to. But now he has been ordered to hunt her down. Hotly pursued through the American wilderness, Stone finds himself at the center of a deadly game of cat and mouse and must get to the heart of a terrifying conspiracy theory to which only Sarah holds the key.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFrith’s Pick: Iceland / Dominic Hoey.
“Aspiring musician Zlata meets graffiti artist and part-time drug dealer Hamish at a party. Together, they start to get their lives on track Zlata gets her record deal and album tour, and Hamish gets an exhibition of his art in Auckland, then in Tokyo. Then one of their group of friends kills someone, and everything starts to unravel as they deal (or not) with the aftermath” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTim’s Pick: Leave before you go / Emily Perkins.
No New Zealand novel better captures the sad ambience of finding yourself a little older than you feel ready for and also you’ve just locked yourself out of your flat again. In a good way.
“A generation’s dilemma: should we find real jobs & relationships & houses, or shall we sit here, watch TV & maybe think about going out later? Leave Before You Go is a witty novel from last year’s winner of the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverReece’s Pick: The crossing / by Cormac McCarthy.
“In The Crossing, Cormac McCarthy fulfills the promise of All the Pretty Horses and at the same time give us a work that is darker and more visionary, a novel with the unstoppable momentum of a classic western and the elegaic power of a lost American myth.  An essential novel by any measure, this is a luminous and appalling book that touches, stops, and starts the heart and mind at once.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverJess’ Pick: Daughter of the forest / Juliet Marillier.
“A tale of history and heritage, myth and magic, legend and love. Lord Colum of Sevenwaters is blessed with seven children, but it is Sorcha, the youngest and only daughter, who is destined to defend her family and protect their land. The only one who escapes the cruel influence of her father’s new wife, exiled and cast out into the forest and the terrifying world beyond, Sorcha falls into the hands of the feared enemy. Now she is torn between a life she has always known and a love that only comes once.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverZuhara’s Pick: Gone with the wind / by Margaret Mitchell.
“Often remembered for the epic film, Gone With the Wind explores the depth of human passions with an intensity as bold as its setting in the red hills of Georgia. This is the tale of Scarlett O’Hara, the spoiled, manipulative daughter of a wealthy plantation owner, who arrives at young womanhood just in time to see the Civil War forever change her way of life. A sweeping story of tangled passion and courage, Margaret Mitchell brings to life the unforgettable characters that have captured readers for over seventy years.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPaul’s Pick: The unthinkable thoughts of Jacob Green : a novel / by Joshua Braff.
“It’s 1977, housewarming, Annie Hall and bar mitzvah parties punctuate Jacob Green’s childhood and require command performances by all the Green family members. Jacob doesn’t mean to disappoint his father, but he can’t help thinking the most unthinkable (and very funny) thoughts about public-school humiliation, Hebrew-school disinclination, and in-home sex education (with the live-in nanny!). This self-assured, comic, yet piercing first novel deftly captures the struggle of an imperfect boy trying to become a suitable son.” ( Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBeth’s Pick: The English patient / Michael Ondaatje.
“Set during the end of World War II, this novel explores the lives of four very disparate people who find themselves holed up together in a ruined villa north of Florence as the war retreats around them. Michael Ondaatje is the author of Running in the Family and In the Skin of a Lion.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLigia’s Pick: The book of disquiet / Fernando Pessoa ; edited by Jerónimo Pizarro; translated from the Portuguese by Margaret Jull Costa.
“An “autobiography” or “diary” containing exquisite melancholy observations, aphorisms, and ruminations, this classic work grapples with all the eternal questions. Now, for the first time the texts are presented chronologically, in a complete English edition by master translator Margaret Jull Costa.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSela’s Pick: The bronze horseman / Paullina Simons.
“The war has not yet touched this city of fallen grandeur, or the lives of two sisters, Tatiana and Dasha Metanova. Their world is turned upside down when Hitler’s armies attack Russia and yet there is light in the darkness. Tatiana meets Alexander, a brave young officer in the Red Army. Tatiana and Alexander’s impossible love threatens to tear the family apart and expose Alexander’s dangerous secret, a secret as devastating as the war itself.” (Syndetics summary)

 

Litcrawl 2017

LitCrawl 2016 at the Central Library

LitCrawl 2016 Cenral Library

A literary injection straight to the heart of the city

LITCRAWL is a celebration of new works of literature by over 100 writers; local, national and international. It’s held in twenty of Wellington’s best loved venues, from tiny book stores to the large space of the Central Library. Intimate. Real. Anything goes. The writers step across the threshold and go unscripted and unsupported by notes, lecterns or audio-visual equipment. This is storytelling at its unabashed best. Come and witness unique stories on the theme of ‘metamorphosis’ as they are shaped in the moment.

Featuring Mayor Justin Lester, Paula Morris, Emily Perkins, Khalid Warsame and Anahera Gildea. In partnership with the New Zealand Book Council.

Find LitCrawl on EventFinda

View the full 2016 programme here