A Capital Crimespree: Newtown Mystery in the Library, 6pm April 30

Do you enjoy delving into some darkness in your reading?

The Ngaio Marsh Awards, in association with Wellington City Libraries, invites booklovers to a fun evening of criminally good conversation, featuring five outstanding local storytellers.

Three-time Ockham New Zealand Book Awards listee Brannavan Gnanalingam chairs a panel discussion with 2019 Ngaio Marsh Award and Ockham winner Dame Fiona Kidman, 2021 Ockham longlistee Sally J Morgan, and New York Times bestselling writing duo Dr Judy Melinek and TJ Michell. From crafting rich characters alongside exciting storylines to addressing real-life issues through their fiction, much will be revealed.

When: 6pm, Friday 30 April 2021
Where: Newtown Library, 13 Constable Street, Wellington 6021

This is a free event.

Dame Fiona Kidman has published over 30 books, including novels, poetry, non-fiction and a play. She has worked as a librarian, radio producer and critic and as a scriptwriter for radio, television and film. Her novel This Mortal Boy won the 2019 Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Novel as well as the Acorn Prize for Fiction, the NZ Booklovers Award and the NZSA Heritage Book Award.

Brannavan Gnanalingam is a Wellington lawyer and writer of fiction and non-fiction. His past three novels have all been listed for the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards; Sodden Downstream  was shortlisted in 2018. His latest novel Sprigs has been called a “scarily contemporary and realistic story… an extraordinary piece of writing” (Kim Hill, Radio NZ).

Sally J Morgan is a Professor at Massey University Wellington, conceptual artist, and cultural historian. She grew up in a Welsh mining town and as a young women was once offered a lift by the serial killers Fred and Rose West. Sally declined, but that experience planted the seeds for her debut novel Toto Among The Murderers, which is longlisted for the 2021 Acorn Prize for Fiction.

Dr Judy Melinek and TJ Mitchell are the husband-and-wife writing duo behind the Jessie Teska forensic mysteries and the New York Times bestselling non-fiction book Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the making of a medical examiner, based on Judy’s training with the Chief Medical Examiner in New York. TJ previously worked in the film industry.

Please note “Mature/ adult issues of a challenging nature” may be discussed.

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? Black’s final words, as the hangman covered his head, were, ‘I wish you all a merry Christmas, gentlemen, and a prosperous New Year.’ This is his story.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook .

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.”–cover.” (Catalogue)

Toto among the murderers / Morgan, Sally J
“‘It is 1973 and Jude – known to her friends as Toto – has just graduated from art school and moves into a house in a run-down part of Leeds. Jude is a chaotic wild child who flirts with the wrong kind of people, drinks too much and gets stoned too often. Never happy to stay in one place for very long, her restlessness takes her on hitchhiking jaunts up and down the country. Her best friend, Nel, is the only steady influence Jude has but Nel’s life isn’t as perfect as it seems. At the same time infamous murderers, Fred and Rosemary West, are stalking the country, on the lookout for girls like Jude.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Working stiff : two years, 262 bodies, and the making of a medical examiner / Melinek, Judy
” Dr. Judy Melinek began her training as a New York City forensic pathologist. While her husband and their toddler held down the home front, Judy threw herself into the fascinating world of death investigation–performing autopsies, investigating death scenes, counseling grieving relatives. Working Stiff chronicles Judy’s two years of training, taking readers behind the police tape of some of the most harrowing deaths in the Big Apple, including a firsthand account of the events of September 11.” (Catalogue)

 

 

On this weekend! The Garden Party, a new summer festival

A new summer festival is coming to Pōneke and it is happening this weekend ( 2oth and 21st Feb) , organised by the wonderful people who have brought us the Verb Festival and The Spinoff. It’s called The Garden Party, and it promises to be a fabulous celebration of music, talks and food aimed at the whole family.

To give you a taste of  just one of the many unmissable delights on offer we have a very exclusive sneak peek at just one of the many highlights:- Navigating the Stars by Taki Rua Productions and Witi Ihimaera. This event integrates readings and live music to bring Māori creation myths vividly to be life.

Navigating the Stars – Taki Rua Productions and Witi Ihimaera

Verb Wellington in partnership with Taki Rua Productions bring Witi Ihimaera’s new book Navigating The Stars off the page, in a special Garden Party performance reading with live music directed and led by Maiava Nathaniel Lees.

Sunday 21 February, 10am

Other Highlights include:

Songs, Stories, Sass and Splash — Sacha Cotter & Josh Morgan in The Treehouse
Illustrator Josh Morgan (Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki, Rongowhakaata) and author Sacha Cotter together are the amazing storytelling/songwriting/award-winning-picture-book-making team, Cotter & Morgan. Together they have created Keys/Ngā Kī, The Marble Maker/Te Kaihanga Māpere, and the 2019 Margaret Mahy Book of the Year, The Bomb/Te Pohū – all published by HUIA. Sunday 21 February

11.30am: Watch out for Sacha and Josh in the Big Fun Family Quiz

12.10pm: Songs, Stories, Sass & SPLASH with Sacha Cotter & Josh Morgan in the Treehouse

Big Fun Family Quiz — with hosts Toby Morris & Toby Manhire
Toby Morris & Toby Manhire (The Spinoff) host a quiz full of fun questions for the whole family with special cameo guests. Win prizes, come dressed as your favourite book characters for bonus points. Sunday 21 February, 11.30am

 

Plus there are loads of other activities planned too (flag makingnature activity fun with Rachel Haydon, a treasure huntstring ‘o’ spells, and the nature activity book walking tour), so keep an eye out for the full timetable on Verb Wellington’s The Garden Party webpage.

So, gather friends and whānau and come along to the Botanic Garden Soundshell on the 20th and 21st of February for a weekend full of the interesting and the delicious!

Creature Feature. Our spotlight on Tina Makereti

The hour is late. The candle is low. Tomorrow I will see whether it is my friends or a ship homewards I meet. But I must finish my story for you first. My future, my descendant, my mokopuna. Listen.’ —Tina Makereti from The Imaginary Lives of James Poneke. 

Tina Makereti’s fabulous fourth book The Imaginary Lives of James Poneke was shortlisted for: The New Zealand Heritage Book Awards and Longlisted for Ockham New Zealand Book Awards and the International Dublin Literary Award. The story of a young Maori boy put on display as a curiosity in Victorian London the tale is told from the first person and is an enthralling, compassionate and engrossing read that deals with big issues that are all still very relevant to this day.

Tina is one of the four authors at our unmissable Monsters in the Garden event which will have conversations and readings from Tina as well as Elizabeth Knox, Dylan Horrocks and Craig Gamble the event is Free and all are very welcome.

______________________________

9th December 2020

Te Awe Library – 29 Brandon Street

12.30pm to 1.30 pm

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Where the Rēkohu bone sings / Makereti, Tina
“In the 1880s, Mere yearns for independence. Iraia wants the same but, as the descendant of a slave, such things are hardly conceivable. One summer, they notice their friendship has changed, but if they are ever to experience freedom they will need to leave their home in the Queen Charlotte Sounds. A hundred years later, Lula and Bigs are born. The birth is literally one in a million, as their mother, Tui, likes to say. When Tui dies, they learn there is much she kept secret and they, too, will need to travel beyond their world, to an island they barely knew existed. Neither Mere and Iraia nor Lula and Bigs are aware that someone else is part of their journeys. He does not watch over them so much as through them, feeling their loss and confusion as if it were his own.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Once upon a time in Aotearoa / Makereti, Tina
“Once Upon a Time in Aotearoa explores a world where mythological characters and stories become part of everyday life. Old and new worlds co-exist, cultures mingle, and magic happens. Familiar characters appear, but in these versions the gods live in a contemporary world and are motivated by human concerns. In this perplexing world, characters connect with each other and find ancient wisdom that carries them through. Bold and sexy, this collection is a crafty combo of mystery and history that makes the old new.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Black marks on the white page
“Stones move, whale bones rise out of the ground like cities, a man figures out how to raise seven daughters alone. Sometimes gods speak or we find ourselves in a not-too-distant future. Here are the glorious, painful, sharp and funny 21st century stories of Maori and Pasifika writers from all over the world. Vibrant, provocative and aesthetically exciting, these stories expand our sense of what is possible in Indigenous Oceanic writing. Witi Ihimaera and Tina Makereti present the very best new and uncollected stories and novel excerpts, creating a talanoa, a conversation, where the stories do the talking.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

The imaginary lives of James Pōneke / Makereti, Tina
” All the world’s a stage, especially when you’re a living exhibit. But anything can happen to a young New Zealander on the savage streets of Victorian London. When James meets the man with laughing dark eyes and the woman who dresses as a man, he begins to discover who people really are beneath their many guises.Although London is everything James most desires, this new world is more dark and dazzling than he could have imagined.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Four writers writing about Newtown

Rachel Kerr author of Victory Park, Carl Shuker author of A Mistake and Michalia Arathimos author of Aukati in conversation with Mary McCallum about setting their fiction in Newtown.

With Jackson Nieuwland reading their poem from their collection I am a human being about working at Newtown Library.

Join us to hear these four esteemed authors all writing about Newtown talking about their work. All with very different voices and all with very different things to say. Yet all of the highest calibre this event this bound to be entertaining and stimulating and to make it even more complete we will be staging it at Newtown Library.


Friday, December 4   |   6pm   |   Newtown Library


The authors involved are…

Rachel Kerr has exploded onto the New Zealand literary scene with her debut novel Victory Park. About a single mother living on a block of flats in a fictionalised Newtown. Her life is humdrum until the mysterious Bridget moves into the flats, bringing with her unexpected friendship, glamour and wild dreams.

Carl Shuker’s A Mistake. When an operation what goes wrong, in a hospital based on Wellington Regional Hospital in Newtown a young woman dies, who is culpable and who is to blame. The moral and ethical repercussions of this tragic event are explored in this masterful work which was shortlisted for the Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize 2020.

Michalia Arathimos’s Aukati begins with two people arriving at a marae to protest fracking at a nearby farm. Family, political protest and culture intersect in this thoughtful, elegant, moving, and economically written novel. Michalia Arathimos describes herself as a Greek-New Zealander she currently is the Writer in Residence at Randell Cottage and will hold the Grimshaw Sargeson Fellowship in 2021.

Poet Jackson Nieuwland has been a busy person not only releasing their first beautiful, complex and surreal collection of poetry I am a Human Being, but also opening Food Court Books in Newtown and is also in the process of launching their own publishing house. This promises to be an unmissable event and all are very welcome.

Victory Park / Kerr, Rachel
“Kara lives in Victory Park council flats with her young son, just making a living by minding other people’s kids – her nightly smoke on the fire escape the only time she can drop her guard and imagine something better. But the truth is life is threadbare and unpromising until the mysterious Bridget moves in to the flats. The wife of a disgraced Ponzi schemer she brings with her glamour and wild dreams and an unexpected friendship. Drawn in, Kara forgets for a moment who she’s there to protect.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A mistake / Shuker, R. Carl
“Elizabeth Taylor is a surgeon at a city hospital, a gifted, driven and rare woman excelling in a male-dominated culture. One day, while operating on a young woman in a critical condition, something goes gravely wrong. A Mistake is a compelling story of human fallibility, and the dangerous hunger for black and white answers in a world of exponential complication and nuance.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The method actors : a novel / Shuker, R. Carl
“The Method Actors traces the disappearance of a young, gifted military historian named Michael Edwards from his desk in Tokyo and his sister Meredith’s return to the city in search of him. Michael’s research into international war crimes trials will take his sister through four hundred years of history, myth and propaganda, love and infidelity, religious transport and hallucination.” ( Adapted from Catalogue)

The lazy boys : a novel / Shuker, R. Carl
“Carl Shuker’s protagonist, Richard Sauer, heads off to college for no reason other than to escape the stultifying normalcy of his middle-class family in Timaru, New Zealand. He may appear ordinary in his aimlessness, mangling his way through his first year in college, but his bonging and banging, his anger and rage, take a brutal turn at an out-of-control dorm party which lands Richey in front of the disciplinary committee with a sexual harassment charge. Dropping out of school before he’s thrown out, Richey and his housemates Matt, Nick, and Ursula begin a freefall that forces Richey to face his most destructive desires.” ( Adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive cover Anti Lebanon, Carl Shuker (ebook)
“It is Arab Spring and the fate of the Christians of the Middle East is uncertain. The many Christians of Lebanon are walking a knife-edge, their very survival in their ancestral refuge in doubt, as the Lebanese government becomes Hezbollah-dominated, while Syria convulses with warring religious factions. Anti Lebanon is a cross-genre political thriller and horror story embedded within these recent events, featuring a multiethnic Christian family living out the lingering after-effects of Lebanon’s civil war as it struggles to deal with its phantoms, its ghosts, and its vampires. (Adapted fromOverdrive description)

Aukati / Arathimos, Michalia
“Alexia is a law student escaping the Greek family that stifles her, and Isaiah is a young Maori returning home to find the family he’s lost. Cut loose from their own cultures, they have volunteered to help Isaiah’s Taranaki iwi get rid of the fracking that’s devastating their land and water. The deeper Alexia and Isaiah go into the fight, the closer they get to understanding the different worlds they inhabit. But when a protest march becomes violent a boundary is crossed, and they need to decide where they stand and fast. It’s clear the police have been tipped off, and the activists gathered at the marae suspect they’re being watched or, worse, there is an informant in the group. Can Alexia and Isaiah be trusted? And more – can they trust themselves?” (Catalogue)

I am a human being / Nieuwland, Jackson
“Poet Jackson Nieuwland  first published collection is a beautiful, complex and surreal body  of work. The poems within are very intimate and display vulnerability, and fragility . Working with the concept that no single  word can adequately defines us. The multiplicity of who we are and what we have the potential to become is explored in a sequence of  poems such as I am an egg, I am a tree, I am a beaver, I am a bear, I am a bottomless pit etc. The works within are delicately accompanied by Steph Maree’s line drawings.” ( Adapted from Catalogue)

Dance Prone and Invisible Mile author David Coventry in conversation

I was staring out a window
I was standing by the sea
Standing by the sea.

Grant Hart From Zen Arcade by Hüsker Dü


We are totally stoked to announce an exclusive interview with Dance Prone and Invisible mile author David Coventry, in conversation with his friend and fellow New Zealand musician Greg Cairns.

David had a rich and fascinating career in the New Zealand music industry before taking a right-turn and becoming an award-winning author. His first book, The Invisible Mile, is about the rigours of cycling in the Tour de France, and his second novel is about the hard core punk scene in America (you’ll hear more about this in the video). At first glance you might think these themes are poles apart, but — as David discusses — not so far apart as people may think.

In Dance prone David captures lightning in a jar by describing the psychological, physical and visceral experience of playing live in front of an audience — a remarkable feat many authors have tried and with a few notable exceptions have largely failed.

David and Greg in coversation is entertaining, insightful, wide-ranging and free form. It encompasses many topics, including David’s writing process, life on the road, and first hand recollections of legendary New Zealand bands, gigs and musicians, not to mention the genius of Husker Du.

We wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to both David and Greg for such an entertaining, frank, and insightful behind-the-scenes conversation.

Watch the full extended  version of their discussion below:

David also put together a Dance Prone Spotify playlist.

You can catch David at his upcoming Verb Wellington Festival event on the 8th of November.

Below are just a few of the Bands and albums mentioned in the David’s  interview:


Dance prone / Coventry, David
“During their 1985 tour, two events of hatred and stupidity forever change the lives of a band’s four members. Neues Bauen, a post-hardcore Illinois group homing in on their own small fame, head on with frontman Conrad Wells sexually assaulted and guitarist Tone Seburg wounded by gunshot. The band staggers forth into the American landscape, traversing time and investigating each of their relationships with history, memory, authenticity, violence and revelling in transcendence through the act of art.” (Catalogue)

The invisible mile / Coventry, David
“The 1928 Ravat-Wonder team from New Zealand and Australia were the first English-speaking team to ride the Tour de France. From June through July they faced one of toughest in the race’s history: 5,476 kilometres of unsealed roads on heavy, fixed-wheel bikes. They rode in darkness through mountains with no light and brakes like glass. They weren’t expected to finish, but stadiums filled with Frenchmen eager to call their names. ” (Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

This is Memorial Device : an hallucinated oral history of the post-punk scene in Airdrie, Coatbridge and environs 1978-1986 / Keenan, David
This Is Memorial Device, is a love letter to the small towns of Lanarkshire in the late 1970s and early 80s.It follows a cast of misfits, drop-outs, small town visionaries and would-be artists and musicians through a period of time where anything seemed possible, a moment where art and the demands it made were as serious as your life.  Written in a series of hallucinatory first-person eye-witness accounts that capture the prosaic madness of the time and place.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Ready to fly / Verlaines

Doolittle. / Pixies (Musical group)
“After 1988’s brilliant but abrasive Surfer Rosa, the Pixies’ sound couldn’t get much more extreme. Their Elektra debut, Doolittle, reins in the noise in favor of pop songcraft and accessibility. Their most accessible album, Doolittle’s wide-ranging moods and sounds make it one of their most eclectic and ambitious. A fun, freaky alternative to most other late-’80s college rock, it’s easy to see why the album made the Pixies into underground rock stars. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Horses. / Smith, Patti
“It isn’t hard to make the case for Patti Smith as a punk rock progenitor based on her debut album, which anticipated the new wave by a year or so: the simple, crudely played rock & roll, featuring Lenny Kaye’s rudimentary guitar work, the anarchic spirit of Smith’s vocals, and the emotional and imaginative nature of her lyrics — all prefigure the coming movement as it evolved on both sides of the Atlantic. Smith is a rock critic’s dream, a poet as steeped in ’60s garage rock as she is in French Symbolism.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Evol. / Sonic Youth

The last few titles are not currently available from our collection, but we hope to have them available very soon!

The Frozen Borderline, by Nico.

Land Speed Record, by Hüsker Dü.

Zen Arcade, by Hüsker Dü.

Tugga’s Mob: Our Interview with Ngaio Marsh Finalist Stephen Johnson

Continuing our short feature series on this year’s Ngaio Marsh Awards, we are delighted to have an exclusive interview and reading by debut novelist and Ngaio Marsh shortlisted author of Tugga’s Mob, Stephen Johnson.

Stephen has a fascinating background, first as a courier and driver for Topdeck Travel, taking passengers from London to Istanbul and then as a television producer for some of New Zealand’s most iconic news and sports programmes. Both of these life experiences inform many of the dramatic devices and locations Stephen uses in this novel. For example, the novel’s investigators are a television current affairs crew rather than the traditional detectives or private investigators.

Stephen describes himself as an accidental author who wrote the book whilst on an empty nest tour of Europe. The plot revolves around Judy Williams, a young backpacker whose dream of exploring Europe on her OE ends tragically in her murder. It is only the discovery of her diary thirty years later that leads to the investigation that finally puts matters to right. Tugga’s Mob has been described by many reviewers as a “compulsive page turner” that vividly brings to life some of Europe’s top tourist destinations.

We want to extend our biggest thank you to Stephen for his time and such a great interview. And we wish him and his fellow shortlisted authors good luck in the final awards ceremony. The finalists will be celebrated, and the winners announced, as part of a special event at this year’s WORD Christchurch Festival, held from 29 October to 1 November. Enjoy!

Below are some of the books that influenced Stephen Johnson and were mentioned in his interview:

Secret Seven on the trail / Blyton, Enid
“Something mysterious is going on at Tigger’s Barn, and the Secret Seven are intrigued. Peter thinks it’s all just gossip, but Jack isn’t so sure when he overhears a strange conversation. It looks like the Seven are on the trail of another exciting adventure! Solve the mystery!This edition features the classic text and comes with a Bonus Blyton section at the back with quizzes, puzzles and other bonus extras! .” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Call for the dead / Le Carré, John
“After a routine security check by George Smiley, civil servant Samuel Fennan apparently kills himself. When Smiley finds Circus head Maston is trying to blame him for the death, he begins his own investigation, meeting Fennan’s widow. On the very day Smiley is ordered off the enquiry he receives an urgent letter from the dead man. Do the East Germans – and their agents – know more about this man’s death than the Circus previously imagined?” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

The Ipcress file / Deighton, Len
“Len Deighton’s classic first novel, whose protagonist is a nameless spy – later christened Harry Palmer and made famous worldwide in the iconic 1960s film starring Michael Caine. The Ipcress File was not only Len Deighton’s first novel, it was his first bestseller and the book that broke the mould of thriller writing. For the working class narrator, an apparently straightforward mission to find a missing biochemist becomes a journey to the heart of a dark and deadly conspiracy.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

The Bourne identity : a novel / Ludlum, Robert
” His memory is a blank. His bullet-ridden body was fished from the Mediterranean Sea. His face has been altered by plastic surgery. A frame of microfilm has been surgically implanted in his hip. Even his name is a mystery. Marked for death, he is racing for survival through a bizarre world of murderous conspirators–led by Carlos, the world’s most dangerous assassin. Who is Jason Bourne? The answer may kill him. (Adapted from Catalogue)

Headhunters/ Nesbø, Jo
“Roger Brown is a corporate headhunter, but one career simply can’t support his luxurious lifestyle. At an art opening one night he meets Clas Greve, who is not only the perfect candidate for a major CEO job, but also, perhaps, the answer to his financial woes: Greve just so happens to mention that he owns a priceless Peter Paul Rubens painting–and Roger Brown just so happens to dabble in art theft. But when he breaks into Greve’s apartment, he finds more than just the painting.” (Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

A place of execution / McDermid, Val
In the village of Scardale, thirteen-year-old girls didn’t just run away. So when Alison Carter vanished in the winter of ’63, everyone knew it was a murder. Catherine Heathcote remembers the case well. A child herself when Alison vanished, decades on she still recalls the sense of fear. Now a journalist, she persuades DI George Bennett to speak of the hunt for Alison, the tantalizing leads and harrowing dead ends. But when a fresh lead emerges, Bennett tries to stop the story… ‘” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook

The faceless / Symon, Vanda
“Bradley is a middle-aged man trapped in middle-class New Zealand. One day, Bradley picks up a teenage hooker. Unfortunately he can’t keep it up and then she laughs at him. That was a mistake. He beats her, ties her up and takes her to an abandoned warehouse. Max is homeless. He eats from rubbish bins, bums cigarettes from anyone and anywhere, including the footpath. But Max has one friend and she has gone missing. If he is to find her he is going to have to call on some people from his past life and re-open old wounds.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

When she was good / Robotham, Michael
“Criminal psychologist Cyrus Haven and Evie Cormac return. Who is Evie, the girl with no past, running from? She was discovered hiding in a secret room in the aftermath of a terrible crime. Her ability to tell when someone is lying helped Cyrus crack an impenetrable case. Now, the closer Cyrus gets to uncovering answers about Evie’s dark history, the more he exposes Evie to danger, giving her no choice but to run. Ultimately, both will have to decide if some secrets are better left buried and some monsters should never be named…” (Catalogue)

For more information on Stephen click here.

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)

Read before you crawl… a Poetry Showcase

If poetry is your thing then get ready to be excited for this year’s line up because poets are out in numbers! Mark your calendars for November 10th and start planning your crawl! For lovers of prose make sure you check out the LitCrawl Extended Programme as well, the Poetry Showcase is a must see! With so many poets, musicians and wordsmiths to chose from, here are our selections for must reads before the crawl!

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, whakamā and kitsch and emerges dripping with colour and liquor. These poems time-travel through the powdery mint-green 1960s and the polaroid sunshine 1970’s to the present day. Their language and forms are liquid-sometimes as lush as what they describe, other times deliberately biblical or oblique.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

There’s no place like the internet in springtime / Kennedy, Erik
“Layering comedy over insight and pathos over comedy, mixing its flexible couplets with beautifully spiky free verse, Erik Kennedy’s first collection should climb up all the right charts: his phrases can go anywhere, then come back, and he has figured out how to sound both trustworthy and nonplussed, giddy and humble, in the same breath. Sometimes he impersonates spiny lobsters; sometimes he’s a socialist chambered nautilus. Sometimes he’s our best guide to the globe-trotting ridiculous.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Are friends electric? / Heath, Helen
“Offering a vivid and moving vision of a past, present and future mediated by technology, the first part of thisbold new collection is comprised largely of found poems which emerge from conversations about sex bots, people who feel an intimate love for bridges, fences and buildings, a meditation on Theo Jansens beautifully strange animal sculptures, and the lives of birds in cities. A series of speculative poems further explores questions of how we incorporate technology into our lives and bodies.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

The farewell tourist / Glenny, Alison
“Pushing the boundaries of what poetry might be The Farewell Tourist is haunting, many-layered and slightly surreal. In The Magnetic Process sequence a man and a woman inhabit a polar world, adrift in zones of divergence, where dreams are filled with snow, icebergs, and sinking ships. Their scientific instruments and observations measure a fragmented and uncertain space where conventional perspectives are violated. By turns mysterious, ominous and evocative, they represent connections to an obscured narrative of disintegration and icy melancholy.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

The ski flier / McMillan, Maria
“As it traverses various landscapes, The Ski Flier also moves through a world where strength and self doubt exist in the same moment. Maria McMillan’s vivid second full poetry collection takes in mountains and cities, dragons and daughters, hope and wish fulfilment, demolition and renewal. With shining intelligence these poems demand that we pay attention to where we have been and where we are now.” (Victoria University Press Summary)

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, an acerbic, acid-bright, yet unapologetically sentimental and personal reflection on what it means to perform and dissect identity, as a poet and a person.” (Adapted Sydnetics Summary)

Alzheimer’s and a spoon / Breslin, Liz
This collection takes its readers on a tangled trip. Public stories – a conversation at the Castle of the Insane, on-line quizzes to determine if you are mostly meercat or Hufflepuff. #stainlessteelkudos. Personal tales, of Liz’s babcia, a devout Catholic and a soldier in the Warsaw Uprising, who spent her last years with Alzheimer’s disease. There is much to remember that she so badly wanted to forget. What do you do when life gives you spoons? (Amazon Summary)

The facts / Lloyd, Therese
“Guided by the work of Anna Carson, these poems trace the end of a marriage, a toxic love affair, age and aging, and the deeper question of spiritual meaning. Running throughout is Therese Lloyd’s quest to prove that art is essential to life.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

XYZ of happiness / McCallum, Mary
“Poems of happiness… as it comes, when it’s missing and when it is hoped for.” –Back cover.” (Syndetics Summary)

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!