Watch: NANSEN issue launch event

In February we hosted a special launch event for international migration magazine NANSEN‘s latest issue, focused on Muslim migrants in Aotearoa and what “home” means to them. We were joined by journalist Muzhgan Samarqandi and editor Ronia Ibrahim, along with publisher and editor Vanessa Ellingham, who discussed their heartfelt stories shared in the magazine.

If you weren’t able to join us at Te Puna Waiora Newtown Library, please enjoy this video recording of this wonderful discussion. We’d like to extend our appreciation and thanks to Muzhgan, Ronia and Vanessa for joining us for this fabulous event!

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‘Stories of Dementia’: Special event at Karori Library

Silhouette of a person, with flowers radiating out of their head

As part of Te Wiki Kaumātua Seniors’ Week we’re hosting a special talk at Karori Library, Stories of Dementia. Join us on Saturday 7th October, 2-3pm as we’re joined by authors Kristen Phillips, Charity Norman, Pip Desmond and Anne Schumacher of Dementia Wellington. This talk is for anyone interested in learning more about dementia, dementia experiences and what steps to take if yourself or a loved one are affected.

Here we highlight the work of the speakers, all of whom have personal and/or professional experiences dealing with the differing journeys dementia can take, and the effects it has on carers and whānau.

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Authors who travelled between China and New Zealand

The world is a book and the those who do not travel read only one page” – Saint Augustine.

These authors definitely went travelling and did so during some very difficult times, making their experiences and subsequent books truly remarkable. Read our blog about Robin Hyde, Boyong Ma, Lian Yang, and how their China-NZ travel experiences inspired them and their work.

Credit to read Robin Hyde by S P Andrew, Alexander Turnbull Library. Ref: 1/2-043599-F. https://natlib.govt.nz/records/22770176

Robin Hyde
Robin Hyde (real name Iris Wilkinson, b. 1906) grew up in Wellington. Like her book The Godwits Fly (1938) which was inspired by her childhood, Dragon Rampant covers her extraordinary experience of travelling to China during the Japanese occupation. In 1938 she began a journey to travel to London to meet her publishers. Stopping in Hong Kong where she worked briefly as a freelance journalist, she soon became aware of the situation that had developed over the border in mainland China. She took a boat to Japanese-controlled Shanghai which was still suffering the impact of having been bombed. There she met Rewi Alley, Edgar & Peggy Snow and the Guardian’s Far East correspondent, Harold Timperley. Impressed with the quality of her work, Timperley offered to fund her travel to Canton so that she could report on the situation there. After first returning to Hong Kong where she met the NZ writer James Bertram, she travelled deep into Guangzhou and the neighbouring provinces to the front-line of battles raging between Japanese troops and Chinese nationalists. After the city of Xuzhou was bombed and captured Japanese soldiers injured her eyes, but she managed to escape to limp 80 kilometres along railway tracks to safety. She was escorted to Tsing Tao before managing to get back to Hong Kong where she interviewed the Nationalist leader, Rosamond Soong Ch’ing-ling, before continuing on to London. Her dramatic and graphic account of her experience in China was published in Dragon Rampant; ‘dragon’ in the title alluding to the Imperial Japanese army and their invasion of China.

Text sourced from https://www.nzepc.auckland.ac.nz/authors/hyde/china.asp

Dragon rampant / Hyde, Robin
“Based on her own experience, Robin Hyde depicted a picture of the 1930s Japanese occupied China, just before the World War Two. Robin Hyde was the only lone female journalist visited China during the war time and hence written the best history book delivered. Similar to other people trapped in a war zone, she suffered from sickness, fear, poverty and turbulence. She also received help along the way and met the important people she intended to interview. It’s one of the only books on this topic and delivered with lyrical prose only Robin Hyde could deliver. ” (Librarian’s review)

Ma Boyong 马伯庸
Ma Boyong (b. 1980) is a well-known author, columnist and blogger in China. Several of his novels have been adapted to popular TV drama series’, including The longest day in Chang’An . In 2010 his achievements in writing were recognised after he was awarded the ‘People’s Literature Prize’, one of China’s most prestigious honours. In 2012, he was awarded ‘Prose Award’; in 2023, he became the screenwriter of the TV series The case of Daming’s silk under the Microscope

His journey to becoming one of China’s best known contemporary writers followed an unusual path. In 2001 he was an international student at Waikato University studying marketing and communications, but his exposure to the literature collection in the university library inspired him to begin writing fiction. It was also while he was at Waikato University that he met his wife, they returned to China together where his literary career soon took off. In 2019 he was invited to make a return visit New Zealand along with several other well-known Chinese figures with significant NZ connections. Ma Boyong’s short story The Great Migration has been translated into English and many of his books can be found on the library catalogue in both Chinese and English.

Text sourced from https://www.waikato.ac.nz/news-opinion/media/2019/famous-chinese-literary-genius-got-his-inspiration-from-waikato

Sinopticon : a celebration of Chinese science fiction
“First time translated into English, this book presents a collection of China’s best science fiction stories from thirteen award winning and best-selling writers. This book won the 2022 British Fantasy Awards of Best Anthology. The editor has curated the science-fiction and fantasy short stories and thread them through so the stories link to one another.  ‘The Great Migration’ by Ma Boyong is a selected short story in this collection. (Librarian’s review) 

Yang Lian, 杨炼
The poet Yang Lian was born in Switzerland in 1955 but was raised in Beijing. He visited Hong Kong in 1986, Australia in 1988 and the following year was invited to NZ as a visiting scholar by John Minford of Auckland University and to participate in the 1989 New Zealand-China Writers and Translators Workshop. He became a teacher in Auckland where he lectured on non-mainstream Chinese literature (‘Meng Long Pai’) for the Department of Asian Language and Literature. He later wrote about his experience of living in Auckland in his book Unreal City and went on to win the ‘Flaiano International Poetry Prize’ (Italy, 1999). He had won numerous prizes such as ‘International Capri Prize’ (Italy, 2014); ‘Li Bai Nomination Poetry Prize’ (China, 2015), The First Long Poem Prize (China, 2015), ‘PEN Award’, (UK, 2017); ‘L’Aquila International Literature Prize’ (Italy, 2018).  He holds both NZ and British citizenship and today divides his time between living in London and Berlin.

Unreal city : a Chinese poet in Auckland / Yang, Lian
“Yang Lian is a Chinese non-mainstream Chinese literature (Meng Long Pai) poet. During the four years he lived in Auckland, he has written the story from a startling, fresh perspective. Published in English for the first time in the scholarly collection, this book Unreal City had later won the ‘Flaiano International Poetry Prize’ (Italy, 1999). (Librarian’s review)

 

 

 

Top 100 Non-Fiction books from 2022

Highlights of 2022

Our list of the top 100 non-fiction books for 2022 includes the best in memoirs and biographies, poetry, local history, science and technology, health, cooking, music, art and architecture. We’ve selected an eclectic mix of acclaimed local authors, New York Times Bestsellers, Pulitzer prize winners and breakthrough newcomers, meaning there’s plenty of choice for the deep-dive readers and coffee book lovers alike (and everyone in-between).

2022 Non-fiction Highlights — Browse the full list
Browse the full list with all our picks, or browse just the topic you enjoy!

I'm glad my mom died / Jeanette McCurdyMy fourth time, we drowned / Sally HaydenAs ever, the compelling human stories encompassing grief, love, personal trauma and strengths of character shine through, with a hearty selection of memoirs and biographies to choose from, including Sally Hayden’s critically acclaimed My fourth time, we drowned. Topping our most heavily reserved new non-fiction title of 2022 was Jennette McCurdy’s hit memoir I’m glad my mom died. A little further off the beaten path, was Hua Hsu’s ‘quietly wrenching’ coming-of-age memoir Stay True, and the visual delight of Kate Beaton’s graphic memoir Ducks: two years in the oil sands.

Contributions to the local poetry scene were beautifully espoused in Khadro Mohamed’s We’re all made of lightning and in the visual expressions of the poet/painter collaboration within Bordering on Miraculous. Shining locally likewise, the great architectural designs in Making Space and HomeGround, which highlight design as a conduits to push social boundaries in Aotearoa New Zealand communities.

Regenesis / by George MonbiotCalls for climate awareness were made riveting in The Alarmist, Nomad Century and Regenesis. Our oceans were also a focal point for many this year, and explored in great depth, with Jellyfish age backwards, Secrets of the Sea and in Adrift: the curious tale of Lego lost at sea, among others.

The collapse of historic empires, stories of divided nations and political parties in turmoil were explored in a multitude of ways in the vast array of global history titles featured on our list. Included are Legacy of Violence: A history of the British Empire by Pulitzer prize winning Historian Caroline Elkins, and Fragments of a contested past: Remembrance, denial and New Zealand history by Joanna Kidman.

Wawata: Moon Dreaming / by Hinemoa ElderWe let the world’s first astronomers take us on a star gazing tour, and found daily wisdom in Hinemoa Elder’s Wawata: Moon Dreaming. Cap off 2022 by allowing yourself to become enveloped in worlds both near and far, and understand our past, present and future within the Top 100 non-fiction books of 2022 list. Pair with our Top 100 fiction books list, and you’re all set for your Summer Reading Adventure.

Books at the Climate Crossroads event: recording available now

The climate crisis seeps into almost everything now – that cicada thrum of environmental shift.

Ingrid Horrocks

On a very rainy Tuesday afternoon in May, Te Awe Library was lucky enough to host Ingrid Horrocks, Turi Park, Tim Park and Rebecca Priestley for Books at the Climate Crossroads: Ngā Uruora and Where We Swim.

This fantastic panel event combined literature, science, the climate emergency, history and more as the panellists discussed these two ground-breaking New Zealand titles, as well as their own personal and familial experiences.

If you weren’t able to make it, don’t worry–we recorded it for you! Click on the links below to view or listen to the talk via YouTube or MixCloud. And for more info, check out our previous blog about this event.

Watch the talk here:

Listen to the talk here:

Creature Feature. Our spotlight on Dylan Horrocks


When we make art, the landscape that we are really exploring is the landscape of the human imagination.” — Dylan Horrocks

Dylan Horrocks is one of the most talented and versatile cartoonists working in NZ today, his works range from the Tour De force that is Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen to Hunter: The Age of Magic to Batgirl and Supergirl as well as the acclaimed Hicksville and his illustrations have been exhibited in many galleries including City Gallery Wellington, The Dowse Gallery in Lower Hutt, Centre National de la Bande Dessinee Internationale (CNBDI) in Angoulême, France and Auckland City Art Gallery to name but a few.

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

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9th December 2020

Te Awe Library – 29 Brandon Street

12.30pm to 1.30 pm

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Incomplete works / Horrocks, Dylan
“Daydreams, fantasy, true love, and procrastination feature strongly in this selection of Dylan Horrocks’s shorter comics running from 1986 to 2012. It is both the chronicle of an age and a portrait of one man’s heroic struggle to get some work done.” (Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Hicksville : a comic book / Horrocks, Dylan
“Introduction by Seth.,World-famous cartoonist Dick Burger has earned,millions and become the most powerful man in the,comics industry. However, behind his rapid rise to,success, there lies a dark and terrible secret, as,biographer Leonard Batts discovers when he visits,Burger’s hometown in remote New Zealand. A rich,and captivating book, one of the best graphic,novels of the past decade. World-famous cartoonist Dick Burger has earned millions and become the most powerful man in the comics industry. However, behind his rapid rise to success, there lies a dark and terrible secret, as biographer Leonard Batts discovers when he visits Burger’s hometown in remote New Zealand.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Batman : War games. Book two.
“The complete epic conclusion of the “War Games” saga that changed the criminal underworld of Gotham City forever Stephanie Brown, also known as the vigilante Spoiler, has made her former partner Batman’s training scenario a chilling reality. The various crime families are leaderless…the soldiers running for their lives while trying to grab a piece of the underworld pie for themselves. Batman is stunned to learn that the wave of terror and death threatening his beloved Gotham City originated closer to home than he ever imagined, and that someone he once trusted is responsible for the carnage. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Monstrous affections : an anthology of beastly tales
“Fifteen top voices in speculative fiction explore the intersection of fear and love in a haunting, at times hilarious, darkly imaginative volume. Predatory kraken that sing with — and for — their kin; band members and betrayed friends who happen to be demonic; harpies as likely to attract as repel. Welcome to a world where humans live side by side with monsters, from vampires both nostalgic and bumbling to an eight-legged alien who makes tea. Here you’ll find mercurial forms that burrow into warm fat, spectral boy toys, a Maori force of nature, a landform that claims lives, and an architect of hell on earth. ” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Sam Zabel and the magic pen / Horrocks, Dylan
“A burned-out superhero comic artist goes on an adventure that spans time and space–with two female companions. Sam spends his days writing superhero stories for a large American comics publisher and staring at a blank piece of paper, unable to draw a single line. Then one day he finds a mysterious old comic book set on Mars and is suddenly thrown headlong into a wild, fantastic journey through centuries of comics, stories, and imaginary worlds. Accompanied by a young webcomic creator named Alice and an enigmatic schoolgirl with rocket boots and a bag full of comics, Sam goes in search of the Magic Pen.” (Adapted from Catalogue)