Together We Read: Remember Me by Charity Norman

We are very excited and thrilled to announce a very special treat for book lovers. As part of the national #TogetherWeRead promotion, during the period 27th September to the 11th of October, Wellington City Libraries will be offering unlimited download eBook and eAudiobooks copies of Charity Norman’s compulsive read Remember Me.

No waitlists. No holds. And totally free! We want to make this the biggest read in Aotearoa’s history and get as many people as possible to read this novel.

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Audition: New science fiction and fantasy titles

What I know about structures of fiction comes from hairdressing. 

– Quote from Pip Adam’s The Spinoff interview.  

Our special featured title in this month’s selection of newly acquired science fiction and fantasy titles is Audition by Wellington’s very own Pip Adam. Pip Adam is the author of four novels: Audition, Nothing to See, which was shortlisted for the Acorn Prize for Fiction, The New Animals, which won the Acorn Foundation Prize for Fiction, and I’m Working on a Building. Her short story collection Everything We Hoped For won the NZSA Hubert Church Best First Book Award for Fiction.

Audition is the title of her latest novel, and it is also the name of the spaceship in the book.
Audition is hurtling through space towards the event horizon, and squashed immobile into its rooms are three giants. If they talk, the spaceship keeps moving; if they are silent, they resume growing. As they talk, they might be recovering their shared memory of what has been done to their incarcerated former selves, or are they constructing those selves from memory-scripts that have been implanted in them?

Audition confirms Pip Adam’s position as one of our finest contemporary world class writers. All of Pip’s work is bold, daring, unexpected, exceptional and sometimes challenging. Audition defies categorisation, it is part science fiction and part social realism, but there is a whole lot more going on in it. Continue reading “Audition: New science fiction and fantasy titles”

Novelist Latika Vasil picks her top five dystopian reads

The World I Found is the debut novel by Wellingtonian based Indian New Zealander Latika Vasil.

This emotional and exciting young adult read is an apocalyptical ‘what if’ novel, in which 15-year-old Quinn returns from a visit to the remote Campbell Island only to discover everything has changed, everyone has vanished, phones don’t work and there is no power. How do they go about navigating and surviving in this new world?

Latika Vasil lives in Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington. She has worked as a university lecturer, a researcher, a creative writing tutor and currently as a freelance writer. Her fiction has been broadcast on Radio New Zealand, and published in many anthologies and magazines. The World I Found is her first novel.

Dystopian novels have a long and noble history and the opportunity to ask someone who is adding to this illustrious canon was just too good to miss. So, to celebrate the release of The World I Found we asked Latika to select her top five dystopian novels.

We wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to Latika Vasil for taking the time to write this list!

Station eleven / Mandel, Emily St. John
Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel
Despite the bleakness of a world destroyed by a deadly virus, Station Eleven offers the reader moments of incredible beauty amongst the gloom. I loved the writing and the meticulous worldbuilding. The book follows the stories of various characters across different timelines, but the storyline that stuck with me the most was the one that followed The Traveling Symphony, a rag-tag group of musicians and actors, as they roamed through a post-apocalyptic world performing for survivor communities. In the face of an almost total collapse and the loss of technology, Station Eleven shows that art will endure.

The road / McCarthy, Cormac
The Road – Cormac McCarthy
The Road follows the journey of a father and his young son as they walk across America after an unspecified apocalyptic event. McCarthy’s writing style is spare which perfectly mirrors the unrelentingly bleak landscape through which the pair are travelling. Some readers may find the book too dark and pessimistic but I loved its intensity. It will break your heart many times over but it is a masterpiece of dystopian fiction and the deep love between father and son is truly beautiful to read. We never find out what caused the devastation but it is timely to consider climate change as a contender for leading to this type of future.

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Wellington Writers Walk 21st Anniversary: Alistair Te Ariki Campbell

To celebrate the 21st anniversary of the fabulous Wellington Writers Walk, we’ve taken a closer look at just a few of the authors represented. In this blog we take a look at Alistair Te Ariki Campbell’s typographical sculpture, which features a quote taken  from ‘Blue Rain’ in The Dark Lord of Savaiki: Collected Poems, Hazard Press, 2003.

Blue rain from a clear sky.

Our world a cube of sunlight –

but to the south

the violet admonition

of thunder.

In the video below, local authors and Wellington Writers Walk Committee members Philippa Werry and Maggie Rainey-Smith explore Alistair Te Ariki Campbell’s work – to be found by going down steps between the Circa Theatre and the harbour to a walkway over the water, or viewed from above. They provide a fascinating insight into Alistair Te Ariki Campbell’s work life and creative process, and also  celebrate his achievements, body of work and connections to Wellington.


The collected poems of Alistair Te Ariki Campbell / Campbell, Alistair
“The definitive edition of one of the most important bodies of work in New Zealand poetry. Based on a spiral-bound manuscript entitled Complete Poems 1947-2007 found among Campbell’s papers after his death, this is his most substantial collection to date and the first to be published in hardback since 1981.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


The dark lord of Savaiki : collected poems / Campbell, Alistair
“In The Dark Lord of Savaiki Alistair Te Ariki Campbell presents the best of his early and middle period poems, as well as his latest collections, Gallipoli and other Poems, Maori Battalion, acclaimed as a New Zealand epic poem, and an autobiographical poem in letters, Poets in Our Youth. Few New Zealand poets have treated the natural world with greater sensitivity, while his personal lyrics and love poems have a music and a depth of feeling that set them apart. Campbell is in the enviable position of being both a New Zealand and a Cook Islands poet, enabling him to draw on imagery, folklore, history, and mythology from both sources, with powerful effect. The publication of this book is a time for celebration, as a poet in his eightieth year publishes perhaps his best collection” (Adapted from Catalogue)

It’s love, isn’t it? : the love poems / Campbell, Alistair
“Poet Meg Campbell, not long before she died, expressed the wish to be published with her husband, Alistair Te Ariki Campbell, in a joint collection of their poems. Sadly, she died before this could be accomplished. Campbell has now carried out her wish with this striking and unusual collection of love poems mainly from the exacting early and middle years of their marriage. Tested by mental illness, infidelity, doubt, and independence, their love remained strong to the end. Campbell has matched the love poems, his and hers, which appear on facing pages throughout the book. The result is never less than cogent and illuminating. If you like poems that are frank, direct and passionate, this is the book for you.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


Scribbling in the dark : Alistair Te Ariki Campbell / Wattie, Nelson
“From the early days of Mine Eyes Dazzle Campbell’s poetic voice has had a charismatic force which has won him an unusually broad range of admirers. Young readers continue to be drawn by his strength of personal feeling, his compelling eroticism and his vivid renderings of the New Zealand and South Pacific environment.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


Just poetry / Campbell, Alistair





Fantasy with witches / Campbell, Alistair

Wellington Writers Walk 21st Anniversary: Patricia Grace

To celebrate the 21st anniversary of the fabulous Wellington Writers Walk, we’ve taken a closer look at just a few of the authors represented. In this blog we take a look at Patricia Grace’s sculpture, which features a quote taken from Cousins, Penguin Books, 1992

I love this city, the hills, the harbour, the

wind that blasts through it. I love

the life and pulse and activity, and the

warm decrepitude … there’s always an edge

here that one must walk which is sharp

and precarious, requiring vigilance.

In the video below, local authors and Wellington Writers Walk Committee members Philippa Werry and Maggie Rainey-Smith explore Patricia Grace’s work –  to be found between the  bridge and the Kupe sculpture, next to The Boatshed and down the steps, or view it can be viewed from the top. They provide a fascinating insight into Patricia Grace’s work, life and creative process , and also celebrate her achievements, body of work and connections to Wellington.

From the centre : a writer’s life / Grace, Patricia
“With photographs and quotes from her many, hugely loved books, Patricia Grace begins with her grandparents and parents and takes us through her childhood, her education, marriage and up to the present day in this touching and self-deprecating story of her life, the life of a writer, of a Maori woman and of a teacher. It expresses the love for family and for ancestral land; shows the prejudices she had to face and that made her stronger; and tracks her career as a writer.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Cousins / Grace, Patricia
“Three cousins’ lives have followed very different paths, yet their struggles offer insightful glimpses into the lives of contemporary New Zealand women. The author records psychological, cultural and political circumstances that circumscribe their worlds.” (Adapted from Catalogue)



Dogside story / Grace, Patricia
“Set in a rural Maori coastal community, the humour and aroha of the community are powerful life preserving factors. But there is conflict in the whanau. Te Rua is battling for custody of his daughter against his two aunts. But why are they disputing custody and what is really going on?” (Adapted from Catalogue)



Potiki / Grace, Patricia
“In New Zealand, white developers pressure a Maori family to let them build a tourist complex on the family’s land. The conflict is narrated by the woman of the house. Lots of native lore.” (Adapted from Catalogue)



Baby no-eyes / Grace, Patricia
“Baby No-eyes is Te Paania’s first child, killed in a car crash before she even leaves the womb. Baby’s ghost returns to comfort Te Paania, and when Baby’s brother Tawera is born he takes her place in the world although she is always by his side.” (Adapted from Catalogue)



The sky people / Grace, Patricia
“In this collection of stories, we meet the Sky People – those who are wounded in love or by circumstance and those who are unwanted or dispossessed; the challenge to human dignity and its redemption.” (Adapted from Catalogue)



Chappy / Grace, Patricia
“Daniel is sent to New Zealand to sort himself out. He discovers the remarkable love story between his Maori grandmother and Japanese grandfather. Racial intolerance and cross-cultural conflicts are encountered in a story of enduring love.” (Adapted from Catalogue)



Tu / Grace, Patricia
“Three brothers, a war and secrets. Te Hokowhitu-a-Tu — Tuboy, Tu Bear — is the family’s hope for the future. First chance he gets he becomes a soldier, and finds there’s no place he’d rather be than with his battalion. Some years later, a niece and nephew come looking for answers. It is time for revelations.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Wellington Writers Walk 21st anniversary: Event video

Recently at Karori Library, we had the rare opportunity to celebrate the 21st anniversary of the Wellington Writers Walk the iconic waterfront walk. This very special event featured two of New Zealand’s most celebrated authors, Elizabeth Knox and Dame Fiona Kidman, who were interviewed by author, broadcaster and Writers Walk committee member Tanya Ashcroft. During this wide-ranging conversation, Elizabeth Knox and Dame Fiona Kidman talked about the creation and future of this wonderful Wellington institution, as well as the part they’ve played in making the walk the much-loved success it is.

The event has now passed into history, but with the participants and Writer’s Walk committee permission we were able to film the proceedings and are now proud to present a video of the evening.

For anyone unfamiliar, this walk along Wellington’s beautiful waterfront pedestrian precinct is considered by many as “one of the world’s loveliest urban land-and-seascapes”. It consists of sculptural quotations situated in picturesque locations from the writings of a selection of iconic New Zealand authors – both past and contemporary. The walk celebrates and commemorates the place of Wellington in these writers’ lives, and their place in the life of Wellington.

Writers on the walk include: Katherine Mansfield, Robin Hyde, Pat Lawlor, Denis Glover, James K. Baxter, Bruce Mason, Lauris Edmond, Maurice Gee, Patricia Grace, Vincent O’Sullivan, Barbara Anderson, Alistair Te Ariki Campbell, Eileen Duggan, Bill Manhire and our very special guests Dame Fiona Kidman and Elizabeth Knox.

We wish to extend our most heartfelt thanks to Elizabeth Knox, Dame Fiona Kidman and Tanya Ashcroft. We’d also like to thank Karori Library and its staff and The Wellington Writers walk committee for making this very special event happen.

You can now view the video below or visit our You Tube channel.

The Wellington Writers Walk is a project of the Wellington Branch of the New Zealand Society of Authors Te Puni Kaituhi o Aotearoa (PEN NZ) Inc.

Below is a very small selection of Elizabeth Knox and Fiona Kidman titles available to borrow.

So far, for now : on journeys, widowhood and stories that are never over / Kidman, Fiona
“Evocative, wry and thought-provoking, this is a rewarding journey with one of our finest writers. It is a little over a decade since Fiona Kidman wrote her last volume of memoir. But her story did not end on its last page; instead her life since has been busier than ever, filled with significant changes, new writing and fascinating journeys. From being a grandmother to becoming a widow, from the suitcase-existence of book festivals to researching the lives and deaths of Jean Batten and Albert Black, she has found herself in new territory and viewed the familiar with fresh eyes. ” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

The absolute book / Knox, Elizabeth
“Taryn Cornick believes that the past is behind her – her sister’s death by violence, and her own ill-conceived 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. A policeman, Jacob Berger, has questions about a cold case. There are threatening phone calls. And a shadowy young man named Shift appears, bringing his shadows with him. Taryn, Jacob, Shift – three people are driven towards a reckoning felt in more than one world.” (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) Also available as an eBook 
Dreamhunter / Knox, Elizabeth
“Fast-paced and dazzlingly imaginative, Dreamhunter will draw the reader into an extraordinary fictional world in which dreams are as vividly described as the cream cakes in the tea shop, the sand on the beach or teenage first love.Set in 1906, Dreamhunter describes a world very similar to ours, except for a special place, known simply as The Place, where only a select group of people can go. These people are called Dreamhunters and they harvest dreams which are then transmitted to the general public for the purposes of entertainment, therapy – or terror and political coercion.Fifteen-year-old cousins Laura Hame and Rose Tiebold both come from famous dreamhunting families, but only Laura proves to be blessed with the gift and once inside The Place she finds out what happened to her missing dreamhunter father and reveals how the government has used dreams to control an ever-growing population of convicts and political dissenters.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
All the way to summer : stories of love and longing / Kidman, Fiona
“Fiona Kidman’s early stories about New Zealand women’s experiences scandalised readers with their vivid depictions of the heartbreaks and joys of desire, illicit liaisons and unconventional love. Her writing made her a feminist icon in the early 1980s, and she has since continued to tell the realities of women’s lives, her books resonating with many readers over the years and across the world. To mark her 80th birthday, this volume brings together a variety of her previously published stories as well as several that are new or previously uncollected; all moving, insightful and written with love. The final stories trace her own history of love, a memoir of significant people from childhood and beyond.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
The angel’s cut / Knox, Elizabeth
” Boomtown Los Angeles, 1929: Into a world of movie lots and speakeasies comes Xas, stunt flier and wingless angel, still nursing his broken heart, and determined only to go on living in the air. But there are forces that will keep him on the ground. Forces like Conrad Cole, movie director and aircraft designer, a glory-seeking king of the grand splash who is also a man sinking into his own sovereign darkness. And Flora McLeod, film editor and maimed former actress, who sees something in Xas that no one has ever seen before, not even God, who made him, or Lucifer, the general he once followed – Lucifer, who has lost Xas once, but won’t let that be the end of it. ” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook. 
The infinite air / Kidman, Fiona
“Jean Batten became an international icon in the 1930s. A brave, beautiful woman, she made a number of heroic solo flights across the world. The newspapers couldn’t get enough of her; and yet she suddenly slipped out of view, disappearing to the Caribbean with her mother and dying in obscurity in Majorca, buried in a pauper’s grave.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.


The vintner’s luck / Knox, Elizabeth
“One summer night in 1808, Sobran Jodeau sets out to drown his love sorrows in his family’s vineyard when he stumbles on an angel. Once he gets over his shock, Sobran decides that Xas, the male angel, is his guardian sent to counsel him on everything from marriage to wine production. But Xas turns out to be a far more mysterious character. Compelling and erotic, The Vintner’s Luck explores a decidedly unorthodox love story as Sobran eventually comes to love and be loved by both Xas and the young Countess de Valday, his friend and employer at the neighboring chateau.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an Audiobook.