“Home is an Island”: interview with travel writer Neville Peat

Neville Peat is an award-winning New Zealand writer whose career has already spanned over 50 years. He has written many acclaimed works in that time covering the genres of geography, biography, history and the natural environment.

He was the recipient of the 2007 Creative New Zealand Michael King Writers’ Fellowship and was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) for services to conservation in 2018.

His books on Aotearoa New Zealand range from Antarctica to tropical Tokelau, and during this time he has visited many of the islands within New Zealand’s marine realms.

Home is an Island, his latest book, is all about these beloved islands and features eight islands and eight journeys that range throughout his illustrious career. The book is part adventure travel, part memoir, part history and part nature conservation.

The book is highly readable, atmospheric, evocative, insightful and beautiful; a work that is about Neville’s lifelong odyssey across the islands of New Zealand and celebrates their diversity.

We wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to Neville for taking the time to answer our questions and for providing such an illuminating insight into his world and work.

This interview was done in conjunction with Caffeine and Aspirin, the arts and entertainment review show on Radioactive FM.

Home Is An Island : A writer’s tribute to the islands of Aotearoa New Zealand / Peat, Neville
“This book is about these islands, including Stewart Island/Rakiura, Anchor Island in Tamatea/Dusky Sound, Kāpiti Island and Tiritiri Matangi in the Hauraki Gulf. Further afield, the book also covers Ross Island in Antarctica, Enderby Island in the subantarctic Auckland Islands, the Chatham Islands and the New Zealand dependency of Tokelau. Part memoir, part adventure travel, history and nature conservation, Home is an Island is a fascinating, insightful book.” (Adapted from catalogue).

The invading sea : coastal hazards and climate change in Aotearoa New Zealand / Peat, Neville
“New Zealand’s coastline is under attack. When cyclones and king tides coincide, there is double trouble at the sea’s edge with erosion and flooding .Award-winning author Neville Peat investigates the multiple faces of the greatest environmental issue to face New Zealand and other Pacific nations this century: the science of a warming, rising, stormier sea; the risky reality for many low-lying communities; the sluggish response of central and local government; the engineered solutions; and the curly question of insurance. He also addresses the vital question: what should be done and who should pay?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Stewart Island : Rakiura National Park / Peat, Neville
“Stewart Island is an increasingly popular holiday destination for eco-tourism and outdoor recreation, with many bush walks and a wealth of natural features to enjoy. Neville Peat introduces the attractions of the island – what to see and do, its walks and tramps, its national park, wildlife, history and magnificent scenery.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


Wanaka : lake, mountain, adventure / Peat, Neville
“Neville Peat describes the scenic splendour of Wanaka and the myriad activities and attractions for visitors in this updated edition of a book that serves as both a guide to one of New Zealand’s tourism hotspots, and as a souvenir. The book covers the history of the Wanaka area and its progress into a contemporary centre renowned for an exciting range of outdoor activities and regular events, including the internationally recognized Warbirds Over Wanaka air show. Further material offers a guide to local walking and cycling tracks, local flora and fauna, and Mt Aspiring National Park.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The falcon and the lark : a New Zealand high country journal / Peat, Neville
“Part memoir, part natural history, a journey through Central Otago and encounters with New Zealand’s magnificent native falcon. He uncovers all; that is curious and distinctive there, in a rich blend of autobiography folklore and natural history. Woven throughout the narrative is an intimate portrait of New Zealand’s native falcon, karearea, ‘the wildest thing in our skies’. Neville Peat is one of New Zealand’s finest writers, and in this delightful book combines his skill as an essayist and natural historian and his instincts and breadth of knowledge as a conservationist.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

High country lark : an invitation to paradise / Peat, Neville
“An unusual summons from an old, itinerant acquaintance – known as the Lark – piques author Neville Peat’s curiosity. The invitation to meet in the mountains around Glenorchy is timely: he’s keen to head into the high country to investigate recent reports of sightings of the near-extinct kokako. The South Island high country has an allure all its own. New Zealand’s equivalent of the Wild West, it’s a rustic, spectacularly beautiful frontier, combining wild alpine beauty, beech forest and mirror-still lakes. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Queenstown : New Zealand’s adventure capital / Peat, Neville
“Founded on gold, sustained on scenery, developed on adrenalin …Queenstown is unlike anywhere else in New Zealand. It is the countrys tourismmecca, with lots of good reasons: mountains, rivers, lakes, climate, snow sports,tramping, fishing, bungy jumping, whitewater-rafting the list goes on and on.Neville Peat provides a guide to the region, with descriptions of its highlights.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

“In a child’s eyes, a mother is a goddess.”: new science fiction & fantasy


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“In a child’s eyes, a mother is a goddess. She can be glorious or terrible, benevolent or filled with wrath, but she commands love either way. I am convinced that this is the greatest power in the universe.”

 N.K. Jemisin

A warm welcome to the last selection of recently acquired Science Fiction and Fantasy titles for 2022. And in this month’s selection we have three new titles from our own fair shores, including The Hand of Glodd by Gareth Ward, It Was In Our Hands by M.C. Ronen and the Year’s Best Aotearoa New Zealand Science Fiction & Fantasy. V. 4. We were  recently lucky enough to interview the editor of that anthology, Emily Brill-Holland, and you can hear that interview below. The interview was done in conjunction with Caffeine and Aspirin, the arts and entertainment review show on Radioactive FM.

And in other titles, we are very excited to have the new N. K. Jemisin novel; an author we love whom the New York Times recently described as “The most celebrated Science Fiction and Fantasy writer of her generation.” Her new book The World We Make is the sequel to The City We Became and takes place a few months after the events in that book, and again features a fantastical reimagined New York city. It has already featured on many of the Best of 2022 lists.

The Hand of Glodd / Ward, Gareth
” The first instalment of the Tarquin the Honest series of books. Tarquin is wizard on a quest to find a golden gauntlet, accompanied by his  reluctant gnome sidekick Luna and riding his skeleton statue Clatterbones.  Along the way he encounters a series of madcap adventures.  ” ( Adapted from catalogue)

It was in our hands / Ronen, M. C.
“Sunny, a seasoned, long-time activist who fights to liberate enslaved and exploited victims, is herself an escapee from a farm where she was kept as a slave. Years of battling for total liberation did not dampen her highly developed sense of justice. But time has come to take the fight into a brand-new arena – the treacherous political one. Could the Liberation Amendment be passed into law? And if so, at what cost? The Liberation saga powerfully ends with this eventful, emotional rollercoaster. A tale of love, loss, violence, bravery, compassion and friendship.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Year’s best Aotearoa New Zealand science fiction & fantasy. v. 4
“Contents : Introduction. I will teach you magic by Andi C. Buchanan,  A thorn in your side by M. Darusha Wehm, Rabbit by Samantha Lane Murphy ,  Clutch, stick, shift by Tehnuka, Plague year by Anuja Mitra,  Basil and the wild by Rem Wigmore,  Data migration by  Melanie Harding-Shaw, Domestic goddess  by Kirsteen Ure,  Below salt-heavy tides by Andi C. Buchanan,  The women who didn’t win Nobels, and how world trees are not a substitute by Octavia Cade, Why we make monsters by  Rem Wigmore,  Interview with the sole refugee from the A303 Incident by James Rowland, Last Bird Island by  Nat Baker and Washing the plaid by Juliet Marillier.” ( Adapted from Catalogue)

The world we make / Jemisin, N. K
“Every great city has a soul. A human avatar that embodies their city’s heart and wields its magic. New York? She’s got six. But all is not well in the city that never sleeps. Though Brooklyn, Manny, Bronca, Venezia, Padmini, and Neek have temporarily managed to stop the Woman in White from invading–and destroying the entire universe in the process–the mysterious capital “E” Enemy has more subtle powers at her disposal. A new candidate for mayor wielding the populist rhetoric of gentrification, xenophobia, and “law and order” may have what it takes to change the very nature of New York itself and take it down from the inside…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Scattered all over the earth / Tawada, Yōko
“Welcome to the not-too-distant future: Japan, having vanished from the face of the earth, is now remembered as “the land of sushi.” Hiruko, its former citizen and a climate refugee herself, has a job teaching immigrant children in Denmark with her invented language Panska (Pan-Scandinavian). As she searches for anyone who can still speak her mother tongue, Hiruko soon makes new friends. Her troupe travels to France, encountering an umami cooking competition; a dead whale; an ultra-nationalist named Breivik; unrequited love; Kakuzo robots; red herrings; uranium; an Andalusian matador…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The atlas paradox / Blake, Olivie
“The Atlas Paradox is the long-awaited sequel to Olivie Blake’s New York Times bestselling dark academic sensation The Atlas Six–guaranteed to have even more yearning, backstabbing, betrayal, and chaos. Six magicians were presented with the opportunity of a lifetime. Five are now members of the Society. Two paths lay before them. All must pick a side. Alliances will be tested, hearts will be broken, and The Society of Alexandrians will be revealed for what it is: a secret society with raw, world-changing power, headed by a man whose plans to change life as we know it are already under way.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook. 

Across the sand / Howey, Hugh
“The old world is buried. A new one has been forged atop the shifting dunes, a land of howling wind and infernal sand. In this barren home, siblings Conner, Rob, Palmer and Violet daily carve out a future. They live in the shadow of their father and oldest sister, Vic, two of the greatest sand divers ever to comb the desert’s depths. But these branches of their family tree are long gone, disappeared into the wastes beyond, leaving the younger siblings scratching in the dust, hopeful for a better life…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Leech / Ennes, Hiron
“In an isolated chateau, as far north as north goes, the baron’s doctor has died. The doctor’s replacement has a mystery to solve: discovering how the Institute lost track of one of its many bodies. For hundreds of years the Interprovincial Medical Institute has grown by taking root in young minds and shaping them into doctors, replacing every human practitioner of medicine. The Institute is here to help humanity, to cure and to cut, to cradle and protect the species from the apocalyptic horrors their ancestors unleashed. In the frozen north, the Institute’s body will discover a competitor for its rung at the top of the evolutionary ladder…” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

“I could say things with colour and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way”: new mysteries

Image by Brigitte Werner from Pixabay

“I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way – things I had no words for.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

It is December and time for our last selection of recently acquired crime and fiction titles for 2022. And as it’s time for Christmas sales, some of the biggest names in the crime writing community have titles out, including T.V personality turned mega huge bestselling crime writing sensation Richard Osman; not to mention fabulous new titles by both Ian Rankin and Elly Griffiths, all of whom have featured heavily in many of the best of the year lists already.

And a very special mention goes Dark Deeds Down Under, a compendium of new crime stories  featuring some of Australia’s and New Zealand’s finest modern crime and mystery writers and compiled by no other than Ngaio Marsh Awards supremo Craig Sisterson. 

If you’re looking for something very different, one title that caught our attention was Light on Bone by  Kathryn Lasky; the latest celebrity detective novel to join an ever-growing genre. This time the internationally acclaimed American painter Georgia O’Keefe does the sleuthing; the tale is set in the semi desert landscape of New Mexico – the landscape that inspired so many of her wonderful and  famous paintings.

Light on bone / Lasky, Kathryn
“Kathryn Lasky has written a new adult amateur sleuth mystery set in New Mexico in the 1930s. The sleuth is Georgia O’Keefe. It begins when  she discovers the slain body of a priest in the desert. The plot includes several other murders,  an international espionage plot involving Charles Lindbergh, and lots of intricate twists and turns leading to a thoroughly unforeseen denouement. The strength of this story is how Lasky’s elegant writing captures the emotional depth of this artist’s turmoil and so stunningly reveals O’Keeffe’s perception of the landscape that moves her to paint. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The bullet that missed / Osman, Richard
“It is an ordinary Thursday, and things should finally be returning to normal. Except trouble is never far away where the Thursday Murder Club are concerned. A decade-old cold case–their favorite kind–leads them to a local news legend and a murder with no body and no answers. Then a new foe pays Elizabeth a visit. Her mission? Kill or be killed. Suddenly the cold case has become red hot. While Elizabeth wrestles with her conscience (and a gun), Joyce, Ron, and Ibrahim chase down the clues with help from old friends and new. But can the gang solve the mystery and save Elizabeth before the murderer strikes again?” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

A heart full of headstones / Rankin, Ian
“John Rebus stands accused: on trial for a crime that could put him behind bars for the rest of his life. Although it’s not the first time the legendary detective has taken the law into his own hands, it might be the last. What drove a good man to cross the line? Or have times changed, and the rules with them? Detective Inspector Siobhan Clarke faces Edinburgh’s most explosive case in years, as a corrupt cop goes missing after claiming to harbour secrets that could sink the city’s police force. But in this investigation, it seems all roads lead to Rebus–and Clarke’s twin loyalties to the public and the police will be tested to their limit. A reckoning is coming–and John Rebus may be hearing the call for last orders…” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Bleeding heart yard / Griffiths, Elly
“DS Cassie Fitzgerald has a secret but it’s one she’s deleted from her memory. In the 1990s when she was at school, she and her friends killed a fellow pupil. Thirty years later, Cassie is happily married and loves her job as a police officer. One day her husband persuades her to go to a school reunion and another ex-pupil, Garfield Rice, is found dead, supposedly from a drug overdose. As Garfield was an eminent MP and the investigation is high profile, it’s headed by Cassie’s new boss, DI Harbinder Kaur. The trouble is, Cassie can’t shake the feeling that one of her old friends has killed again. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Dark deeds down under
“This crime and thriller anthology, from Clan Destine Press, showcases the breadth and depth of modern Australian and New Zealand crime writing in a collection of brand-new short stories from some of our brightest storytelling talents: international bestsellers, award winners, and fresh voices. Dark Deeds Down Under features some of crime fiction’s most beloved ‘characters’, including Garry Disher’s Hirsch, Kerry Greenwood’s Corinna Chapman, Vanda Symon’s Sam Shephard.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The long knives / Welsh, Irvine
“Ritchie Gulliver MP is dead. Left to bleed in an empty Leith warehouse. Vicious, racist and corrupt, many thought he had it coming. But nobody could have predicted this. After the life Gulliver has led, the suspects are many: corporate rivals, political opponents, the countless groups he’s offended. And the vulnerable and marginalised, who bore the brunt of his cruelty – those without a voice, without a choice, without a chance. As Detective Ray Lennox unravels the truth, and the list of brutal attacks grows, he must put his personal feelings aside. But one question refuses to go away… Who are the real victims here?”  (Adapted from Catalogue)
Marple : twelve new stories
“A brand-new collection of short stories featuring the Queen of Mystery’s legendary detective Jane Marple, penned by 12 remarkable best-selling and acclaimed authors. This collection of 12 original short stories, all featuring Jane Marple, will introduce the character to a whole new generation. Each author reimagines Agatha Christie’s Marple through their own unique perspective while staying true to the hallmarks of a traditional mystery … ” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

The King Arthur case : a Brittany mystery / Bannalec, Jean-Luc
“The forest of Broceliande, with its picturesque lakes and castles, is the last remnant of the fairy kingdom, if Breton lore is to be believed. Innumerable legends spanning thousands of years are set here, including the tale of King Arthur and the Round Table. It seems to be an appropriate destination for Commissaire Dupin and his team to take a late summer field trip. But when the body of a historian turns up, Dupin is called upon to investigate the brutal murder case. Before too long, there are more victims…” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

South Asian voices: Our Diwali 2022 celebration

To celebrate Diwali 2022,  Wellington City Libraries and The Cuba Press brought together some of Aotearoa’s finest award-winning writers to talk about their work.

The first of these events were held at Newtown Library on Wednesday 26 October and, with such a stellar panel involved, we thought it was fitting to record the event and create a permanent record.

The authors who took part in the Newtown  incarnation were.

Brannavan Gnanalingam – (Winner Best Novel prize at the Ngaio Marsh Awards and shortlisted for the 2021 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.) Brannavan Gnanalingam is also a lawyer and the author of seven novels, three of which have been listed for the Ockham NZ Book Awards. His latest novel is Slow Down, You’re Here.

Rijula Das – Rijula Das is an author and translator and the programmer for Verb Readers and Writers Festival. She received a PhD in Creative Writing in Singapore and her debut novel A Death in Shonagachhi was published in India where it won the Tata Literature Live! First Book Award. It is being published this year in USA and elsewhere as Small Deaths.

Rajorshi Chakraborti – Rajorshi Chakraborti was born in Kolkata and grew up there and in Mumbai, and now lives in Wellington with his family. He has published six novels and a collection of short fiction – The Man Who Would Not See was longlisted for the Ockham NZ Book Awards and his latest novel is Shakti.

Sudha Rao – Sudha Rao was originally from South India before migrating to New Zealand. She trained in classical South Indian dance and established Dance Aotearoa New Zealand. Sudha participated in the International Bengaluru Poetry Festival in 2019 and her first collection of poems On Elephant’s Shoulders was published this year.

romesh dissanayake – romesh dissanayake is a chef, poet, writer and artist from Korea, Kazakhstan, and Sri Lanka. He is currently working on his first novel as part of an MA at the International Institute of Modern Letters.

Rupa Maitra – Rupa Maitra is a fiction writer born in New Zealand to Bengali parents. Her book of short stories, Prophecies, was published in 2019.

All these authors have very different voices, with very different things to say about language, home and belonging. All are of the highest calibre, many of whom are already multi-award-winning authors, and so this event was entertaining, stimulating and a fabulous way to celebrate Diwali.

We wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to all the authors involved and The Cuba Press for making this very special event happen.

Please Note

Adult topics of a sexual nature are discussed within this event, specifically about Calcutta’s notorious red-light district. Explicit language is also used in this context.

Slow down, you’re here / Gnanalingam, Brannavan
“Kavita is stuck in a dead-end marriage, and is juggling parenting two small kids while also being the family’s main breadwinner. When an old flame offers a week away in Waiheke, she agonises but decides to accept. When she steps onto the ferry she knows she has left her family behind – but she’s not sure for how long.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


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.”(Adapted from Catalogue)

Small Deaths / Das, Rijula
“In Calcutta’s notorious red-light district, Lalee aspires to a better life. Her unfailingly loyal client Tilu Shau has dreams too. A heady romantic and marginal novelist, Tilu is in love with the indifferent Lalee and wants to liberate her from her street life with marriage. But when a fellow sex worker and young mother is brutally murdered, the solicitous madam of the Blue Lotus invites Lalee to take the woman’s place “upstairs” as a high-end escort. The offer comes with the promise of a more lucrative life but quickly spirals into violence, corruption, and unfathomable secrets that threaten to upset the fragile stability of Lalee’s very existence. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Breach of all size : small stories on Ulysses, love and Venice
“This book bridges two anniversaries. Ulysses by James Joyce was published in 1922. Venice was founded in 421. The title Breach of All Size is Joyce’s pun on Venice landmark Bridge of Sighs but could as easily describe his sprawling modernist classic, which clocks in at 265,222 words. To celebrate both anniversaries, 36 Aotearoa writers were asked to write love stories set in Venice and inspired by words from Ulysses, but to steer the opposite course and keep them short. How short? 421 words, of course.”–Back cover.” (Catalogue)

Shakti / Chakraborti, Rajorshi
“Amid a climate of right-wing, nationalist politics, three Indian women find themselves wielding powers that match their wildest dreams. There is one catch: they come with a Faustian price.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Also available as an eBook. 


The man who would not see / Chakraborti, Rajorshi
“As children in Calcutta, Ashim and Abhay made a small mistake that split their family forever. Thirty years later, Ashim has re-entered his brother’s life, with blame and retribution on his mind. It seems nothing short of smashing Abhay’s happy home will make good the damage from the past. At least, this is what Abhay and his wife Lena are certain is happening. A brother has travelled all the way from small-town India to New Zealand bearing ancient – and false – grudges, and with the implacable objective of blowing up every part of his younger brother’s life. ” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

On elephant’s shoulders / Rao, Sudha
“With themes of longing, transition and memory, ‘On elephant’s shoulders’ explores the poet’s South Indian heritage relocated to New Zealand and tries to unlayer the complexity of the migrant experience. For Sudha this has meant experiencing the riches of a new culture and a new landscape while managing the realities of marginalisation. And ultimately a transformation into a person of the Pacific, still grounded in her family and her Hindu beliefs.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A vase and a vast sea
” This Poetry and prose collection includes contents collected from 15 years of 4th Floor journals : An island by  Rata Gordon, Blocks by  romesh dissanayake, Beloved: a timeline by  Tina Regtien , Ten years by  Kathy McVey,   That summer by Maggie Rainey-Smith,  Tuesdays by  Tim Jones , Hot cross lovers by Kristina Jensen ,  The latitude of fat by Cushla Managh,  Dear Grandmother by Renée,  Swimming by Rachel Kleinsman ,  Eclipse of the moon at Hotel St. Marie by Miriam Sagan,  Pearls by  Lynn Davidson,  Two women by Marion Jones and many others. ” ( Adapted from Catalogue)

Prophecies / Maitra, Rupa
“Rupa Maitra’s debut collection of short stories lures us into diverse worlds. Some of her stories spring from her background in music and medicine, some from her Bengali heritage – and all from a vivid imagination.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Nefarious Novels at Newtown: Now available on YouTube

Recently at our Newtown Library we had the  rare opportunity to hear three of Aotearoa New Zealand’s most outstanding  crime writers: Renée, Jennifer Lane, and Anne Harré in conversation with Louise Dowdell.

This fabulous event included the  launch of two new books Renée’s new book Blood Matters and Jennifer Lane’s second novel Miracle and, to round off the trio in style, we had Anne Harré’s highly acclaimed The Leaning man.

It was a fabulous night: this very special event has now passed into the annals of the past but with the authors and publishers’ permission we were able to film the proceedings.

The very special guest panel featured:


Iconic New Zealand author Renée was born in 1929 in Napier and has so far written over twenty highly acclaimed plays — many of them works that humanise and centre working-class people and feature women in leading roles. She has also published (so far) ten fiction works including The Wild Card, which was shortlisted for the 2020 Ngaio Marsh Awards. Her latest work  is Blood Matters.

Jennifer Lane

Jennifer Lane’s debut novel, All Our Secrets, established her as an author to keep a close eye on; quickly gaining rave reviews, the book went on to win the much-coveted Best First Novel Award at the Ngaio Marsh Awards in 2018. Her second novel Miracle has just been released.

Anne Harré

Anne Harré’s debut novel The Leaning Man is a gripping, suspenseful page-turning thrill ride of a book (you are very likely to stay up very late to see what happens next). It is set in our very own windy Wellington and in some respects is a love letter to the city with its perfectly visualised, vivid, and evocative descriptions of the capital. And to top it all, one of the locations in the book is our very own Te Awe Library, with accompanying fictional librarian. The book gathered glowing reviews from the likes of  The Listener and The Dominion Post, as well as RNZ.

Renée, Jennifer Lane, and Anne Harré were interviewed by Wellington City Libraries’ very own Louise Dowdell.

We wish to extend our most heartfelt thanks to authors Renée, Jennifer Lane, Anne Harré, Mary McCallum  and The Cuba Press for making this very special and totally unmissable event happen .

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

Blood Matters / Renée
“Puti loves to run, but she  doesn’t feel safe anymore – especially when she discovers her grandfather has been murdered with a Judas mask on his face  and another mask has gone missing. She’s also  the guardian of ten-year-old Bella Rose, who wants to be a private investigator when she grows up.  Puti and Bella Rose try to solve the murders and who took the mask.” ( Adapted from Catalogue)


Miracle / Lane, Jennifer
“Born in the middle of Australia’s biggest-ever earthquake, Miracle is fourteen when her world crumbles. Thanks to her dad’s new job at Compassionate Cremations — which falls under suspicion for Boorunga’s spate of sudden deaths — the entire town turns against their family. She fears for her agoraphobic mother, and for her angelic, quake-damaged brother, Julian. When Oli plays a cruel trick on Miracle, he sets off a chain of devastating events. Then her dad is arrested for a brutal attack. How can she convince the town of her dad’s innocence?” ( Adapted from Catalogue)

The leaning man / Harré, Anne
“Wellington. The land dips and rolls, the wind has a life of its own. It’s Saturday night down on the wharf. Celebrations are in full swing for the Westons’ fortieth wedding anniversary. Their daughter Stella has returned from London to attend. She’s now a private investigator in London, reduced to filming errant husbands for court cases. She doesn’t want to be home. Later that night her best friend Teri is found dead in a lane in the central city. Her phone is missing. It looks like suicide, but Stella won’t believe it. The race is on between those who want the phone, the homeless man who’s pocketed it, and Stella.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The wild card / Renée
“Ruby Palmer has been dealt a rough hand. She was left in a kete at the back door of the Porohiwi Home for Children when she was a baby, and then at seven she discovered that Betty – who stopped the bad stuff happening to Ruby at the Home – has drowned. Now in her thirties, Ruby suspects her friend was murdered – her only lead is a notebook that uses the symbols on playing cards to tell a story she can’t understand, but there are other clues too. As Ruby goes deeper into the mystery of Betty’s death she starts to find answers to questions about herself that she hadn’t dared ask before.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

All our secrets / Lane, Jennifer
“A girl called Gracie. A small town called Coongahoola with the dark Bagooli River running through it. The River Children – born in the aftermath of the infamous River Picnic. They begin to go missing, one after another. Gracie Barrett is the naively savvy spokesperson for her chaotic family, for the kids who are taken, for the lurking fear that locks down the town and puts everyone under suspicion. Coongahoola is where hope and fear collide, where tender adolescence is confronted by death, where kindness is a glimmer of light  in the dark.”(Adapted from Catalogue)

These two hands / Renée
“Renee Paule lives in Otaki and teaches her Your Life, Your Story and her Poem a Week workshops there. This is just one version of her life, her story, told in patches, like a quilt.” ( Adapted from Catalogue)



Wednesday to come : trilogy / Renée
“‘Wednesday to come’ (a play for 6 women and 2 men) shows the effect of the Great Depression on four generations of women from the same family. In ‘Pass it on’ (a play for 3 women and 3 men) the teenager Jeannie from ‘Wednesday to come’ is now a young woman in her 30s dealing with the 1951 Waterfront Lockout. The final play in the trilogy goes back in time to life in Victorian Dunedin: ‘Jeannie once’ (a play for 6 women and 3 men) looks at this world through the eyes of Jeannie’s great-grandmother, Granna in ‘Wednesday to come’.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


Year’s Best Aotearoa New Zealand Science Fiction and Fantasy: Interview with editor Emily Brill-Holland

One of Aotearoa’s most essential annual fiction anthologies (and an excellent way to spot the rising stars of the genre) is the wonderful,  award-winning Year’s Best Aotearoa New Zealand Science Fiction & Fantasy (now in its fourth  volume).

As always, the fourth instalment of the annual treat for science fiction and fantasy fans highlights and draws attention to the good and the great, the established and the newly arrived, and continues to provide a fabulous platform and spotlight for the wide variety of talent and diversity in Aotearoa.

This year’s anthology is a fantastic and phantasmagorical collection of the weirdest, wildest, and most wonderful short fiction to come out of Aotearoa in 2022.

Including contributions from Andi C Buchanan, Anuja Mitra, James Rowland, Juliet Marillier, Kirsteen Ure, M. Darusha Wehm, Melanie Harding-Shaw, Nat Baker, Octavia Cade, Rem Wigmore, Samantha Lane Murphy and Tehnuka.

With all this in mind, we decided to interview the editor of this year’s instalment of the series Emily Brill-Holland and ask her a few questions about the anthology.

We wish to extend our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to Emily  for taking the time out of her busy schedule and “brave lightning Storms” to answer our questions, and for providing such an illuminating insight into her world and work. For more information about the anthology, check out the Paper Road Press website.

This interview was done in conjunction with Caffeine and Aspirin, the arts and entertainment review show on Radioactive FM. You can hear the full interview below:

Links to borrow the various anthologies from the library can also be found below.

Year’s best Aotearoa New Zealand science fiction & fantasy. VI
“Collected together for the first time, the very best science fiction and fantasy short stories published by New Zealand authors in 2018″–Publisher information.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.



Year’s best Aotearoa New Zealand science fiction & fantasy. V2
“Ancient myths go high-tech a decade after the New New Zealand Wars. Safe homes and harbours turn to strangeness within and without.Splintered selves come together again – or not. Twelve authors. Thirteen stories. The best short science fiction and fantasy from Aotearoa New Zealand in 2019. With works by: Juliet Marillier, Nic Low, Rem Wigmore, Andi C Buchanan, Octavia Cade, A.J. Fitzwater, Nicole Tan, Melanie Harding-Shaw, Alisha Tyson, James Rowland, Zoë Meager, and Casey Lucas.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Year’s Best Aotearoa New Zealand science fiction and fantasy, V3
“When borders closed last year, Kiwi science fiction and fantasy took readers on flights of imagination through space and time. This anthology contains a selection of the best short science fiction and fantasy stories published by Aotearoa New Zealand writers in 2020.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.



Year’s best Aotearoa New Zealand science fiction & fantasy. v. 4
“Contents : Introduction. I will teach you magic by Andi C. Buchanan,  A thorn in your side by M. Darusha Wehm, Rabbit by Samantha Lane Murphy ,  Clutch, stick, shift by Tehnuka, Plague year by Anuja Mitra,  Basil and the wild by Rem Wigmore,  Data migration by  Melanie Harding-Shaw, Domestic goddess  by Kirsteen Ure,  Below salt-heavy tides by Andi C. Buchanan,  The women who didn’t win Nobels, and how world trees are not a substitute by Octavia Cade, Why we make monsters by  Rem Wigmore,  Interview with the sole refugee from the A303 Incident by James Rowland, Last Bird Island by  Nat Baker and Washing the plaid by Juliet Marillier.” ( Adapted from Catalogue)