Dark deeds and fresh blood: 2022 Ngaio Marsh Award longlist revealed

The Ngaio Marsh Awards celebrate literary excellence in crime, mystery and thriller writing. This year’s longlist has just been announced — and what a fabulous and varied shortlist it is!

Composite graphic of covers of all the shortlisted titles

Included amongst its illustrious ranks we have novels set in Renaissance Florence,  1930s Singapore, New York City, and 1990s Auckland — with many established authors sitting alongside debut writers. The diversity of tropes, characters, styles, and settings is truly thrilling!

Now  in its twelfth year, The Ngaio Marsh Awards are, as always, a terrific showcase of exciting and innovative Aotearoa New Zealand storytelling that is truly world class. The finalists for both the Best Novel and Best First Novel categories will be announced in early August, and then the finalists will be celebrated and winners announced as part of a special event at this year’s WORD Christchurch Festival, to be held from 31 August to 4 September 2022.

Longlist for this year’s Best Novel prize:

About the longlisted titles:


City of vengeance / Bishop, D. V. 
“Florence. Winter, 1536. A prominent Jewish moneylender is murdered in his home, a death with wide implications in a city powered by immense wealth. Cesare Aldo, a former soldier and now an officer of the Renaissance city’s most feared criminal court, is given four days to solve the murder: catch the killer before the feast of Epiphany, or suffer the consequences. During his investigations Aldo uncovers a plot to overthrow the volatile ruler of Florence, Alessandro de’ Medici. If the Duke falls, it will endanger the whole city. …” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Also available as an eBook.

Before you knew my name / Bublitz, Jacqueline
“Dead girls don’t usually get to tell their story, but Alice Lee has always been a different type of girl. When she arrives in New York on her eighteenth birthday, carrying nothing but $600 cash and a stolen Leica in her bag, Alice is a plucky teenager looking to start a new life away from her dark past. Now she’s ‘Jane Doe’, ‘Riverside Jane’, an unidentified body on a slab at City Morgue…” (Catalogue)

Also available as an eBook.

The quiet people / Cleave, Paul
“Cameron and Lisa Murdoch are successful crime-writers. They have been on the promotional circuit, joking that no-one knows how to get away with crime like they do. After all, they write about it for a living. So when their 7 year old son Zach goes missing, naturally the police and the public wonder if they have finally decided to prove what they have been saying all this time – are they trying to show how they can commit the perfect crime?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Also available as an eBook.

To the sea / Crutchley, Nikki
“Keep a secret. Tell a lie. Protect the family. At all costs. A compulsively readable suspense thriller which will keep guessing and keep you up late into the night. Iluka has been the only home that 18-year-old Ana has ever known. The beautiful wild pine plantation overlooking the Pacific Ocean where her grandfather builds furniture, her aunt runs an artists’ retreat and her uncle tends the land, is paradise, a private idyll safe from the outside world. But the place holds a violent secret and when a stranger arrives, Ana will need to make a choice – to protect everything – and everyone – she holds dear – or tell the truth and destroy it all. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Also available as an eBook.

Overdrive coverPolaroid Nights , Lizzie Harwood (ebook)
“Auckland city bars, 1996, when the click / whirr of a Polaroid 600 proved you were living your best life. Betty’s is on repeat: waitress till late, drink till dawn, in bed to forget. But partying like there’s no tomorrow is no fix for the problems crowding in. When her ex is murdered and left in her bed, Betty and her flatmate Alabama turn to the bar world to find out who did it. Was it the Psychic – or someone closer?” (Overdrive description)

Isobar precinct / Kasmara, Angelique
“Lestari Aris is a woman on the edge. Her tattoo studio on Karangahape Road is hammered by burglaries; the hangers-on in her life, from a teenage runaway to a married cop, are bonded to her for reasons she can’t fathom. And years after Lestari’s father disappeared, her Indonesian mother is still lost in a self-medicated blur. When a murder in Symonds Street Cemetery whirls Lestari into the orbit of an unpredictable drug, she uncovers a decades-long covert clinical study targeting rough sleepers and others on the fringes – and its dark connections with her own life and history. Everything is connected: the past is circling. How far will Lestari go to save someone she loves? ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Also available as an eBook.

Nancy business / McDonald, R. W. R. 
“It’s been four months since Tippy, Uncle Pike and Devon were together for Christmas. Now back for the first anniversary of Tippy’s father’s death, the Nancys are reformed when Riverstone is rocked by an early morning explosion that kills three people and destroys the town hall. A new case is born. Is the accused bomber really guilty? Is there a second bomber? And if so, does that mean a threat to destroy Riverstone Bridge is real? And is asparagus a colour? Once again, it is up to the Nancys to go against the flow and ignore police orders to get to the truth. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Also available as an eBook

She’s a killer / McDougall, Kirsten 
“The world’s climate is in crisis and New Zealand is being divided and reshaped by privileged immigrant wealthugees. Thirty-something Alice has a near-genius IQ and lives at home with her mother with whom she communicates by Morse code. Alice’s imaginary friend, Simp, has shown up, with a running commentary on her failings. But then she meets Erika – an actual genius full of terrifying ambition. It’s about what happens when we refuse to face our most demanding problems, told by a woman who is a strange and calculating force of chaos.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The last guests / Pomare, J. P.
“What do you do when you think no one is watching? Lina and Cain are doing their best to stay afloat. Money has been tight since Cain returned from active duty, and starting a family is proving harder than they thought. Putting Lina’s inherited lakehouse on Airbnb seems like the solution to at least one of their problems. The secluded house is more of a burden than a retreat, anyway, and fixing up the old place makes Cain feel useful for once. But letting strangers stay in their house might not be the best idea. Someone is watching – their most mundane tasks, their most intimate moments – and what they see will change everything.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The devils you know / Sanders, Ben
“Vincent needs a change. He’s spent the last fifteen years in covert operations for the U.S. government, but after a botched and fatal mission, he decides he’s done with pulling triggers for shadowy officialdom. He wants a rest from the violence. Vincent accepts a job in Santa Barbara, California, as head of security for supermarket mogul Eugene Lamar. It’s perfect: his main duty is driving the boss to and from golf, which means ample down-time for surfing, or sitting by the pool contemplating life – and how to live it with a zero body-count. He’s intrigued too by Lamar’s daughter .  And can Vincent keep her safe from the brutal characters who are after her father? …” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Also available as an eBook.

Quiet in her bones / Singh, Nalini 
“When socialite Nina Rai disappeared without a trace, everyone wrote it off as another trophy wife tired of her wealthy husband. But now her bones have turned up in the shadowed green of the forest that surrounds her elite neighborhoods, a haven of privilege and secrets that’s housed the same influential families for decades. The rich live here, along with those whose job it is to make their lives easier. And some body knows what happened to Nina one rainy night ten years ago. Her son Aarav heard a chilling scream that night, and he’s determined to uncover the ugly truth that lives beneath the moneyed elegance . . . ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Announced: the longlist for the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction

The longlist for the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction (the fiction element of The Ockham New Zealand Book Awards)  has just been announced.  And as always it reflects the rich, diverse, and vibrant literary scene in New Zealand. In this blog we are going to take a very quick look at the ten fiction contenders, but we strongly recommend a close look at the equally excellent Non-Fiction categories.

In the longlist this year we have…

Gigi Fenster’s A Good Winter; a gripping dark and, in some respects, demanding thriller set in an apartment block among a group of women. The novel was initially abandoned by the author who said “The lead character took over the work in not-so-good ways.’ Gigi eventually submitted it to and won the Michael Gifkins prize. Aljce in Therapy Land by Alice Tawhai is the debut novel from the acclaimed short story writer. Online relationships, stoned characters and logic, workplace bullying, quantum physics all overlayed with aspects of Alice in Wonderland in this smart, funny, and complex work.  Entanglement by Bryan Walpert is a multi-layered, multi-faceted work that weaves big ideas about the nature of existence and time into the integral fabric of the plot, whilst also being very personal about the characters’ inner lives. In Stephanie Johnson’s Everything Changes the central characters buy a rundown motel as a way of restarting their lives in this moving and funny work. A brother and sister from a Māori-Russian-Catalonian family negotiate the stormy waters of modern romance, largely from the Auckland apartment they share, in Greta & Valdin by Rebecca K Reilly, described by one reviewer as “part Shakespeare, part Wes Anderson”.

In Whiti Hereaka’s Kurangaituku a part bird, part woman central character “the Kurangaituku” retells her life from her inception till her death and beyond. This mythological tale is about love, in both its destructive and creative aspects. Sue Orr’s Loop Tracks is set in two time periods; the late 1970’s in Auckland and 2019 in Wellington, and centres around young sixteen-year-old Charlie’s choices and decisions in 1978, and how they flow into her 2019 future.  She’s a Killer by Kirsten McDougall is set in the very near future in New Zealand where the effects of climate change are really beginning to bite and affect both our physical world but also our society in this sharp and darkly funny work. Confidence tricksters, compulsive liars and jumbled up childhood memories all feature in Emma Neale’s excellent first collection of short stories Pink Jumpsuit: short fictions, tall truths. And to round up the list is Clare Moleta’s Unsheltered; a powerful tale of a woman’s search for her daughter set against a background of destructive weather and social disintegration.

As always there are several novels that might have made the cut but didn’t,  the most notable being  Jacqueline Bublitz’s wonderful Before You Knew My Name.

We have also had the recent pleasure of having Kirsten McDougall in conversation with Rajorshi Chakraborti and interviewing Bryan Walpert  about their nominated books; you can watch these interviews at the end of this blog.

A good winter. / Fenster, Gigi
“I looked after Lara. We both looked after Sophie and her baby. We had to. It’s not like Sophie was going to look after that baby herself. All she was interested in was weeping and wailing for her dead husband. She was so busy weeping and wailing for her dead husband that she rejected his baby who was right in front of her. When Olga’s friend Lara becomes a grandmother, Olga helps out whenever she can. After all, it’s a big imposition on Lara, looking after her bereaved daughter and the baby. And the new mother is not exactly considerate. But smoldering beneath Olga’s sensible support and loving generosity is a deep jealous need to be the centre of Lara’s attention and affection—a need that soon becomes a consuming, dangerous and ultimately tragic obsession.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook. 

Aljce in therapy land / Tawhai, Alice
“On her first day the sky had a salmon tint to it; after the rain, and before the cloud entirely cleared, as if it had been put into a washing machine with roses. Someone was probably really annoyed at the way they had run. Aljce parked in the asphalt car park outside the Therapy Hub. She was looking forward to her new job. It would be an exciting adventure with new challenges.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Entanglement / Walpert, Bryan
“A memory-impaired time traveller attempts to correct a tragic mistake he made in 1977 when, panicked, he abandoned his brother on a frozen lake in Baltimore. Decades later, in 2011, a novelist researching at the Centre for Time in Sydney becomes romantically involved with a philosopher from New Zealand. Another eight years on, and a writer at a lake retreat in New Zealand in 2019 obsesses over the disintegration of his marriage following another tragedy. Are these separate stories, or are they one? Is the time traveller actually travelling? Can the past be changed? As the answers to these questions slowly emerge, the three tales become entangled, along with the usual abstractions: love, desperation and physics.” (Catalogue)

Everything changes / Johnson, Stephanie
Buying a rundown motel to start a new life — what could possibly go wrong? In this funny and moving novel, prize-winning author Stephanie Johnson turns her wry eye on us. ‘What a fabulous read. Stephanie Johnson’s characters choose an old motel with little to offer except an amazing view in order to start a ‘new life’. Their first guests are a classic cast of the sorrowful and dysfunctional that every-day life throws at us these days.  This is her best book ever, and I loved every page of it.’ – Fiona Kidman” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Greta & Valdin / Reilly, Rebecca K
“Valdin is still in love with his ex-boyfriend Xabi, who used to drive around Auckland in a ute but now drives around Buenos Aires in one. Greta is in love with her fellow English tutor Holly, who doesn’t know how to pronounce Greta’s surname, Vladislavljevic, properly. From their Auckland apartment, brother and sister must navigate the intricate paths of modern romance as well as weather the small storms of their eccentric Māori-Russian-Catalonian family” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook. 

Kurangaituku / Hereaka, Whiti
“In the void of time, Kurangaituku, the bird-woman, tells the story of her extraordinary Life – the birds who first sang her into being, the arrival of the Song Makers and the change they brought to her world, her life with the young man Hatupatu, and her death. But death does not end a creature of imagination like Kurangaituku. In the underworlds of Rarohenga, she continues to live in the many stories she collects as she pursues what eluded her in life. This is a story of love – but is this love something that creates or destroys?” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Loop tracks / Orr, Sue
“It’s 1978: the Auckland abortion clinic has been forced to close and sixteen-year-old Charlie has to fly to Sydney, but the plane is delayed on the tarmac. It’s 2019: Charlie’s tightly contained Wellington life with her grandson Tommy is interrupted by the unexpected intrusions of Tommy’s first girlfriend, Jenna, and the father he has never known, Jim. The year turns, and everything changes again… written in real time against the progress of the Covid-19 pandemic and the New Zealand General Election and euthanasia referendum” (Adapted from Catalogue)

She’s a killer / McDougall, Kirsten
“The world’s climate is in crisis and New Zealand is being divided and reshaped by privileged immigrant wealthugees. Thirty-something Alice has a near-genius IQ and lives at home with her mother with whom she communicates by Morse code. Alice’s imaginary friend, Simp, has shown up, with a running commentary on her failings. ‘I mean, can you even calculate the square root of 762 anymore?’ The last time Simp was here was when Alice was seven, on the night a fire burned down the family home. Now Simp seems to be plotting something. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Pink jumpsuit : short fictions, tall truths / Neale, Emma
“In Emma Neale’s first collection of short fiction, the tales range from the surreal to the real; from the true to the tall. This collection includes some of her internationally recognised flash fiction and more extended examinations of the eerie gaps and odd swerves in intimate relationships. There are confidence tricksters, compulsive liars, emotional turn-coats, the pulse of jumbled childhood memory still felt in adult life, the weird metamorphosis of fantasy hardening into reality…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Unsheltered / Moleta, Clare
“Against a background of social breakdown and destructive weather, Unsheltered tells the story of a woman’s search for her daughter. Li never wanted to bring a child into a world like this but now that eight-year-old Matti is missing, she will stop at nothing to find her. As she crosses the great barren country alone and on foot, living on what she can find and fuelled by visions of her daughter just out of sight ahead, Li will have every instinct tested. She knows the odds against her: an uncompromising landscape, an uncaring system, time running out, and the risks of any encounters on the road. ” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Free book giveaway! The Empire City: Songs of Wellington by Andrew Laking

Recently author Andrew Laking very generously gifted us some free copies of his wonderful book The Empire City: songs of Wellington.

Andrew’s book traces the history of Wellington from the mid 19th century to the present day and is beautifully illustrated using photographs and specially commissioned paintings by Bob Kerr. It also contains a free C.D. featuring some of Aotearoa / New Zealand’s finest musicians including Bret McKenzie from Flight of the Conchords, Riki Gooch from Crowded House and Toby Laing from Fat Freddy’s Drop.

We only have a few copies for each branch, so this freebie offer is strictly on a first come first served basis. All you need to do to be in with a chance of picking up a free copy of this book is pop into one of our branches on Friday 22nd Oct  and look for the display of free give away copies of this fabulous title left. EASY AS.

(Limited to one copy per patron whilst stocks last. )

We wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to Andrew for his very kind donation.

The empire city : songs of Wellington / Laking, Andrew
“The Empire City traces the history of Wellington, from the middle of the 19th Century till the present day. Stories are told through song, text, paintings and photographs … The book includes a CD with original songs by Andrew Laking … The songs are given context by historical notes and illuminated through a number of previously unseen archival photos, and over 20 new paintings by Bob Kerr” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Now available to watch: Wellington writer Anne Harré in conversation with Dame Fiona Kidman

For your delight, edification, and enjoyment our very special interview with debut crime novelist and author of The Leaning Man Anne Harré in conversation with Dame Fiona Kidman.

Filmed at her publisher’s office by Wellington City Library staff. This wide-ranging interview with Anne covers The Leaning Man’s origins and creation, her love of Wellington and how Anne approaches her writing, not to mention how it feels to release your first novel.

Anne Harré’s debut novel The Leaning Man is a newly-released, 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 has already gained glowing reviews in The Listener, The Dominion Post as well as RNZ.

We wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to Anne Harré, Dame Fiona Kidman and Mary McCallum for making this interview happen. This interview was done in conjunction with The Cuba Press and Creative New Zealand.

The leaning man / Harré, Anne
“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. Once shoulder-tapped as detective material, a few bad decisions and a questionable ethical dilemma saw her leave the force under a cloud. 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.” (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.” (Catalogue)

Facebook Premiere: Wellington writer Anne Harré in conversation with Dame Fiona Kidman

Anne Harré’s debut novel The Leaning Man is a newly released, 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 both its light and darker sides.

The main protagonist in the novel is Stella; a complex, engaging, and damaged individual on a mission to get to the bottom of her friends’ mysterious death.

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 has already gained glowing reviews in The Listener, The Dominion Post as well as RNZ. So, when the opportunity arose for us to interview Anne about The Leaning Man’s origins and creation and  how Anne approaches her writing, not to mention how it feels to release your first novel, we jumped at it.

And when it was confirmed that one of the most respected and acclaimed of all our authors, Dame Fiona Kidman was to conduct the interview we were over the moon.

This exclusive interview will be premiered on our Facebook page

Sunday 17th October at 8.30

It will be available on our library social media platforms soon after. We wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to Anne Harré, Dame Fiona Kidman and Mary McCallum for making this interview happen. This interview was done in conjunction with The Cuba Press and Creative New Zealand.

The leaning man / Harré, Anne
“Wellington. The land dips and rolls, the wind has a life of its own. Dig a little deeper and the city is unforgiving and unrepentant. Forget the politicians, they’re poor amateurs in deception and crime. 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. Once shoulder-tapped as detective material, a few bad decisions and a questionable ethical dilemma saw her leave the force under a cloud. 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. Stella Weston is relentless, foul-mouthed and tenacious. She’s not above taking big risks to find the truth about her friend and the shady world she appears to have been dragged into. The race is on between those who want the phone, the homeless man who’s pocketed it, and Stella.” (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)

Interview: Both Feet in Paradise author Andy Southall

“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” – Robert Louis Stevenson.

New Zealand writer Andy Southall has just released his second novel Both Feet in Paradise.  Andy’s mysterious, compelling, suspenseful thriller is occasionally surreal and chock full of unexpected twists and turns. It is set in Samoa, and along with its other attributes, is also a love letter to the island.

Andy has already published two travelogues: One Hundred Days in Samoa and 28 Days in Sri Lanka. His debut novel Making Meredith was about an amateur genealogist traveling to the north of England hoping to research his mother’s father.

During our interview with Andy we talked about his travel writing, the processes he uses whilst creating his work and how his mentorship with Pip Adam helped him finish the book. The resulting interview is a fascinating insight into Andy’s writing practice and also a great non plot spoiler accompaniment to Both Feet in Paradise. Andy was interviewed in conjunction with Caffeine and Aspirin arts and entertainment review show on Radioactive FM.

Overdrive cover Both Feet in Paradise, Andy Southall (ebook)
“After months of researching butterflies in Sāmoa, Adam is looking forward to returning home to his family. Then his transfer to the airport doesn’t arrive. Worse, a hastily arranged taxi takes him not to departures but an empty field in the middle of nowhere, and he misses his flight. As he fails to find alternative ways off the island – other flights, ferries, even seagoing yachts – he grows increasingly frustrated, especially as all overseas phone lines and emails seem to be down as well. In a café, he meets Eve, who offers to help him. Adam decides he has to trust her, for there is no one else. Yet he has a strange feeling he’s met her before …” (Adapted Overdrive description)

The Only Living Lady Parachutist: interview with author Catherine Clarke

Image of Leila Adair during her tour of Aotearoa New Zealand in 1894,
courtesy of Palmerston North City Library

The Only Living Lady Parachutist is a remarkable novel by Catherine Clarke based in fact about aerial acrobat daredevil, Lillian (aka Leila Adair). Leila was a smoke balloonist who was billed on flyers of the time as ‘The Aerial Queen’; she toured New Zealand in 1894 and her performance included aerial acrobatics followed by death-defying parachute jumps from her balloon.  A risky endeavour at the best of times, and one that was often fraught with danger. Catherine’s book takes much of the historical information available about Leila and turns it into a compelling, fascinating, fictional page-turner of a read.

As well as being a compulsive read, the book is a fascinating insight into New Zealand and the wider world of the time, not to mention society’s perceptions of pioneering daredevil women who pushed the boundaries of what was perceived as acceptable for the time.

So, for your delight and edification, this is our exclusive, in-depth interview with Catherine Clarke, where she talks about her novel in detail, the fascinating historical and societal context behind aerial acrobats of the time, her research methods and a whole host of other topics. For anyone interested in New Zealand history, or how to create captivating historical based fiction, the interview is unmissable.

Continue reading “The Only Living Lady Parachutist: interview with author Catherine Clarke”

Literary Magic at the Verb Festival

We’re excited to see that our good friends at Verb have just announced the details of their eighth annual festival!

This year’s festival takes place between 3-7 November and includes the ever-popular LitCrawl on Saturday 6 November. For inspiration, this year the Verb team have chosen the theme of “Coven” to explore ideas of community, magic and circles of knowledge both ancient and new.

You Can get Full programme details (including how to book) by clicking here. Specific LitCrawl details can be found here.

To get you in the right place to enjoy the many magical treats on offer, we have a wide range of related books. Below is just a small selection of those titles:

Surrealist Sisters: Writers Respond: Sunday, 31 October, 2pm Te Papa – Te Marae, Level 4 (Free event). Click here for event details and to book.

Women artists and the surrealist movement / Chadwick, Whitney
“This pioneering book stands as the most comprehensive treatment of the lives, ideas and art works of the remarkable group of women who were an essential part of the Surrealist movement.” (Catalogue)


Aroha: Hinemoa Elder: Sunday, 7 November, 2:30pm – 3:30pm National Library of New Zealand, Auditorium | Taiwhanga Kauhau. Click here for event details and to book.

Aroha : Māori wisdom for a contented life lived in harmony with our planet / Elder, Hinemoa
“Ki te kotahi te kakaho ka whati, ki te kapuia, e kore e whati. When we stand alone we are vulnerable but together we are unbreakable. Discover traditional Māori philosophy through 52 whakataukī – simple, powerful life lessons, one for every week. Each one is retold by respected Māori psychiatrist Dr Hinemoa Elder to show how we can live a less stressful daily life, with more contentment and kindness for each other and the planet.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


Fresh Ink: Friday, 5 November, 1:00pm – 2:00 pm St Peter’s on Willis. Click here for event details and to book.

Auē / Manawatu, Becky
“Taukiri was born into sorrow. Auē can be heard in the sound of the sea he loves and hates, and in the music he draws out of the guitar that was his father’s. It spills out of the gang violence that killed his father and sent his mother into hiding, and the shame he feels about abandoning his eight-year-old brother to another violent home. But Arama is braver than he looks, and he has a friend and his friend has a dog, and the three of them together might just be strong enough to turn back the tide of sorrow.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Political Fiction: Saturday, 6 November 6:00pm – 6:45pm Meow, 9 Edward Street. Click here for event details and to book.

She’s a killer. / McDougall, Kirsten

” Kirsten McDougall’s latest novel is a brilliant new speculative  fiction  climate change  novel set in Wellington in a very believable and near future ”

( Adapted from Catalogue)

 

Silence Is…: Saturday, 6 November, 6:00pm – 6:45pm St Peter’s on Willis. Click here for event details and to book.

Tōku pāpā / Solly, Ruby
“‘This book sings a song of connection and disconnection. It moves between the light and the dark as all living things must, and it stretches back to our ancestors and forward to our descendants, while exploring the difficulties of loving those who we should be closest to. This is a searching and generous collection of toikupu that slow time to a trickle…’ — essa may ranapiri.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


Nature Cure: A Forager’s Treasury with Johanna Knox: Friday, 22 October 2021, 6:00pm – 7:30pm, The Innermost Gardens  31 Lawson Place. Click here for event details and to book.

The forager’s treasury : the essential guide to finding and using wild plants in Aotearoa / Knox, Johanna
“A New Zealand guide to the art of foraging – a comprehensive guide to finding sustainable, free and fascinating plants.” (Catalogue)


A Clear Dawn: Wednesday, 3 November, 6:00pm – 7:00pm, Meow, 9 Edward Street. Click here for event details and to book.

A clear dawn : new Asian voices from Aotearoa New Zealand
“This landmark collection of poetry, fiction and essays is the first-ever anthology of Asian New Zealand creative writing. A Clear Dawn presents an extraordinary new wave of creative talent. With roots stretching from Indonesia to Japan, from China to the Philippines to the Indian subcontinent, the authors in this anthology range from high school students to retirees, from recent immigrants to writers whose families have lived in New Zealand for generations.” (Catalogue)


What We Talk About When We Think About the Future: Saturday, 6 November, 8:30pm-9:15pm, St Peter’s on Willis, 211 Willis Street. Click here for event details and to book.

Reading the signs / Freegard, Janis
“The poems in Janis Freegard’s new collection take their starting point from the poet’s daily ritual of reading the tea leaves while writing in the Ema Saiko room in the Wairarapa. This leads to unexpected discoveries about the world around her, from spider visitors to the writing room and a papyrus-fine gecko skin in the nearby wildlife sanctuary, to news of the ancient bdelloid rotifers that defy natural disasters and the recently extinct amphibians that did not.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The 2021 Ngaio Marsh Awards Shortlist

“Above all things — read. Read the great stylists who cannot be copied rather than the successful writers who must not be copied.”
― Ngaio Marsh, Death on the Air and Other Stories

The shortlist for this year’s Ngaio Marsh Awards has just been announced and what a powerful and diverse shortlist it is.  Included amongst its illustrious ranks we have Brannavan Gnanalingam’s Sprigs, the debut novel sensation The Girl in the Mirror by Rose Carlyle, which already has its film rights snapped up by Hollywood, and a whole host of other stunning works.

The Ngaio Marsh Awards began in 2010 with an aim to recognise and proclaim excellence in New Zealand mystery, crime, and thriller writing. It is presented to the best novel, best first novel, best nonfiction work, and this year a whole new category has been launched for novels for younger readers. Each of the books in all the categories need to have been published the preceding year.

We wish to extend our congratulations to all this year’s nominees and we don’t envy the judges’ task in selecting the final winners.

Best Nonfiction (biennial):

Weed: A New Zealand story (James Borrowdale)

Rock College: An unofficial history of Mount Eden Prison (Mark Derby)

From Dog Collar to Dog Collar (Bruce Howat)

Gangland (Jared Savage)

Black Hands: Inside the Bain family murders (Martin Van Beynen)

 

Inaugural Prize for Novel for Younger Readers:

Katipo Joe (Brian Falkner)

Red Edge (Des Hunt)

A Trio of Sophies (Eileen Merriman)

Deadhead (Glenn Wood)

 

Best Novel:

The murder club / Crutchley, Nikki
“When the first letter arrives saying that ‘tonight it begins’, journalist Miller Hatcher ignores it. But then the body of a murdered woman is discovered, strangled, a scarf around her neck. Cassie Hughes has always vowed to find the man who murdered her mother. Cassie knows he’s out there and wants him to pay, and Miller agrees to bring the cold case back into the public’s eye. Logan Dodds has been obsessed with true crime ever since his sister was murdered thirty years ago. He has turned his obsession into a career and has created the True Crime Enthusiasts Club and his newest venture, True Crime Tours.” (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)

The tally stick / Nixon, Carl
“Up on the highway, the only evidence that the Chamberlains had ever been there was two smeared tyre tracks in the mud leading into the almost undamaged screen of bushes and trees. No other cars passed that way until after dawn. By that time the tracks had been washed away by the heavy rain . . . It was a magic trick. After being in the country for only five days, the Chamberlain family had vanished into the air. The date was 4 April 1978. In 2010 the remains of the eldest Chamberlain child have been discovered in a remote part of the West Coast, showing he lived for four years after the family disappeared. Found alongside him are his father’s watch and what turns out to be a tally stick, a piece of wood scored across, marking items of debt. How had he survived and then died? Where was the rest of his family? And what is the meaning of the tally stick?”–Publisher information.” (Catalogue)

The secrets of strangers / Norman, Charity
“Five strangers, one cafe – and the day that everything changed. A regular weekday morning veers drastically off-course for a group of strangers whose paths cross in a London cafe – their lives never to be the same again when an apparently crazed gunman holds them hostage. But there is more to the situation than first meets the eye and as the captives grapple with their own inner demons, the line between right and wrong starts to blur. Will the secrets they keep stop them from escaping with their lives?” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Tell me lies / Pomare, J. P.
“Psychologist Margot Scott has a picture-perfect life: a nice house in the suburbs, a husband, two children and a successful career. On a warm spring morning Margot approaches one of her clients on a busy train platform. He is looking down at his phone, with his duffel bag in hand as the train approaches. That’s when she slams into his back and he falls in front of the train. Margot’s clients all lie to her, but one lie cost her family and freedom.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Best First Novel:

The girl in the mirror / Carlyle, Rose
“Identical twins only look the same … Beautiful twin sisters Iris and Summer are startlingly alike, but beyond what the eye can see lies a darkness that sets them apart. Cynical and insecure, Iris has long been envious of open-hearted Summer’s seemingly never-ending good fortune, including her perfect husband Adam. Called to Thailand to help sail the family yacht to the Seychelles, Iris nurtures her own secret hopes for what might happen on the journey. But when she unexpectedly finds herself alone in the middle of the Indian Ocean, everything changes. Now is her chance to take what she’s always wanted – the idyllic life she’s always coveted. But just how far will she go to get the life she’s dreamed about? And how will she make sure no one discovers the truth?” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Where the truth lies / Kilmore, Karina
“When investigative journalist Chrissie O’Brian lands a senior job at The Argus, she is desperate to escape the nightmares of her past. Her life has become a daily battle to resist numbing the pain. But her job is something she can do better than anyone else – and the only thing that keeps the memories at bay. A face-off on the waterfront between the unions and big business is just the kind of story to get her career back on track. But after a dockworker who confided in her turns up dead, Chrissie becomes obsessed with unravelling the truth. When a gruesome threat lands on her desk, it’s clear someone is prepared to do anything to stop her.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook

For reasons of their own / Stuart, Chris
“Robbie Gray, a talented but troubled Detective Inspector stationed in Melbourne, who has fallen foul of police bureaucracy, is called to a investigate a dead body found in a rural wetland swamp. Under-resourced, with a corpse that cannot be identified and no apparent motive for the murder, she fails to make headway. The Federal Police take over the investigation and ASIO becomes involved, focusing on a terrorism angle. Convinced they are misinterpreting the evidence, or worse, DI Gray begins her own investigation assisted by a young Aboriginal policeman….” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Also on the list is  The Beautiful Dead by Kim Hunt and While the Fantail Lives by Alan Titchall.

Library Lockdown Distractions: WCL podcast series

 

Turn It Up Movie GIF

In this series of blogs, we want to focus on some small element of our fabulous resources and in this blog, we would like to place the spotlight on our very own podcast collection, which features a wide diversity of recordings made especially by the library, often in conjunction with partners.

The recordings vary in length from 15 mins to an hour; from concise, in-depth one to one interviews with award winning authors, to recordings of some of our many and diverse public events. They include a wide range of content: African poetry readings to Ngaio Marsh mystery fiction panels to Comicfest panels and beyond.  Click here to access the full list but for a small taster of what we have on offer just look below. Perfect long or short term lockdown distractions.