Robert B Parker, crime novelist dies

The prolific, bestselling American crime novelist Robert B Parker has died aged 77.

He received his Masters degree in English Literature in 1957 and began working in advertising, followed by a PhD in English literature from Boston University.  Leaving academia, he became a teacher. His first novel was published in 1971 and he became a full time writer in 1979, with by then, five published novels. He is best known for his Spenser novels, about a tough street wise private investigator. There have been 38 published novels in this series – Promised Land, his fourth Spenser novel received the Best Novel Award in 1977. Parker also developed four other character-based series including a western series. Appaloosa, published in 2005 was recently released as a motion picture. He also wrote some young adult fiction and several works of non-fiction. Brimstone, published in 2009, is the most recent novel received by Wellington City Libraries.

Miep Gies dies

Miep Gies, who helped Anne Frank hide, died January 11 at the age of 100. She was the last survivor of a small group of people who helped the Jewish family hide from the Nazis during World War II. It was Miep who found Anne’s diary after the family’s hiding place was discovered and they were deported to concentration camps. She never read the diary and kept it for safe keeping and handed it to Anne’s father Otto after the war.

Ada Nally, WCL’s Multicultural Customer Specialist said on hearing of Gies’ death

I will never forget my school trip as a ten year old to the secret annex. Anne’s description of her hiding place came alive as we passed the bookcase which hid the staircase leading to Anne’s living areas. The pictures of famous Hollywood movie stars at that time are still on her bedroom wall. I have read Anne’s diary several times and still prefer to read it in Dutch.

Did you know that the most popular tourist attraction in Amsterdam is not the museum, the canals or dare I say the red light district? It is the Anne Frank museum.

The Anne Frank exhibition will tour New Zealand this year, starting at Te Papa in February. For more details: www.annefrankexhibition.co.nz

Anne Frank’s story to the world is a warning of the dangers of anti-Semitism, racism and discrimination, and is an assertion of the values of freedom, equal rights and democracy. Wellington City Libraries holds several copies of the diary and other books about Anne Frank, including Anne Frank Remembered by Miep Gies –  click on the links to the left for details.

March 21 is Race Relations Day and Wellington City Libraries will host a festival of cultures at Johnsonville library, book displays and continue with Earth People at several libraries. For more information visit our Earth people blog in February and March. The theme this year is: “It’s About Us: Whanau”.