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Reading, Wellington, and whatever else – teenblog@wcl.govt.nz

Tag: new zealand authors

Poetry is extremely cool, OK?

If you’ve visited our blog recently, you’ll know that we are now accepting submissions for Tūhono, Wellington City Libraries’ poetry journal for kids and teens. You have until the 14th of November to submit, and more info about that can be found here.

Note: Submissions for Tūhono 2021 are now closed. Thank you to everyone who submitted.

Perhaps you would like to start writing/reading poetry, but you’re not sure where to start? Maybe you’ve never been introduced to poetry that was written after, I don’t know, Netflix stopped sending PHYSICAL DVDS IN THE ACTUAL MAIL. The sad truth is that the poetry taught in schools is old, dusty and almost always about landscapes for some reason. Don’t get me wrong, I love a poem about the hills being cool, but sometimes it’s easier to jump into poetry that speaks more about the here and now.

With that in mind, to inspire any future poets out there, here’s a selection of poems to enjoy! 

All my plants are dead and I’m pretty sure it’s your fault – Dani Yourukova

Can I Still Come Crash at Yours? – Tayi Tibble

Icarus – Kate Tempest

Gremlin in sundress – Rebecca Hawkes

Wormhole – Sinead Overbye

Spacious Family Home ($960 PW) – Rhys Feeney

An-odúne – Liam Hinton

The ordinary poem – Ursula Robinson-Shaw

jasmine – Emily Zuberec

in the end we are humanlike (Blade Runner 2049) – Nina Mingya Powles

Drokpa – Cynthia Miller

My Brother at 3 A.M – Natalie Diaz

to the notebook kid – Eve L. Ewing

Now get writing those poems! Here are some books on writing, if you need some ideas to get you going 🙂


The exercise book : creative writing exercises from Victoria University’s Institute of Modern Letters
“Contains writing prompts to help beginning writers and to help tackle writer’s block. In between are exercises from a host of New Zealand and international writers that explore the nuts and bolts of craft – in poetry, fiction and scriptwriting – along with others that tap into sources of inspiration or show the value of revision and editing.” (Catalogue)


Steering the craft : exercises and discussions on story writing for the lone navigator or the mutinous crew / Le Guin, Ursula K.
“One of the great writers of the twentieth century offers an exhilarating workout for writers of narrative fiction or nonfiction. With her sharp mind and wit and a delightful sense of playfulness, Le Guin has turned a successful workshop into a self-guided voyage of discovery for a writer working alone, a writing group, or a class. Steering the Craft is concerned with the basic elements of narrative: how a story is told, what moves it and what clogs it. This book does not plod through plot, character, beginning-middle-and-end. Nor does it discuss writing as self-expression, as therapy, or as spiritual adventure. Each topic includes examples that clarify and exercises that intensify awareness of the techniques of storytelling.” (Catalogue)


Rip the page! : adventures in creative writing / Benke, Karen
“Here are the ideas, experiments, and inspiration to unfold your imagination and get your writing to flow off the page This is the everything-you-need guide to spark new poems and unstick old stories, including lists of big, small, gross-out, and favorite words; adventurous and zany prompts to leap from; dares and double dares to help you mash up truths and lies into outrageous paragraphs; and letters of encouragement written directly to you from famous authors, including: Annie Barrows, Naomi Shihab Nye, Lemony Snicket, C. M. Mayo, Elizabeth Singer Hunt, Moira Egan, Gary Soto, Lucille Clifton, Avi, Betsy Franco, Carol Edgarian, Karen Cushman, Patricia Polacco, Prartho Sereno, Lewis Buzbee, and C. B. Follett. This is your journal for inward-bound adventures–use it to write, brainstorm, explore, imagine–and even rip” (Catalogue)


Write : a 30-day guide to creative writing / Quigley, Sarah
“This book is designed for the aspiring fiction writer who needs to kick start their imagination. The author is a respected novelist, poet, short story writer and columnist, and in this book she shares some of the ‘tricks of the trade’ she has learned, and offers insights into the creative process, demystifying writing as a form of expression. This is a useful, practical and highly readable guide for the huge and growing market of aspiring writers. Includes a range of charming pen and ink drawings by Gustav Hellberg.” (Catalogue)

Tūhono Submissions Are Now Open!

Well, the 1st of October has finally arrived, and so we have officially opened submissions for Tūhono 2021, our annual poetry journal for children and teens! Visit wcl.govt.nz/tuhono to read the guidelines and submit your poem on this year’s theme of “Whakaata | Reflection.” Submissions will close at 11.59pm on Sunday 14 November.

Note: Submissions to Tūhono 2021 have now closed. Thank you to everyone who submitted.

Yes, you are!

In the meantime, you should definitely check out some of these rad collections of poetry by and for teens (and some by awesome local poets as well). You might just find your inspiration!

Tūhono. a journal of poetry by children and teens / 2020 :
“Tūhono : connection. This is the theme that binds together all 197 poems you are about to read, which were contributed by young Wellington writers aged 5-18 and collected by Wellington City Libraries throughout the month of November 2020. The year 2020 was challenging for many people. Some had to spend time apart from their friends and the people they love. Some had to find ways to live with uncertainty and the sense that everything might not be okay in the world. But taken together, these poems represent a constellation of thoughts, ideas, worries, anxieties, hopes, loves, and dreams about how we find ways to connect, even in the face of adversity.” — SP, SC, and LH, Tūhono editors

Ink knows no borders : poems of the immigrant and refugee experience
“An important collection of sixty-four poems sharing the experiences of young adult immigrants and refugees from all over the world.” — SP, Tūhono editor

I am a human being / Nieuwland, Jackson
“A truly awesome collection of poetry by local poet (and beloved librarian!) Jackson Nieuwland, this book is by turns funny, poignant, profound, and irreverent, but always, always, transformational. Read this to feel bewildered, but complete.” — SC, Tūhono editor

Voices in the air : poems for listeners / Nye, Naomi Shihab
“Young People’s Poet Laureate and author Naomi Shihab Nye has written nearly 100 poems in honour of the artists, writers, poets, historical figures, ordinary people, and diverse luminaries from past and present who have inspired her.” — SP, Tūhono editor

Poems to live your life by / Riddell, Chris
“In this gorgeous anthology, award winning illustrator (and friend to libraries) Chris Riddell has selected 46 poems to live your life by. Poems by both classic and modern poets sit alongside each other, and include Shakespeare, Carol Anne Duffy, Neil Gaiman, Nick Cave and W.B. Yeats. The poems are divided into sections covering, musings, youth, family, love, imaginings, nature, war and endings.” — SP, Tūhono editor

he’s so MASC / Tse, Chris
“Look, all I’m saying is if you’re a queer young person, a queer old person, or just a person of any type, you’ve gotta read this collection. You won’t be the same afterwards. Or, you’ll be the same, but more of yourself. Self-loathing, self-expression, self-identification — Tse holds himself up to the light and you see yourself reflected in the prismatic splitting that follows. If you don’t quite understand that sentence, read the book and you will.” — SC, Tūhono editor

You don’t have to be everything : poems for girls becoming themselves
“Sixty-eight diverse poets, including Amanda Gorman, Mary Oliver, Maya Angelou, Elizabeth Acevedo and Kate Baer address the complex feelings of growing up in this poetry collection. Poems are arranged around the themes of ‘seeking’, ‘loneliness’, ‘attitude’, ‘rage’, ‘longing’, ‘shame’, ‘sadness’ and ‘belonging’, ultimately offering a message of self-acceptance and giving permission to let go of shame and perfectionism.” — SP, Tūhono editor

Young Kiwi voices. a collection of poems from young New Zealanders / Vol. 2
“This locally published collection brings together poems written by New Zealand teens aged between 12 and 18. Well worth a look to get ideas and inspiration for your own work.” — SP, Tūhono editor

NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults 2021: YA Finalists!

Yep, it’s that time of year again — the shortlist for the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults has finally been announced, and once again, it is excellent. For the books that have been nominated in the children’s categories, check out our post on our sister blog here. But over here at the Teen Blog, we only care about the YA. Read on, and click on the title of each book so you can get your mitts on a copy. Go on, you know you want to.

(Full disclosure — I am actually one of the judges for the Book Awards this year, so we won’t be able to do our traditional personal takes on the books, lest my words be taken as official rulings! Head on over to our friends at The Sapling, or of course the official Book Awards site for some insightful takes on the books featured below!)

Draw me a hero. / Ashworth, N. K

“Jane Dawson is fourteen years old, lives with her mum and older sister, loves drawing and wears an old leather flying helmet. Facing another dull term at school, Jane loses herself in her art. But when a boy, Bailey Summer, moves in three doors down, with brooding good looks and a long grey trench coat, Jane is drawn out of her introspective world. The two collaborate. He writes. She draws. Their friendship grows. Yet there is something odd about Bailey. Is he really who he says he is and why is his writing so disturbing?” (Publisher summary courtesy of Lasavia Publishing)

Fire’s caress : a Telesā world novel / Young, Lani Wendt
“She’s the brilliant sculptor taking the art world by storm, a daughter of Samoa returning home. He’s the fiery remnant of her past, who appears on what should be a night of triumph, weighted with dark secrets that could destroy them both. Can Teuila and Keahi find their way, even as a deadly threat emerges? Because there’s a new power on island, malevolent and hungry. His name is Marc Gold. His billion dollar vision of a virus-free Sanctuary in Samoa for the world’s rich and privileged, threatens to wipe out an ancient settlement of the Aitu and awakens their retribution. There is a battle coming and it is one that could destroy them all.” (Catalogue)

Spycraft / Falkner, Brian
“The astonishing journey of teenager Joseph St George (Katipo Joe) continues. Recruited by MI5, this time Joe is on a mission to infiltrate an elite group of Hitler Youth. In a world where one wrong word could bring catastrophe, he must compete with the other young people for a prize beyond his wildest dreams. But the consequences of failure are torture and death. From the war-torn skies over Germany to the heights of the Eagle’s Nest, Hitler’s hideaway, this is Joe’s story. Set amidst actual events, Joe’s story is a tale of incredible heroism, unlikely romance and unbearable tragedy.” (Catalogue)

The king’s nightingale / Jordan, Sherryl
“An epic fantasy set in a land of sultans and kings, sumptuous palaces… and slave markets. When Elowen and her brother are seized by pirates and sold, separately, in the slave market of a distant land, Elowen’s enduring resolve is to escape, rescue her brother and return home. Sold to a desert ruler who admires her sublime voice, Elowen is given the title of the King’s Nightingale. Honoured by the king, and loved by his scribe, Elowen lives a life of luxury, until she makes a fateful mistake and finds herself sold to a less charitable master.” (Catalogue)

The pōrangi boy / Kino, Shilo
“Twelve-year-old Niko lives in Pohe Bay, a small, rural town with a sacred hot spring and a taniwha named Taukere. The government plan to build a prison here and destroy the home of the taniwha has divided the community. Some are against it, but others see it as an opportunity. Niko is worried about the land and Taukere, but who will listen to him? He’s an ordinary boy who’s laughed at, bullied, and called pōrangi, crazy, for believing in the taniwha. But it’s Niko who has to convince the community that Taukere is real, unite whānau in protest against the prison and stand up to the bullies.” (Catalogue)

Hooked on NZ Books; Or, How to Get Free Books and Write About Them, Too!

Dear readers, we are guessing that since we have encountered one another amongst the digital pages of this most redoubtable publication, you are probably fairly keen book-readers as well. But how much do you choose to read books by New Zealand authors? Well, whether your answer was “Um, I LOVE to read books by New Zealand authors!” or “Not much, but I’d like to read more!” we have quite the opportunity for you.

Our friends at Read NZ / Te Pou Muramura (formerly the New Zealand Book Council) have put together an amazing programme called Hooked On NZ Books / He Ao Anofor young New Zealand readers to engage with new Kiwi literature and have their writing professionally edited and published, all while getting to keep swathes of ~free~ books for themselves. Curious to know more? Read on to hear what Read NZ have to say about the initiative.

 If you choose to take up this challenge, you'd better prepare yourself for a serious case of new-book-smell-induced bliss.

We Want to Know What You Think About New Zealand Books!

The American art critic Barbara McAdam writes that the ‘true calling’ of criticism is to start a discussion. Building a community of readers who discuss books, and growing the next generation of critics is what Hooked On NZ BOoks / He Ao Ano is all about.

Here are Read NZ / Te Pou Muramura (formerly the NZ Book Council), we’ve adopted the programme and are looking for passionate readers to review the latest NZ books for us.

First of all, we match readers aged 13-19 with new books. Most of the books we have to choose from are novels, but we also have some non-fiction, poetry and essays. We ask for the reviews to be emailed back within a month, and the reader gets to keep the book.

Our editor works with the reviewer to edit the piece so it’s the best it can be. Then we publish the review on the website, and share it with our wider community. The best review from each month is published on the official Read NZ website.

Our reviewers have the opportunity to respond personally and critically to the latest reads while together building an online resource about NZ books and a genuine platform for their voice.

Established four years ago by the NZ Review of Books journal, Hooked On NZ Books is already a useful archive of reviews, author interviews and other writing resources for younger readers. When the journal ceased publication in late 2019, its editors invited Read NZ to adopt the work.

Read NZ CEO Juliet Blyth says the purpose of Hooked On NZ Books is to grow the audience for home-grown literature, to provide another space for young writers to be published, and to nurture the next generation of critical readers in Aotearoa.

“Anyone can say that they loved or loathed a book, but it’s much harder to say why. Reviewing is important because well-argued reviews can influence what gets published and what gets read,” she says.

Tawa College student Hannah Marshall has submitted reviews to Hooked On NZ Books in past years. In a recent article about reviewing for Tearaway magazine, she describes the programme as a “springboard for a critical conversation.”

A chance visit to my school from the organisation opened my eyes to a world of opportunities. I had barely read a Kiwi-written YA [novel] in my life; today, most of my favourite books are by New Zealand authors. […] I gained valuable skills from the reviewing process and improved myself as a writer. I even found my name in print

— Hannah Marshall, Hooked On NZ Books reviewer

Read NZ is now looking for young readers and writers aged around 13-19 to participate. Interested reviewers can sign up on the Hooked On NZ Books website, or contact Read NZ to get involved. Read NZ also hopes to offer review-writing workshops around the country next year.


So what are you waiting for? Now is the time to get involved! While you’re at it, why not follow Read NZ and Hooked On NZ Books on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, for more delicious literary content, delivered right to your screen?

From the Vaults II: Discovering Māori Authors

Kia ora, e hoa mā! For the next post in our ongoing series exploring the riches of the Central collection at Te Pātaka, our Collection Distribution Centre in Johnsonville, we thought it appropriate to celebrate some of the books by Māori authors that are held there. Kia kaha te reo Māori!

The drill is just the same as last time — find the book you want in the catalogue, click ‘Place Reserve,’ and choose the branch you want to pick it up from. For extra credit, if you want to find only books held at Te Pātaka, you can either:

  • Filter your search results by location and select “Off-Site Storage,” or,
  • Filter your search results by collection and choose the collection type you think best describes the book you’re looking for, for example, “Store – Adult Fiction” or “Store – Young Adult Fiction.”

For now, though, here are some of our favourites. Many of these books are out of print and only held at Te Pātaka or in our New Zealand collection at He Matapihi Molesworth Library. Check out our handy booklist to find more literary gems from Māori authors past and present.

Bloom / Morey, Kelly Ana
“Summoned home by her grandmother to the Maori settlement where she grew up, Constance Spry returns to her mother and sister and the country pub where they live. Slowly, but surely, she gathers the myriad threads that are the lives and loves of the four murderous Women Spry.” (Catalogue)

 

Kissing shadows / Renée
“Do we ever really know or understand the motives of the ones we love? When Vivvie Caird is faced by the sight of her beautiful, strong-willed mother lying limp and speechless in a hospital bed, she feels empowered to begin unlocking the mystery that is her fathers legacy. Vivvies nave undertaking soon finds a parallel in her mothers own account of what happened when her husband left home one day, never to return. A family, and a court must confront a devastating event that occurred in the midst of the hard times of last century. This fast-paced, page-turning novel takes the reader into an absorbing and moving world of shadowy relationships and intrigue.” (Catalogue)

Wooden horses / George, James
“This novel focuses on former UN peacekeeper Tom Solomon and the mysterious old Maori woman, Phoenix, who seeks him out on a remote Northland beach to recount the story of her life. She tells of her foster parents, Jessye and Will, and of her intense love affair with a runaway boy, Luka.” (Catalogue)

 

Ngā waituhi o Rēhua / Mataira, Katarina
“This science fantasy novel in te reo Maori follows four teenagers living on Rehua, a planet settled after Earth is destroyed by ecological disasters and global war. The four raise hokio, giant mystical birds, which take them on flights to explore their new world. On one flight, they discover an island with another colony of people, and here, they are given a quest to interpret hieroglyphic message drawn on cave walls. Deciphering these symbols leads them to appease the feared tipua wheke, a gargantuan octopus, and help the Turehu, fair-skinned sea fairies, who have discovered a way to return to Earth.” (Catalogue)

One night out stealing. / Duff, Alan
“The second gripping, powerful novel by the author of Once Were Warriors. Boys’ homes, borstal, jail, stealing, then jail again – and again. That’s been life for Jube and Sonny. One Pakeha, the other Maori, only vaguely aware of life beyond pubs and their hopeless cronies . . . Reviewers found it compulsive and unforgettable, one saying: ‘Brutal, foul-mouthed, violent, despairing and real . . . it can’t be ignored’. In this novel Alan Duff confirms his skills as a gripping story-teller and a masterful creator of characters and situations. As one reviewer noted, it is ‘original and important’.” (Catalogue)

Festival of miracles / Tawhai, Alice
“An electrifying debut. This is a collection of short stories by a gifted writer. Alice Tawhai is bilingual and is a keen observer of the luminous, the unusual, the different and the beautiful both in her writing and through her photography. In Festival of Miracles Alice Tawhai has created a bittersweet New Zealand wonderland that is at once luminous and sensual, tragic and fated. The stories in this debut collection are set from the Hokianga to Bluff, and they are populated by a stunning range of characters – circus workers, tattoo artists, bikies, mail-order brides, beautiful victims, wild children, immigrants, tangata whenua – who never cease to believe that they will find perfect things amidst the human imperfection of their lives: miracles, not misfortune.” (Catalogue)