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Book Council News
This month Booknotes celebrates its first birthday in digital form, as Booknotes Unbound. Chief Executive of the Book Council Catriona Ferguson thanks all our readers for a first year of great reading.
The New Zealand Book Council is passionate about writers, reading and books. We are particularly passionate about shining a spotlight on our local writers, encouraging readers to discover new favourites and revisiting forgotten treasures.
It was this desire to share the love that inspired us to take our print magazine, Booknotes, online. So this time last year, Booknotes Unbound was unleashed onto the world and has since spread its reach far and wide – we now have readers from the Netherlands to Brazil. Amongst other things, we have featured new books and old books, publishers have responded to our curly questions, Kate De Goldi has been an agony aunt to book-challenged parents everywhere, news and views have been spread and writers from here to Scotland have answered our irreverent literary quiz, the Mansfield Questionnaire.
Much as we will always love the smell and feel of a real live book, we also love that Booknotes in its unbound version can spread the word a bit further. And this is vital to us. Reading is one of the most accessible and affordable leisure activities out there. As importantly, recent research has shown that reading is a great stress-buster, helps keep your brain in shape as you reach old age, encourages good sleeping habits and can even improve empathy levels. As Owen Marshall has said “Reading is best not as an escape from life, but as an enrichment of it. Gustave Flaubert said ‘Read in order to live.’ This is what the New Zealand Book Council promotes.”
Thank you all for your support of Booknotes Unbound. At a time when mainstream media is reducing space for books, our readers have shown us that books and reading are still important to them. We’re looking forward to the year ahead and continuing to keep New Zealand’s reading buzz strong.
Catriona Ferguson is the New Zealand Book Council Chief Executive. You can follow her on twitter @catNZBC.
Last month the New Zealand Book Council, with support from Victoria University of Wellington, explored the legacy of WWI literature in the World War One Book Club. In three panel events, literary experts and enthusiasts discussed and dissected favourite writings on the war – from poetry to fiction, diaries to graphic novels.
The World War One Book Club was recorded by Radio NZ and two events have been broadcast – the third and final broadcast will be on Sunday 26 October at 4pm. Visit Booknotes Unbound for more information about the World War One Book Club, including reading lists and feature articles.
Event 1: World War One book club – The war poets
With Kate Camp, Harry Ricketts, Jane Stafford and guest Dave Armstrong
A lively discussion exploring the power and appeal of the war poets. Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen and their contemporaries began as radical debunkers, but have they become comfortable clichés of war?
Event 2: World War One book club – Dispatches from the front
With Kate Camp, Harry Ricketts, Jane Stafford and guest Kate Hunter
A freewheeling look at literature from the front lines, including All Quiet on the Western Front, Testament of Youth, and We Shall Not Cease. What makes the accounts of soldiers, nurses and pacifists more than mere diaries? And how did a German novel become the most influential account of fighting in World War One?
Six graphic novelists will participate in the first residential exchange between Taiwan and New Zealand courtesy of a joint initiative between the Publishers Association of New Zealand, the Taipei Book Fair Foundation and the New Zealand Book Council.
The exchange will enable three New Zealand artists to collaborate on the creation of a graphic novel with three graphic novelists from Taiwan. The first stage of this exciting opportunity will be held in Auckland in October 2014, and the second phase will take place in Taiwan in February 2015.
The completed work will be jointly published by the Publishers Association of New Zealand and the Taipei Book Fair Foundation and launched in February 2015 at the Taipei International Book Exhibition, at which New Zealand is to be Guest of Honour.
Catriona Ferguson, Chief Executive of the New Zealand Book Council said "We are delighted that for the first time ever, three wonderful Kiwi graphic novelists are going to have the chance to develop something new and exciting with their counterparts from Taiwan. This is a great opportunity to showcase our local talent both to Taiwan and the world."
About the exchange participants:
• Tim Gibson has a background in illustrating worlds, characters and monsters for films including Tintin, District 9 and Avatar. His website www.mothcity.com offers a fresh take on the traditional murder mystery and is distributed through digital comics distributor ComiXology. Tim’s work has been widely anthologised and Moth City is considered a ground-breaking approach to storytelling.
• Rachel Fenton is a novelist, poet and graphic novelist. Her work has been published both online and in print and includes cross-genre collaborations with other creative professionals. In 2012 she was awarded the AUT Creative Writing Award and has held an artist in residence position at Counterexample Poetics.
• Ant Sang is an award-winning graphic novelist who has also produced numerous short comics for local anthologies and educational purposes. Shaolin Burning was awarded an Honour Award at the 2012 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards and was selected for the Storylines Notable Books list that same year. His 2004 comic series The Dharma Punks will be reprinted in graphic novel form for the first time in 2014.
• Chuang Yung-shin is one of the most well-known commercial film directors in Taiwan. In 1997 he published Film Maker’s Notes, a comic which recorded his life and works and has been reprinted 18 times. Since then he has gone on to publish further award winning works, including The Window and ‘80s Diary in Taiwan1.
• 61Chi graduated from the Art Department of Taiwan Normal University. Her first book of comics, Room, was published in January 2014. 61Chi belongs to the new generation of Taiwanese comics artists with versatile drawing talents and a broad range of skills across genres, including children’s illustration, American style realistic drawing and Japanese aesthetic style.
• Ahn Zhe was born in Taipei in 1985. While his work encompasses graphic design, illustration and storyboard design, his true passion lies in art as well as image and word creation. His works include The Dream Under the Bed, published by TITAN Publishing Co. Ltd. in 2011, and he has also contributed to collections such as 80s Taipei x 90s Hong Kong.
The aim of the exchange is to:
• foster collaboration between artists
• enable the creation and publication of a cross-cultural graphic novel
• create an opportunity for graphic novels to be discussed and explored within an international context.
If you have any questions or to find out about the availability of exchange participants for interview, please email Catriona Ferguson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her on 021 0248 2637.
We gratefully acknowledge support from Creative New Zealand and the Ministry of Culture, Taiwan, for this project.
Truth telling – top Kiwi children’s writers discuss the power of war books – and more – on our online hub for Kiwi booklovers, Booknotes Unbound.
Book Council Reading Doctor
In prescription #8, Book Council Reading Doctor, Kate de Goldi, offers recommendations for young readers who enjoy creepy, funny and icky reads.
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