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Kia ora,

This is our last newsletter of 2009 and it also seems to be our fullest. In this jam-packed issue we feature a huge list of events, happenings and end of year news to keep you busy till 2010.

The Book Council is looking forward to the New Year as we plan new literary events for Wellington and Auckland, the roll out of Speed Date an Author and Writer’s Residencies programmes and very importantly our Words on Wheels Tour to Taranaki in February. You can now find out about our activities via twitter and of course, in more traditional paper style via Booknotes, the summer issue of which is now in members' letterboxes and online here.

Thank you so much for your support over the past year and we at the Book Council would like to take this opportunity to wish all the best for the festive season and the New Year to come.

All best wishes,


The Book Council's Going West tops viral chart

'...Ah Laps grocery where you could buy Chinese Ginger in jars, the Scout Hall, the Anglican church, the Jam factory. And vineyards and farms on the other.'
Maurice Gee, Going West (1992)

We are proud to report that the New Zealand Book Council film using paper craft animation to promote books and reading, Going West, has become a YouTube hit, reaching a worldwide top 10 in the viral video charts.

The film, which uses paper cut animation of Maurice Gee’s novel Going West, was launched on YouTube over a fortnight ago, and has since been viewed more than half a million times. It has inspired more than 1500 tweets on twitter, 650 blog posts across the world, and reached number 8 in the Viral Video Chart compiled by Unruly Media.

The film was produced for the Book Council by Colenso BBDO, who worked with Andersen M Studios in London to develop a concept that would show Gee’s classic New Zealand novel coming to life through hand cut ‘pop up’ scenery springing up from the pages. You can view it here.

Celebrating the life and work of Bub Bridger

We were saddened to learn of the death of renowned poet, fiction writer and performer, Bub Bridger. Bridger drew inspiration from her Maori, Irish and English ancestry, and her writing is known for its comedic energy and its idiosyncratic instances of fantasy. She was a well known performer who acted on stage, and she wrote for television and broadcast radio. Bub Bridger will be greatly missed, and we extend our thoughts to her family and friends.

Whispers in the Wind

A collection of children’s stories written and read by Wellington authors, Whispers in the Wind, aims to ignite children’s love of reading and writing.  The CD includes popular Wellington authors Joy Cowley, Fleur Beale, Janice Marriott, Barbara Else and many more. The brainchild of Wellington City Libraries and generously supported by Creative New Zealand, this CD is a fantastic gift for any occasion and on sale now for $20 (2 for $30). Whispers in the Wind is available at any Wellington City Library or through the website.

Crissi’s top children’s books for 2009

Editor, publisher, writer and reviewer Crissi Blair gives us a run-down of her top five books for children this year:

It’s been a big reading year for me and I’ve had a great time selecting and reviewing New Zealand children’s books for The School Library. When it comes to choosing my top five there were a number of contenders for top place, but some titles did immediately spring to mind.

My favourite picture book came late in the year – Aunt Concertina and her niece Evalina (Random House), written by Paula Green and illustrated by her husband, fine artist Michael Hight. Aunt Concertina loves junk shops, while Evalina is bored and wants to travel. When they find a magical kite in a shop they are off on their journey, searching for the perfect place and flying from one location to the next until they find the best of them all – home. You could spend all holidays examining the illustrations which are ‘simply de luxe’ (to pinch one of Paula’s phrases); debating whether the text is poetry or prose - Paula is a poet at heart, and consequently her text overflows with rhyme and other poetic elements. It’s a lengthy sophisticated picture book well worth the time it will take to read it aloud, and to study the detailed pictures.

One thing that’s worried me this year is the shrinking range of junior fiction as New Zealand publishers cut costs in difficult economic times. There were a few gems though, including sequels from Joy Cowley and Gavin Bishop - Friends: Snake & Lizard (Gecko Press) and Janice Marriott’s Bute View (Mallinson Rendel). But my pick, and it rests on the cusp of junior and intermediate fiction, is The Dark Blue 100-Ride Bus Ticket by Margaret Mahy (HarperCollins). It’s a captivating magical tale of a boy and his mother who are given a bus ticket that leads them to the supermarket at the end of the world. There’s a bit of everything – magic, drama, romance, fantasy; and it is told in language that is luscious and adventurous, making this a great novel to read aloud or read alone.

A big favourite for intermediate readers is Salt River by Elizabeth Hegarty (Scholastic). The manuscript won the Storylines Tom Fitzgibbon Award in 2008. The book is based on the true story of the Pook family who lived on the Kaipara Harbour in the 1920s, first written about by Dick Scott in Seven Lives on Salt River, which was Elizabeth’s initial inspiration. The lives we read about are tough and the father is particularly hard on his eldest son Tom, but in spite of the brutality of the time it’s the love and bonds between the family members that shines through.

I had two big favourites in the young adult department: One was The Crossing by Mandy Hagar (Random House), but as girls and their periods are a central focus of the story it might not be very boy-friendly, which is a pity as it’s a terrific read. Instead, my top pick for older readers is David Hair’s The Bone Tiki (HarperCollins) which I read early in the year, but it’s stayed with me and I’ve recommended it many times. The combination of the contemporary world with Maori mythology and New Zealand history was original and fast-paced with strong male and female characters including some really scary bad guys. The protagonist is 15-year-old Mat who steals a tiki from the body at a tangi then has to flee as his father’s new business acquaintance goes after him. He finds friends along the way, some from New Zealand myth, and the way the contemporary and mythological worlds are melded together is very clever and believable.

My last must-have book from 2009 is The Word Witch: The Magical Verse of Margaret Mahy, edited by Tessa Duder, and illustrated in great detail by David Elliot (HarperCollins). I do have some reservations about this book - its old-fashioned design, including a font that’s hard to read over some of the full-page illustrations, and lack of an index makes it hard to find what you’re looking for. But the fact remains that there is no other collection like this and to have so much of Margaret Mahy’s work in one book makes this an essential edition to any bookshelf for readers young or old.

Three questions for two top writers

Scriptwriter and playwright David Geary answers our questions:

1. Tell us a little about your play, Mark Twain & Me in Māoriland, coming up at the NZ International Arts Festival?
Mark Twain lamented the loss of the art of picturesque lying. I am hoping to revive it in 1895 Wanganui and prove that, as Twain said - history may not repeat itself but it sure does rhyme a lot.

2.  What have been your top five New Zealand reads of 2009?
25 Years of the Earl of Seacliff (aka Michael O’Leary) edited by Mark Pirie
Tikanga Maori – Living by Maori Values – Hirini Moko Mead
Huia Short Stories 8
In Flight Magazines
Ruth Paul and Melanie Drewery’s wondrous kids’ books.

3.  What do you have on your bedside table right now?
A baby monitor, an inhaler, a box of tissues, the funny/touching Since June poems of Louise Wallace.

Scriptwriter and novelist Neil Cross answers our questions:

Tell us a little about your upcoming projects/new works?

My new novel, Captured is published in the UK in January 2010 and NZ in May 2010. My BBC crime-thriller Luther, starring The Wire's Idris Elba (Stringer Bell), is currently in production. It'll screen in the UK in 2010. There are more television and feature-film projects to be announced. And I have to write the next  novel.

What have been your top five  reads of 2009?
Phillip Meyer’s American Rust evokes the unquiet ghosts of Steinbeck and Twain, but they’re good ghosts to evoke.
Richard Price’s Lush Life belatedly introduced me to the novelist who deals better than any other with the ruinous consequence of good intentions. One savagely compassionate passage in his Samaritan brought real tears to my eyes. 
In Maj Sjowall & Per Walloo’s Martin Beck decalogue I discovered the novels that essentially invented the police procedural. I was thrilled to discover that Eric Ambler’s late 30s spy stories — Journey into Fear, The Mask of Dimitrios  — exceed Graham Greene’s “entertainments” as a thrilling guide to the “low, dishonest decade” leading to the flare-up of World War II.    
Matthew Sweet’s Shepperton Babylon is a passionate history of the British film industry - funny, angry and moving in its shocking evocation of what was lost. Bruce Hood’s Supersense entertainingly used the unwillingness of his students to put on Fred West’s sweater — even for money — to explore our tendency to magical thinking and ultimately religious belief.

What do you have on your bedside table right now?
Jan Morris’s Wales, Dylan Landis’s Normal People don't live like this, Raymond Carver’s Collected Stories, PD James’s Talking about Detective Fiction, Stephen King’s behemoth Under the Dome, Eric Ambler’s Cause for Alarm. And Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days, to read to my boy.

Award and competition applications

2010 The 2010 Ashton Wylie Awards
The Ashton Wylie Charitable Trust, in association with the NZSA, is calling for entries for the 2010 Ashton Wylie Charitable Trust Unpublished Manuscript and Ashton Wylie Charitable Trust Book Awards. These two $10,000 awards reward excellence in the mind, body and spirit genre. The deadline for entries for the Unpublished Manuscript Award is 31 March 2010. The deadline for entries for the Book Award is 31 May 2010. To be eligible, books must have been published between 1 April 2008 and 31 March 2009. For submission forms, conditions and details of the eligibility criteria visit The NZSA website.

Landfall 219 - The NZ Music Issue.  Guest edited by Bill Direen

New Zealand music has been made with electric guitars, European orchestral instruments, laptops, bones, voices, skin, wood, PVC piping, air, magnetic tape and digital media. For this special Music issue, the editor is seeking work that demonstrates the essential cultural value of music and ways of making it in New Zealand. For more information about the issue and submission details, please visit the Landfall website. Landfall 219 will be published May 2010.
AUT New Zealand Creative Writing Competition

Calling all budding song lyric and short story writers - now is your chance to shine. The AUT New Zealand Creative Writing Competition opened on the 25th October. There are two competition genres: song lyric and short story and great prizes to be had. Deadline for entries is: 4pm, 31 January 2010. Entry Criteria: There are two categories in the Short Story genre -
1.  Emerging (aged 15 – 24 years, unpublished)
2.  Open (aged 25 years and over, unpublished)
Song Lyric: Open (aged 15 years and over)
For more information and prize details go here.

The Manawatu (New Zealand) International Poetry for Performance Competition 2010 - Open Call

This competition provides an opportunity for winning writers to have their poems developed and presented at the Biennial Manawatu Festival of New Arts in Palmerston North, New Zealand in October 2010. We are seeking poetry that not only reads well, but also crosses the boundary between page and stage, to intrigue and involve an audience in performance. Therefore, in addition to the poem itself, we ask poets to submit an overview of their performance concept in up to 200 words. For the theme, submission deadlines and more information please contact: or visit the Massey website here.

Residency and workshop applications

Creative writing workshops - Dunedin

This workshop aims to introduce participants to creative writing. It is designed for people who are merely interested in writing or who have been writing for some time and want stimulation and support. When: Jan 23rd-24th, 10am-4pm, Cost: $50. Bookings: 4717628 or

Certificate in Creative Writing 2010: This 34 week part-time, programme runs from February to November is for those who wish to develop their skills in creative writing. Course content is broad based covering fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction. For further details go to

Certificate in Creative Writing for Publication 2010: This 34
week workshop-based programme allows students to apply the professional tools required to plan, develop, and critically reflect on a major writing project (i.e. a novel, collection of short stories, poems, or a memoir) which will allow them to complete a body of work to a publishable standard. For further details go to

Course co-ordinator and tutor is Diane Brown, poet, novelist and memoirist. 0800 DUNEDIN PHONE (03) 471 7628 FAX: (03) 471 7629. Email: or

Michael King Writers’ Centre

The University of Auckland and the Michael King Writers’ Centre and are calling for applications for a joint six-month writer’s residency between July and December 2010. A stipend of $30,000 is offered. Detailed information about eligibility, terms and conditions, and information about the centre can be viewed here or email the administrator:

The Michael King Writers’ Centre is calling for applications for the first Maori writer’s residency at the centre in 2010. The residency is being offered with the support of Te Waka Toi, the Maori Arts Board of Creative New Zealand. The residency is for eight weeks from 14 May next year. The selected author will have free accommodation at the writers’ centre in Devonport, use of its writing studio and will receive a stipend of $8,000.Applications close on Friday 12 February 2010. The selection panel expects to announce its decision in early March. Detailed information about eligibility, terms and conditions, and information about the centre can be viewed here or email the administrator:

The New Zealand Book Council receives core funding from Creative New Zealand. We are extremely grateful to our funding partners, who enable us to deliver our programmes. We also value your membership, which supports our work in schools and communities throughout New Zealand.
                                                                       The winners of the two copies of Dorothy Butler's memoir All This and a Bookshop Too (Penguin) are Nanette Monin and Anne Donnell. Congratulations.

This month we have two copies of Snake and Lizard, writen by Joy Cowley and illustrated by Gavin Bishop, to give away, courtesy of Gecko Press. Please enter the draw by emailing, with the title of the book in the subject line and your mailing address in the body of the email. Entries must be received by 5pm on Tuesday 22 December.

The Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind's website features an excellent selection of links that connect to a wide range of electronic texts and book sources available online here.

The Big Idea’s Cultural Storytellers section here is full of rich and interesting interviews with some great new and established New Zealand voices.

You will also find a range of fantastic and rewarding responses by award-winning authors to workshop poetry on the Guardian website.

Hinemoana Baker is the editor of this year's 4th Floor online journal collating new writing by Whitireia graduates and contributions from a range of fantastic New Zealand writers. As the editorial mentions, this issue is 'bristling with talent and energy'.

What would the end of a decade be without a few hundred 'Top 10/Top 100 writers/books/etc' lists. Here are a few we liked: Top 100 best-selling writers, Rachel King's books of the year, the Amazon Editors' 2009 top 100, and The Listener top 50 children's books (available online on Saturday 19 December).

Victoria University student Ashleigh Young has won the Adam Prize for her personal essay collection Can you tolerate this?
Supported by Wellingtonian's Denis and Verna Adam through the Victoria University Foundation, the $3000 prize is awarded annually to an outstanding student in the Masters in Creative Writing programme at Victoria’s International Institute of Modern Letters (IIML). To see some of Ashleigh's work, see the lead story in the Summer issues of Booknotes.

From Armageddon to Zombies, 149 entries took fanciful flights of the imagination in this year’s Jack Lasenby Award for Wellington’s year 7&8 students. The Judges, authors Eirlys Hunter, Maureen Crisp and Fifi Colston announced that the winner was Raphael Kidman, age 12, from Hataitai with his story ‘The Big Hairy Monster.’ Raphael wins $200 for himself and a set of Jack Lasenby books for his school, Scots College.

Wairarapa writer Pat White is the New Zealand Writer in Residence at Wellington’s Randell Cottage for 2010. Pat White is a poet, essayist and artist whose work reflects his passion for the natural environment and an exploration of the way individuals relate to the land. He will use the six months in the cottage to research and write a biography of West Coast writer, teacher and fellow environmentalist Peter Hooper (1919 – 1991). Hooper wrote award-winning fiction, as well as poetry and non-fiction.

Poet Jenny Bornholdt will be the 2010 Writer in Residence at Victoria University. Earlier this year Bornholdt won the Montana New Zealand Book Award for Poetry for her latest collection, The Rocky Shore. The book is made up of six long poems that together form a moving autobiographical essay. Bornholdt will be hosted by Victoria’s International Institute of Modern Letters, and will take up her appointment on 1 February 2010. The position is jointly funded by Victoria University and Creative New Zealand.

Dame Anne Salmond was nominated as one of NZ Herald’s New Zealander of the Year for 2009 for global recognition for her brilliant research. Her most recent book is the acclaimed Aphrodite's Island.

The purpose of the Landfall Essay Competition 2009 remains as it was at the outset: to encourage New Zealand writers to think aloud about New Zealand culture, and to revive and sustain the tradition of vivid, contentious and creative essay writing in this country. Judged in 2009 by David Eggleton, the Winner was Ashleigh Young for her essay 'Wolf Man', and Runner-up was John Newton for his essay 'Becoming Pakeha'. Highly commended went to Henry Feltham for his essay 'We are Lost Here.' The winner receives a prize of $3000 and is published in Landfall 218.

Time Out Bookstore has been named the Metro/Oyster Bay Best Bookshop in the Best of Auckland Awards 2009! Congratulations to Wendy and all the staff.

Friday 12 February
10.30am (free public event)
Waitara Library Meeting Room, Queen St, Waitara
Bookings: Waitara Library, (06) 759 6060
2.00pm (school event)
Spotswood College, South Road, New Plymouth
6.00pm (public gala opening)
Gala opening for the Words on Wheels visit, presided over by Mayor Peter Tennent
Puke Ariki Museum Foyer, 1 Ariki St, New Plymouth
Bookings:, Puke Ariki Library

Saturday 13 February
11.00am (free public event)
Inglewood Library Meeting Room, 46 Rata St, Inglewood
Bookings: Inglewood Library, (06) 759 6060
7.00pm (free public event)
Where: Stratford Library, Prospero Place, Stratford
Bookings: Stratford Library, (06) 765 5403

Sunday 14 February
7.00pm (public event, fundraising for Hospice Taranaki)
Hawera Library Plus, 46 High Street, Hawera
Cost: $5 per person, Bookings:, or Hawera Library Plus, 0800 111 323

Monday 15 February
8.30am (school event)
Speed Date an Author event, Hawera Community Centre, Hawera
Information: Speed Date an Author page School registration:
5.30pm (public event, fundraising for Waverley Playcentre)
Waverley Library Plus, 58 Weraroa Road, Waverley
Cost: $5 per person, Bookings: Go to, or Waverley Library Plus, 0800 111 323

Tuesday 16 February
5.30pm (public event fundraising for the Eltham Village Gallery)
The Eltham Village Gallery, 166 High St, Eltham
Cost: $5 per person, Bookings: Eltham Village Gallery, between 10am-3pm

Wednesday 17 February
10.00am (school event)
Opunake High School, Tasman St, Opunake
5.30pm (public event, fundraising for Opunake Volunteer Fire Brigade
Bookings: Go to, or Headlands

Please note this is only a sample of events from the events page on our website.

Central Library Summer Book Sale
8-21 December 2009
Thousands of books, CDs, DVDs, cassettes, magazines and journals are on sale at bargain prices when the annual summer sale starts at the Wellington Central Library next Tuesday 8 December. The sale helps Wellington's libraries clear space for newer books and other items , so there is always a huge variety of material on offer , and it's all in good condition.If you haven't made it to the sale yet don't despair, because stock is replenished at regular intervals during the sale, ensuring there are always fresh bargains to be found. And they really are bargains, prices start from 50 cents for magazines, with most other items between $1 and $6 and some marked prices.
Venue: Welligton Central Library, 65 Victoria Street, Wellington

The Book Challenged Exhibition
Now- January 2010, 8.30am-5.00pm
An exhibition entitled Heresy, Sedition, Obscenity: The Book Challenged begins at the de Beer gallery, Special Collections, University of Otago, on 30 October 2009. It runs through to 29 January 2010. The exhibition not only offers a selection of some of the most famous, and lesser known books that have been banned, censored, or challenged, but it also reveals that there has been a healthy industry throughout history in the banning of books.
Venue: de Beer gallery, Special Collections, University of Otago

Summer Writing Workshops - Auckland

6-12 January 2010, 9.00am-5.00pm
:Continuing Education Summer Writing Workshops will run from 6-12 January at The University of Auckland. Workshops include: Freelance Journalism and Non-fiction Writing (Paul Smith); Write on the Road (Yvonne van Dongen); Writing Short Fiction (David Lyndon Brown); Introduction to Writing (Judith White); Narrative and the Novel (James George); Poetry Holiday (Siobhan Harvey);
Writing Fiction for Children and Teenagers (Lorraine Orman); Life Writing (Deborah Shepard). For further information contact Continuing Education Ph: 0800 864 266 or visit the website.
Venue: Epsom campus, 74 Epsom Ave, Auckland

Beautiful Theories in the Capital
Thursday 21 January, 6.00pm
Enjoy an evening hour of readings from Wellington poets Bill Manhire, Kate Camp, James McNaughton, Geoff Cochrane and Dinah Hawken. A City Gallery event, in association with the NZ Book Council.
Cost: koha
Venue: Adam Auditorium, City Gallery, Civic Square, Wellington

Compleate Workes
1 January - 31 December 2010
Shakespeare's Sonnets turn 400 in 2009 and NZ is celebrating by performing his entire canon throughout the year! From performances on Great Barrier Island to Professional Theatres in the main Centres, Shakespeare is happening everywhere from January 1 - December 31 2010. Check out or contact Shakespeare Globe Centre New Zealand (SGCNZ) for info or to get involved.
Venue: Theatres Nationwide

The Making of the Word Witch Exhibition
5th December 09 - 14th March 2010. Open Monday-Friday 10am-4pm, Wednesdays 10am-7pm, Saturday & Sunday 10am-4pm, Closed Public Holidays
The Making of the Word Witch: the poetic & illustrative magic of Margaret Mahy & David Elliot - An Ashburton Art Gallery Touring Exhibition Curated by Kathryn Mitchell. See David Elliot's original illustrations for the book first-hand in this exhibition. For more information please visit the Ashburton Art Gallery site
Venue: Ashburton Art Gallery, Baring Square East, PO Box 573, Ashburton
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Level 4, Stephenson & Turner House, 156 Victoria St, Te Aro
Wellington 6011, New Zealand