New Zealand books in the media
05-10-2010 - Joy Cowley hooked on storytelling
If you've sat on a school mat any time in the past 40 years or so, you will have read a number of her perfectly crafted books, writes the Sunday Star-Times. You'll certainly remember Mrs Wishy Washy. Since the early 1980s, New Zealand reading programmes have colonised the English-speaking world, and from the start, Cowley was a key author.
There have also been 50 or so non-school picture books (including the classic anti-war tale The Duck in the Gun), 80 short "chapter books" for developing readers, a dozen children's novels, seven adult novels, some short-story collections and several successful film and TV adaptations of her work.
And now, at 74, Joy Cowley has written a memoir called Navigation. It's not a definitive autobiography – she finds those accounts, where every little detail of a life is put in, "terribly claustrophobic" – but after years of nagging from her publisher, she has taken a concise, anecdote-rich dance through what seems to be a life well lived.
Read Adam Dudding’s story about visiting Joy Cowley at the remote hideaway where she dreamt up the little stories that made a big noise here.
05-10-2010 - Summer read inspires colonial play
When playwright Arthur Meek stopped at the Matakana Markets this year, he came across a book which he thought might make a good summer read, according to the New Zealand Herald. Hardly a blockbuster, it was called Our Maoris - a provocative title in itself - and featured a cover picture of a woman Meek describes as "the most depressed-looking kuia ever".
Published in 1884, Our Maoris is the memoir of Lady Ann Martin, who arrived in New Zealand in 1842 as the wife of New Zealand's first justice, Sir William Martin. A semi-invalid, she was determined to bring Christianity to Britain's most distant colony.
Inspired by her memoir, he wrote Our Maoris about a crippled Englishwoman who arrives in a savage land to "civilise the natives" but discovers her own liberation.
Our Maoris is one of three new plays in the ATC Literary Unit's annual festival of new works called The Next Stage.
Read on here.
05-10-2010 - Kiwi novelist short-listed for British prize
September 23: On the heels of winning big European and United States book deals, New Zealand writer Eleanor Catton has been short-listed for a leading international literary prize.
Catton, 24, has been short-listed for the University of Wales Dylan Thomas Prize for her first novel The Rehearsal. The 30,000 ($64,000) prize – to be announced on December 1 – is believed to be the world's most lucrative prize for young writers, writes the Dominion Post.
The Rehearsal, which explores an affair between a high school pupil and her teacher, was published in 2008 by Victoria University Press.
Read more here.
05-10-2010 - Controversial novel not republished
September 21: Book publisher Penguin has decided against republishing Witi Ihimaera's controversial novel The Trowenna Sea, despite last year promising an amended version would be released this year.
The Whale Rider author was found to have plagiarised the work of historians in the historical fiction released last year by Penguin imprint Raupo.
Read the full story here.
05-10-2010 - Lonely Planet's high praise of NZ comes with lowlights
September 16: Amid travel bible Lonely Planet's gushing praise for New Zealand in its newest edition, several regions have been singled out for being overpriced, overhyped or just plain boring, reports the New Zealand Herald.
In the North Island, the guidebook's author gives Hamilton and Palmerston North a less than glowing assessment. In the South Island, only Invercargill escapes praise. But overall the guide book salutes the warmth of New Zealand's people, even during an economic downturn.
In a first for the Lonely Planet, the guidebook has enlisted the help of Hayley Westenra, Rhys Darby, Jane Campion and other prominent New Zealanders to give their intimate insights into the country.
Read what else Lonely Planet has got to say about New Zealand here.
08-09-2010 - Booker prize sees Peter Carey and Emma Donoghue head shortlist
Australian novelist could be first three-times winner, as fancied David Mitchell and controversial Christos Tsiolkas miss out, writes the Guardian newspaper.
The Australian novelist Peter Carey was hailed as a modern day Dickens after he was shortlisted for what could be an unprecedented third Man Booker prize victory.
The New York-based Carey was shortlisted for Parrot and Olivier in America, his sprawling, funny account of a French aristocrat and his English servant's picaresque journey to 19th century America. If it wins, Carey will become the first ever three-time winner.
But there was no place for David Mitchell's The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, or for Christos Tsiolkas, writer of one of the year's most controversial book, The Slap.
Read about the full shortlist along with the judges' comments on the Guardian website.
08-09-2010 - Fact-Checking the Franzenfreude
Is the New York Times' book section really a boys' club? asks The Slate, after the Tweets of "franzenfreude" over the glowing review Jonathan Franzen's new novel had received in the paper:
Two weeks ago, best-selling author Jodi Picoult sent a Tweet in a fit of pique. Upon reading Michiko Kakutani's glowing review of Jonathan Franzen's new novel Freedom in the New York Times, the lady novelist took to her keyboard and typed out the following:
NYT raved about Franzen's new book. Is anyone shocked? Would love to see the NYT rave about authors who aren't white male literary darlings.
Then fellow best-seller Jennifer Weiner revved up her Twitter account, too, and posted about the breathless critical love of Franzen, whose book was still not out yet. She invented the Twitter hashtag #franzenfreude, which she describes thusly: "Schadenfreude is taking pleasure in the pain in others. Franzenfreude is taking pain in the multiple and copious reviews being showered on Jonathan Franzen."
Read The Slate's examination here.
01-09-2010 - Books top New Zealand's five biggest rip-offs
The Weekend Herald compiled a top five list of rip-off - plus some useful tips on how to pay a lot less.
Number One is books:
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest by Stieg Larsson (paperback)
* from Whitcoulls, Queen St $37.99
* from bookdepository.co.uk $13.17
Read more at www.nzherald.co.nz
07-07-2010 - Low prices? Don't count on it, say publishers
How much should a digital book cost? The answer is more complicated than you might expect, writes the New Zealand Herald
In the United States, the popularity of the Kindle has been driven largely by Amazon's US$9.99 deals for ebooks. But many publishers feel bullied by Amazon's dominance of the market, and resent the huge cut it takes - which can be up to 65 per cent of the sale price.
When Apple came along and agreed to a much lower cut, publishers cheered. The industry is keen to see even more competition, but what that will mean for prices remains to be seen.
Read the story online at www.nzherald.co.nz.
05-07-2010 - The real Mister Pip founds a library
A New Zealand author who went from relative literary obscurity to being a frontrunner for the Man Booker Prize in 2007 has established a novel development project.
Lloyd Jones, whose Mister Pip sold 300,000 copies in Britain after it reached the Booker shortlist, is hoping to arouse similar enthusiasm for his venture in support of the real-life inhabitants of the island where his novel was set.
His Bougainville Library Trust has already made links with local people to help them plan, build, stock and fundraise for a community library – Jones calls it a "temple for story" – in Arawa, the largest settlement on Bougainville, an autonomous island that is within the political fold of Papua New Guinea.
Reported in The Guardian, 29 June 2010. To read the rest of the story go to this link.
30-06-2010 - Thousands of Kobo e-readers sold, says Whitcoulls
Whitcoulls is claiming a win in the debut of its Kobo e-reader as publishers mobilise to cash in on the new e-book market, reports Business Day on www.stuff.co.nz.
The bookseller launched the Kobo e-reader and its online book store a month ago.
Managing director Peter Kalan says New Zealanders have snapped up thousands of Kobos – the first two shipments – and Whitcoulls was taking pre-orders for the third shipment, due to arrive mid-July.
"Demand has been great, it's far exceeded what we expected."
25-06-2010 - Stead apology over Frame quote
Author Karl (CK) Stead has apologised for quoting without permission from Janet Frame's work in his just-released memoir, even though he believes he was well within his rights to publish what he did, writes the Otago Daily Times.
Contacted yesterday, the author of South West of Eden said he apologised to avoid a protracted legal battle with the Janet Frame Literary Trust, which he believed used "copyright as an instrument against a book they don't necessarily like".
"And although I have always treated Janet Frame with the utmost respect, it seems to me that does not seem to be enough for the trust, which seems to want something near reverence," Auckland-based Stead told the Otago Daily Times.
Trust chairwoman Pamela Gordon, Frame's niece, last night said she did not want to respond to Stead's comments. The trust turned to the law, received an apology and was pleased with the outcome.
the story continues online at www.odt.co.nz.
04-06-2010 - Review: Kobo e-Reader
Whitcoulls has entered the e-book fray with a new reader, as Amazon continues to ignore New Zealand with its popular Kindle, writes Pat Pilcher in the New Zealand Herald.
Launched last week, the Kobo e-reader could become the device of choice for many Kiwis by virtue of its low sticker price and availability. Read Pilcher's review at the New Zealand Herald online.
03-05-2010 - Next Big Thing hits New Zealand
A book for teenagers by an unknown Australian tipped to be the next J.K. Rowling goes on sale here today, reports the New Zealand Herald.
Beautiful Malice, by Rebecca James, made international headlines last year during a bidding war for worldwide publishing rights.
The rights were eventually secured by Allen & Unwin for more than $1 million. Australia and New Zealand will be the first countries in the world to publish the book. Read on at the New Zealand Herald website.
03-05-2010 - Kiwi author wins Bernard Beckett French literary award
New Zealand author Bernard Beckett has won the young adult division of the 2010 Prix Sorcières in France.
Beckett received the award for his eighth book Genesis, a philosophical science fiction novel that asks questions about who we are and what it means to think. Read the full story at www.stuff.co.nz.
28-04-2010 - Mahy magic boosts Peninsula
An award-winning television show based on a Margaret Mahy book is set to boost Governors Bay's profile, writes The Press in Christchurch. Kaitangata Twitch, which has already screened in Canada, Australia and Sweden, will debut on Maori Television on Sunday at 7pm. Read the full story on www.stuff.co.nz
19-04-2010 - History pulls a fast one on author
The New Zealand Herald investigates the fascinating New Zealand story behind a high-profile international novel. Was The Wives of Henry Oades based on a long-forgotten New Zealand marital scandal, as claimed, or on an elaborate 19th-century hoax?
Slavery by Maori, unjust courtroom persecution for bigamy, heartache in Wellington - the story has it all. Henry Oades, an English accountant with a farm near Wellington, loses his first wife and children, presumed killed in a Maori raid.
Grief-stricken, he abandons New Zealand, moves to California and marries again - only for his wife and children to turn up alive and well on his American doorstep, years later.
The Wives of Henry Oades, a work of historical fiction by first-time Florida-based author Johanna Moran, published in New Zealand this month, is an unconventional love-triangle with a basis in recorded history.
Read the full story at www.nzherald.co.nz
19-04-2010 - Qur'an translated into Te Reo
The Muslim holy book the Qur'an has been translated into Te Reo Maori.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has been working on the translation project for more than 20 years and has translated just over half of the book, the New Zealand Herald reports. The 16 parts have been published into a book comprising of both the original Arabic text with Maori translation. REad the full story here.
15-04-2010 - Artist creates book of nudes for the blind
A Toronto artist is selling nude photographs for the blind as tactile, touchable handmade books, reports Canada's National Post.
For the past two years, Lisa Murphy has been converting nude photographs into raised images on thin plastic pages. She has collected her work as a self-published book titled Tactile Minds.
The images are not standard pornographic fare. They depict mostly naked people dressed as elephants, bunnies, a robot and a "satanic ram." One image shows a naked woman disco dancing; she is wearing a belt of stars and a square box on her head. The cover features a vagina.
Read the full story at nationalpost.com
29-03-2010 - C K Stead wins UK Sunday Times £25,000 short story prize
From Britain's Sunday Times:
Karl Stead: unfussy talker and award winning author
The winner of the first Sunday Times Short Story Award is a 77-year-old Kiwi academic at the peak of his powers
It seems fitting that CK Stead, the winner of the first Sunday Times Short Story Award, should love the short story. Most people know Karl Stead as “New Zealand’s first man of letters” — a novelist, poet and critic who has gained international acclaim while remaining rooted in his home country — but he has composed in the abbreviated form all his writing life. It is a genre, he says, that offers unique opportunities. “In my mind, it’s halfway between a poem and a novel,” Stead explains. “It has to be verbally exact and economical, in the way a poem does; it has to appeal to the ear as well. Somehow, the reader should have a semiconscious response to the thing word by word, and sentence by sentence, as well as paying attention to what’s happening to the characters. In other words, it’s got to be well written.”
Read the full story
23-03-2010 - A week without books
She reads in bed, on the bus, while cooking dinner. So what happened when she went cold turkey? Read Bibi van der Zee's article in the Guardian online.
18-03-2010 - Eleanor Catton's The Rehearsal makes the Orange Prize longlist
New Zealander Eleanor Catton's first novel The Rehearsal is among 20 novels to appear on Britain's Orange prize longlist, which was announced yesterday (17 March). Click here to find our more about the longlist and the prize; read here the Guardian's interview of the chair of the judging panel and her view of the entries this year.
08-03-2010 - Voting opens for kids' best book
The Dominion Post reports that children are being invited to vote for their favourite book in the New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards.
Voting opened on Friday for the children's choice award and winners will be announced on May 19. Read the Dominion Post's coverage on www.stuff.co.nz