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Kia ora,

We’ve been very busy putting the finishing touches to the latest edition of our magazine, Booknotes. It features a range of engaging articles and features and will be on its way to members in a few days. You can see some of the highlights below along with book, author, and event news from around the country.

In this month’s newsletter we pay tribute to the late Alistair Te Ariki Campbell who passed away last week. The Book Council would like to acknowledge his great contribution to New Zealand literature and offer our condolences to his family.

We also celebrate the 40th anniversary of Storylines Children's Literature Association below, with an extract from Betty Gilderdale's article, available in full on our website.
The 2009 Storylines Festival is underway now, with very successful Family Days bringing children together with books in Wellington and Christchurch yesterday. Next weekend sees the Northland Family Day on Saturday, and the Auckland Family Day at the Aotea Centre on Sunday.

Best wishes

Tell us about you and go into a Commonwealth prize draw

We would like to know more about New Zealand book-lovers’ tastes so we can keep our activities interesting and relevant.

Our readers will be aware that this year has seen a lot of changes in the Book Council’s activities and direction. We’ve relaunched our member’s magazine, Booknotes, with a broader range of editorial content. We’ve relaunched our website with more current and useful information, and we’re planning a new-style programme of author events. We'd like to know more about New Zealand book-lovers’ tastes and ensure that our activities remain interesting and relevant.

Answer our short questionnaire and you will go into a special draw to win a set of Commonwealth Writers’ Prize regional winner books, pictured below:

To be in the draw please answer these questions:
1.    What is/are your favourite book/s?
2.    Do you read any particular genres, which ones?
3.    What do you think is the best NZ book published to date?
4.    What aspect of the Book Council’s activities are you most interested in?
•    Booknotes member magazine
•    The School Library children’s book review magazine
•    Writers in Schools school membership programme
•    Words on Wheels and other New Zealand author event programmes
•    International writer events
•    Educational programmes for children at low-decile and geographically diverse schools
•    Other (please explain)

Please send your answers by email to with the subject line 'Commonwealth answers' by Friday 11 September to be in to win.

The Children's Literature Association 40 years on

Betty Gilderdale has kindly supplied us with a potted history of the Children's Literature Association of New Zealand, which we have extracted below:

(after the creation of the Association) Word quickly spread about the Association in Auckland and meetings were well attended. The opportunity to contact other areas came when Radio New Zealand agreed that Betty Gilderdale should give three talks about children’s literature on Feminine Viewpoint, precursor of today’s Nine to Noon. It was an opportunity to publicise the newly formed Children’s Literature Association and to say that it could give advice to parents on what to read to their children.

The resulting avalanche of more than two hundred letters was unexpected but the fact that advice was sorely needed was highlighted when one particular listener asked, ‘Is my two-year-old son too young to be read Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island?’

The immediate response to this need was to start sending out four annotated lists of recommended books a year. Another result was that the letters were sorted into the districts of origin and it was suggested that they form their own groups so that by 1977 there were branches in Christchurch, Waikato, Hutt Valley, Manawatu, and Hawkes Bay as well as in South Auckland and West Auckland...

The full text of this essay is available on our website here.

Remembering poet Alistair Te Ariki Campbell

Poet, playwright and novelist Alistair Te Ariki Campbell died this past week, age 84, after a short illness. Campbell was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2005, and his many awards included a Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement. For more information about Alistair Te Ariki Campbell and his work, visit his author file on the Book Council website, which includes his entry in the Oxford Companion to New Zealand Literature.

Booknotes Issue 166 Winter 2009

In our upcoming issue of Booknotes, Sally Conor asks why writing for young adults has become so unbearably hip, Kirsty Gunn talks about her time in residence at Randell Cottage, and Eleanor Catton writes a letter from festival-rich London. If you’re not already a NZBC Member you can subscribe here: NZBC Subscribe.

Five Easy Questions with Cilla McQueen

What writers are you currently influenced by?
I don't 'read writers' at all - just whatever comes to hand, poetry, prose, science, history, biography etc.

Which writer from the last century would you most like to meet?
Eugene Ionesco.

Does winning the Poet Laureate post make you feel bound to pay attention to a 'collective consciousness,' a sort of paying attention to 'big issues'?
That's a part of my thinking anyway, really.

When do you write, morning or night?
All day long.

What was the last book you read?
Vincent O'Sullivan's Further Convictions Pending.

Residency applications

Korean Children’s Literature festival 2010 - Storylines Trust/IBBY New Zealand

This is an opportunity for a New Zealand writer and illustrator to visit South Korea in 2010. IBBY New Zealand (a sub-group of Storylines) has been invited by the South Korean section of IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People) to send a New Zealand writer and illustrator to South Korea to take part in the fifth Nami Island International Children’s Book Festival (NAMBOOK010) to be held on Nami Island, Seoul, 1-5 October 2010. The main event is to be the creation of a book to be entitled Peace Story. The sub-theme is ‘Peace Story from My Village’.  For further information please contact Rosemary Tisdall:

DOC Wild Creations Artists in Residence Programme

This programme is a partnership between Creative New Zealand and the Department of Conservation, aimed at encouraging artists to create works inspired by New Zealand's natural and historic resources. Residents stay at one of 15 DOC locations. Expressions of interest sought from writers and artists. Stipend up to $5,000 with travel up to $1,000 and material costs. Deadline for applications 31 August each year. 

The Michael King Writers’ Centre call for applications

The Michael King Writers’ Centre is calling for applications for two eight-week residencies at the Michael King Writers’ Centre in Devonport in early 2010. A stipend of $8,000 will be paid for each residency. The residencies are open to established authors, working on a project in fiction, non-fiction, drama or poetry. Applicants should be writers of proven merit and usually resident in New Zealand or hold New Zealand citizenship. Applications close on Wednesday 30 September 2009. Information about these opportunities, the dates, the terms and conditions, and how to apply is available on the centre’s web site at

Award and competition applications

NZSA and Manchester Trust Writers' Award 2009

For the first time, in 2009, the New Zealand Society of Authors together with the Manchester Trust is proud to be able to offer an award to recognise the oeuvre of published work by a mid-career writer. The purpose of the award is to offer recognition to an author who may not necessarily have previously achieved a high level of publicity for their work. The award will be open to writers of fiction, poetry, short fiction collections, and literary non-fiction, and is worth $3,500. The closing date for nominations is 6 November 2009. Information from or visit the NZSA website.

Asia:NZ/Cathay Pacific Diwali Short Story Competition

The Diwali Festival of Lights, one of India’s best-loved festivals, celebrates its eighth anniversary in Auckland and Wellington this October. To mark the occasion, the Asia New Zealand Foundation and Cathay Pacific invite you to test your writing skills and be in to win a trip for two to India. Alll you have to do is write a short story of up to 800 words which includes the following four words: “Diwali”, “homecoming”, “lamington”, and “Cathay Pacific”. All entries should be submitted no later than September 15, 2009 to: Jennifer King, Culture Director, Asia New Zealand Foundation, P.O. Box 10144, Wellington. Alternatively entries may be emailed to For further information go to the Asia NZ website.

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 hotly-contested copies of Alison Wong’s debut novel, As the Earth Turns Silver (Penguin NZ, 2009)  are Meredith Smith and Dianne Knight.

                                                                                This month we have two double passes to give away to Jo Randerson’s new play Good Night - The End opening at Downstage on 11 Sep 09. These are valid until 18 Sep 09.

We are also pleased to announce special Downstage ticket prices for Book Council e-newsletter subscribers! You can save $5 off the full ticket price of A Reserve seats on tickets booked before the 4th of September. Simply mention, ‘Early-Bird’ when booking at the Downstage box office, either by phone on 04 801 6946, in person at 12 Cambridge Terrace, Wellington, or by email:
Please enter the draw for theatre tickets by emailing, with the name of the play in the subject line and your address in the body of the email. Entries must be received by 12 noon on Monday 31 August.

New Zealand writers are also keen bloggers. Keep an eye on the Poet Laureate blog as Cilla McQueen takes up this prestigious post.

Of interest are the blogs of Mary McCallum, Martin Edmund, Rachel King, Paula Morris and Joan Druett.

One of our favourite links this month is Awful Library Books, a collection of public library holdings. There are some amusing submissions that question the currency and relevance of some books in public library collections.

Korean poet and essayist Kim Seon Wu will take up the first writer in residence post at The New Zealand Centre for Literary Translation at Victoria University, Wellington, in September and October this year. Ms. Kim's books of poetry include If My Tongue Refuses to Stay Locked Inside My Mouth (2000), I Fall Asleep Under the Peach Blossoms (2003) and Who Sleeps Inside Me (2007). She has received the Contemporary Literature Prize and the Chun Sang-byung Poetry Prize.

Acclaimed New Zealand fiction writer Barbara Anderson has received the honorary degree of Doctor of Literature from the University of Otago. Barbara Anderson graduated from the University of Otago with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1947. Vice-Chancellor Professor David Skegg says the honorary doctorate recognises Barbara Anderson's intellectual and artistic achievements, and the high regard in which she is held nationally and internationally.

The winners of the LIANZA Children's Book Awards 2009 are as follows:
Esther Glen Award - Juno of Taris, Fleur Beale
Russell Clark Award - Herbert: The Brave Sea Dog, Robyn Belton
Te Kura Pounamu Award - Mihiroa, Peti Nohotima
Elsie Locke Award - Atoms, Dinosaurs & DNA, Veronika Meduna and Rebecca Priestly

Kate’s Klassics
29 August, 8.00pm
An evening of literary brilliance and sparkling repartee chaired by Jim Hopkins, ESQ. and starring the fabulous Kate Camp of Radio New Zealand National renown. Tickets from Opera House or online from Ticketdirect.
Venue: Oamaru Opera House

The KM Birthplace Book Club - Dr Alice Te Punga Somerville
2 September, 12.30-1.30pm
A lecture by Dr Alice Te Punga Somerville on Once Were Warrior by Alan Duff is the fifh of a series on controversial books by the Katherine Mansfield Birthplace Society, as part of the Katherine Mansfield Birthplace Book Club 2009 programme.
Venue: Wellington Bridge Club, 17 Tinakori Rd, Thorndon

NZ Law and Literature Symposium

3 September, 9:00am
Dr Grant Morris (Senior Lecturer in Law, Victoria University) has constructed a database of legal references in New Zealand fictional literature and visual media. This database has been transformed into an on-line website which will be publicly launched on September 3. To mark the occasion the launch is being combined with a one day symposium which will feature presentations by writers and academics, including, Charlotte Grimshaw and Damien Wilkins. This event will be of interest to academics, students, lawyers, writers and members of the general public with a passion for fiction and/or law. For more information on the symposium, please contact Dr Grant Morris
Venue: Lecture Theatre 3, Law Faculty, Victoria University of Wellington

BPANZ Spectrum Design Print Awards
3 Septermber 09, 5:00pm
The BPANZ Spectrum Print Design Awards celebrate the best New Zealand Book Designers every year. See the BPANZ website for further information. 
Venue: Auckland Art Gallery

2009 Octagon Collective series - Sally Ann McIntyre
9 September 8:00pm
The 2009 Octagon Collective series of poetry readings will each feature a local guest poet and include an open mike section. This week will feature poet Sally Ann McIntyre. Remember to bring a poem or two for open mike. Compere Richard Reeve.
Venue: Circadian Rhythm Cafe, 72 Saint Andrew St, Dunedin

Writers on Mondays - The Next Page
7 and 14 September, 12:00-1.30pm
In September we take a look at the talent emerging from the 2009 writing workshops at the IIML. On the 7th and 14th of September ten writers read from poetry, fiction and memoirs in progress. 7 Sep: Carol Cromie, Claire Brunette, Pat White, Kay Corns, Joanne Davy, James Purtill, Helen Heath, Frances Mountier, Breton Dukes and Elizabeth Russell are introduced by Damien Wilkins. 14 Sep: Emma Martin, Lindsay Pope, Susannah Goodman, Bill Nelson, Fiona Mitford, Hannah Jolly, Emile Hofstede, Megan Knott, Ashleigh Young and Melissa Reid take the stage to entertain you, introduced by Chris Price.
Venue: The Marae, Level 4, Te Papa

Fantastic Voyages - Writing Speculative Fiction

17 September, 7.30pm
Christchurch writer Helen Lowe and Tim Jones feature in this writing event chaired by Lynn Freeman. The discussion is titled "Fantastic Voyages: Writing Speculative Fiction".
Venue: Wellington Arts Centre, Upper Chamber, 61 Abel Smith Street, Wellington

Writers on Mondays - Short/Sharp/Script
21 and 28 September, 12:00pm-1.30pm
Each session is one hour, with five different dramas: actors perform rehearsed readings of work produced by MA (Script) students at the IIML. 21 Sep: Ken Duncum introduces scripts by Amy Rountree, Sugu Pillay, Matthew Nagel, Gwyneth Hyndman and Colin Hodson. 28 Sep: Ken Duncum introduces scripts by Richard Finn, Wendell Cooke, Deborah Carr, Chris Brougham and Arnette Arapai provide the lines.
Venue: The Marae, Level 4, Te Papa

Spinning Gold: National Conference for New Zealand Writers and illustrators
2.00pm Friday 18 - 5.00pm 20 September,
This is a conference aiming to bring together New Zealand's authors and illustrators. The conference is full, but media interest is welcome.
Venue: Capital House, Melrose, Wellington

The Wanganui Literary Festival
18-20 September 09, 9:00am - 5:30pm
A writers and readers festival with a lifestyle theme. Enjoy a wide range of talks, discussions, readings and live performances by a selection of New Zealand's best writers.
Venue: Wanganui
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Wellington 6011, New Zealand