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Release: 2017 Ockham Awards Shortlist

2017 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards Shortlist Announced

Four of the country’s most respected novelists are in the running for New Zealand’s richest fiction writing prize with today’s announcement of the 2017 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards shortlist.

Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize 2017 Shortlist

Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize 2017 Shortlist

Commonwealth Prize-winning novelist Catherine Chidgey’s The Wish Child is one of the contenders for the $50,000 Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize, as are multi-award winning writer Owen Marshall’s Love as a Stranger, critic, poet and novelist C.K. Stead’s The Name on the Door is Not Mine, and critically acclaimed poet and novelist Emma Neale’s Billy Bird.

The prize, now in its second year, is awarded through the generosity of one of the Acorn Foundation’s donors.

The Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize judges’ convenor, Bronwyn Wylie-Gibb, says all four finalists demonstrate compelling writing, surprising plots, sudden poignancies, sharp humour and beautifully observed characters. “These are the books that we loved, that provoked, that excited us, and that we are still thinking about.” Read more »

Tauranga Books Festival

Media Release
Books Festival | Queen’s Birthday | Tauranga

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 08.44.01Escape to Tauranga for Queen’s Birthday weekend and an ideas and books-focused festival that includes performance, discussion, story-telling, workshops and an Italian-theme morning tea.

Speakers include award-winning scientist Dr Siouxsie Wiles; New Zealand’s leading authority on Shakespeare, Professor Mark Houlahan; food writer and restaurateur Peter Gordon; award-winning author-illustrator Donovan Bixley; award-winning journalists Steve Braunias, Rod Oram and Aimie Cronin; novelists Greg McGee and Nicky Pellegrino; and historian, anthropologist and former New Zealander of the Year Dame Anne Salmond.

“We’ve tried to offer a programme that is a form of escapism,” says festival director Claire Mabey. “Speakers can take their audiences to other times and places, into different realms or consider a subject in depth.

“We’re excited about our ‘big ideas’ panel on June 4 that will discuss some of the grassroots problems afflicting us as New Zealanders – we’re really hoping the audience will jump into the conversation.”
Tackling the issues are law professor and former Cabinet minister Margaret Wilson, Awanui Black from the Tauranga Moana Iwi Leaders Forum, business commentator Rod Oram and actor, writer and producer Charlie McDermott.

Escape! also includes a free Human Library event where a ‘living book’ can be checked out for a one-on-one conversation, workshops by Donovan Bixley (for 7 to 11 year olds) and Steve Braunias (travel writing) and performances by Michael Hurst (No Holds Bard) and the Panhandlers.

Book Television Is Coming

Book television, aka The Book Show, is coming to Aotearoa New Zealand, on screen at FaceTV, now on the Sky platform, as well as online.

Carole Beu and Graham Beattie in a promo video for their upcoming show.

Carole Beu and Graham Beattie in a promo video for their upcoming show.

Carole Beu of The Women’s Bookshop in Auckland, Graham Beattie of The Book Blog and producer Deb Faith of FaceTV have raised enough money via crowd funding at Boosted – just under $7,000 so far – for 12 episodes, which begin production in September, and will be on screen later that month. The Book Show will feature “author interviews, reviews and great reads from both NZ contributors and visiting international book people.”

Faith says the show will screen at prime time (no day set yet), with a daytime repeat. It will also be available online at FaceTV’s YouTube channel, Beattie’s blog and Carol Beu’s bookstore website.

Book lovers may remember Lindsey Dawson’s show Let’s Talk, that featured books and authors, among other things, and ran on FaceTV for two years, ending with last year’s digital switchover.

Dawson told Scoop Review of Books that the show had NZ On Air support, but that ended because funding can only cover shows on free-to-air platforms, and since the switchover, FaceTV has only been available on Sky, which requires a paid subscription. The show was something of a labour of love for Dawson, who said the pay barely covered petrol to get the studio.

“I do miss it, as I met some great creative and gifted people, and it kept me up with the play on various fronts.”

Dawson says she’ll still do the occasional interview for the show “if authors pop up in whom I’m really interested or have a previous link with”.

“It would be great if there was a well-resourced local book show on free-to-air TV, but mainstream TV is simply not interested,” Dawson said. “For them it’s all about how much advertising they can sell around shows, or how much corporate sponsorship is available, and with books/arts/ culture in general, that is thin on the ground in NZ.”

“However, Carole Beu and Graham Beattie will be great on the new show at presenting the best of what’s on offer in print, given Carole’s long history in book selling and Graham’s prominence as an all-round publishing expert,” she said.

– by Alison McCulloch

Can we cope with a warming world?

Living in a Warmer World by Jim Salinger (Bateman, $39.99)
Reviewed by John Lang

salingerHow is climate change going to affect our lives? According to Living in a Warmer World, it won’t just be changes to the weather, but also changes to our water, our wheat and even our wine.

Vastly experienced climate scientist Dr Jim Salinger, who lives in Auckland, has gathered essays from the who’s who of climate specialists in a fast-paced book that moves beyond our preoccupation with the causes of climate change. Rather, it combines observation and foresight to evaluate the looming effects on our world.

Former NZ Prime Minister Helen Clark, now head of the United Nations Development Programme, provides a useful foreword. From there, 20-plus experts across various disciplines leave little unexplored in a series of short (albeit technical) chapters, and help the reader understand the enormity of adapting to a warming planet, with effects on such critical areas as our fisheries, food supplies and access to fresh water.
Read more »

Carl Shuker at Te Papa

‘Brash and fearless’, is how the New York Times described Carl Shuker‘s first novel, The Method Actors, which won him the 2006 Prize in Modern Letters. His latest novel, Anti Lebanon, has just been published in the US, where Publishers Weekly reviewed it as ‘a haunting and riveting account of war, loss, and exile’. Shuker is this year’s Creative New Zealand/Victoria University Writing Fellow.

Chair: Damien Wilkins
DATE: Monday 15 July
TIME: 12.15-1.15pm

VENUE: The Marae, Level 4, Te Papa, Wellington
(please note that no food may be taken onto the Te Papa Marae).

The Writers on Mondays series is presented with the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, and additional support from Circa Theatre and the Melbourne Writers Festival.
Admission is free and all welcome.

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