Sunday, August 31, 2014

Otago Professor becomes New Zealand’s King of Crime - Ngaio Marsh Award Winner Announced

Otago Professor becomes New Zealand’s King of Crime
Craig Sisterson reports:

An exceptional thriller entwined with national and workplace politics, sectarian warfare, and the changing face and influence of the newspaper industry has won University of Otago Professor of Scottish Studies Liam McIlvanney the prestigious Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel.  

Dunedin-based McIlvanney (pictured) was announced as the winner, for his “fascinating, brilliant, and challenging” novel WHERE THE DEAD MEN GO, before a packed house at the conclusion of the lively Great New Zealand Crime Debate event at the WORD Christchurch Writers & Readers Festival on Saturday 30 August. “In a year where we had our strongest, deepest, and most diverse long list ever, and four truly fantastic finalists, WHERE THE DEAD MEN GO got the nod for its terrific, page-turning storytelling powered by superb prose, fascinating characters, and an evocative sense of place,” said Judging Convenor Craig Sisterson. “It’s the kind of book that lingers in your mind beyond the final page.”

In WHERE THE DEAD MEN GO, Glasgow stands on the precipice: of the Commonwealth Games, a national vote on Scottish independence, and an explosive rekindling of a brutal gangland war. Gerry Conway is a jaded, jobbing journo, the golden child fallen, clinging to the coat-tails of his former protégé, Martin Moir. When Moir’s body is discovered as a big story breaks, Conway steps into his shoes; a very dangerous place, as gangsters, politicians, and other predators swirl around.

The judging panel, consisting of crime fiction experts from New Zealand, Australia, and the United States, called WHERE THE DEAD MEN GO “a thought-provoking novel with very real characters and a fascinating, complex plot”. McIlvanney puts a lot into this book: the state of the news media, what it takes to be a good reporter, politics, family life, and even a New Zealand connection, said one judge. “Excellent writing makes it all fit together very nicely indeed.” Conway was described by the judges as “an unlikely hero perhaps, as the mainstream media around the world are going down the gurgler… he keeps digging away like a real reporter should, even when his bosses are less than supportive.”

The Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel, established in 2010, is named for Dame Ngaio Marsh, who is renowned worldwide as one of the four Queens of Crime of the Golden Age of Detective Fiction. Dame Ngaio published 32 novels featuring Inspector Roderick Alleyn between 1934 and her death in 1982. With sales in the millions, and her books still in print to this day, Dame Ngaio is one of New Zealand’s most globally successful authors. Dame Ngaio’s closest living relative, John Dacres-Manning, gave his blessing for the New Zealand crime writing award to be named in her honour, saying that “I know that Dame Ngaio would be so proud… to know that her name is associated with the award”.

In addition to the award itself, McIlvanney, who is the son of famed Scottish novelist and poet William McIlvanney, wins a set of Dame Ngaio’s novels, courtesy of HarperCollins, and a cheque for $1,000 from the Christchurch Writers’ Festival Trust.

Author Lee Child discusses losing his job and finding Jack Reacher with Wallace Chapman 31 August 2014 | Radio New Zealand National

A delightfully engaging conversation between Wallace and Lee .

Waiheke Book Festival is back!


Waiheke Book Festival - 9-12 October 2014

We've fixed the date for your favourite book festival, so make sure you keep 9-12 October free and help us Spread the Word.

This year we're springing into action a month earlier but we still have the same great line-up of writers and events to inspire and engage!

The full programme of talks, workshops and discussions is almost ready to announce, but here's a sneak preview:

  • Craig Potton - greenie, photographer and Aotearoa's largest independent publisher
  • Michael Corballis - psychologist and author with his new book, The Wandering Mind
  • Lindsey Dawson - sharing how to research and create your own family story

For more details and information visit  EVENTFINDA  and put Waiheke Book Festival in the search to find all our events.  We often sell out of the favourite events so make sure you get in early and secure your ticket now.

Lindsey Dawson

This talented Auckland wordsmith and editor has a passion for teaching others how to research and tell their family history 

Dates and Details

Thursday 9 October
Friday 10 October
Saturday 11 October
Sunday 12 October

Iconic venues including Mudbrick, Waiheke Community Art Gallery, Artworks Theatre, Waiheke Community Library and Rocky Bay Hall.

Come to the island for a day or the weekend and enjoy the festival fun
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Craig Potton 

Award-winning photographer Craig Potton shares his passion for the environment and New Zealand's wild and beautiful places.

Come along and hear this celebrated conservationist and entrepreneur and be inspired by his vision

The Bookman talks to Mark Sainsbury on Radio Live Sunday Morning

My interview with Mark Sainsbury.

Last day of Christchurch Writers & Readers Festival

Last Day Today!
What an atmosphere there has been around the city in last few days , with writers turning up in all places. Don't miss out - there are still plenty of events to see today.


Some of today's Highlights

Special Event: Margaret Mahy Memorial Lecture with Elizabeth Knox

Politics: The Politics of Indignation

Ngai Tahu Storytelling: Korero Purakau  

Exercise: Body and Mind

Crime: Dark and Chilling

Photography and History: Remembering Anzac

Fiction: The Interesting and Beyond the Veil:

Current Events: Rebuilding Christchurch

and more......



Five special events will be held in The Sunday Fringe at The Physics Room in Tuam St. Spend the day there, or pop along for one session; these are interesting talks with lots of variety..


Survivor Poetry has been part of the festival since 2008, it's a great way to end the weekend with a bang! Come and hear some amazing local talent, and see who will win the coveted title. 

Readers Will Judge Your Book By Its Cover

Nat Russo 

Admit it. You’ve judged a book by its cover in the past. No, you may not have put the book down and refused to buy it, but I’m willing to bet you picked one up and read the back because the cover caught your attention.
Am I wrong?

A bad cover may not hurt your sales, but a good cover will improve them. Human beings are visual creatures, and as writers/publishers we need to take advantage of this whenever possible. So how do we make sure we’re producing the best possible cover?


This can’t be overstated. Every genre will have its own set of expectations on what a “good” cover looks like. Even within genres those expectations may vary by a huge margin. For example, in my genre (Fantasy), you see covers ranging from the abstract/conceptual to covers that depict a scene from the book. I’ve always gravitated toward the latter as a fantasy reader, so I decided early on that this was the type of cover I wanted for my own book.
Just keep in mind that if your audience is looking for a cloaked figure with a dagger, and you give them Fabio with a beautiful, scantily-clad woman in his arms, you’re probably going to alienate a large part of your core audience. And vice-versa for you romance writers who are playing around with the idea of putting nothing more than a king’s crown on your cover.


Your primary goal, as an independent author at this stage of the publication process, should be to produce an end product that is virtually indistinguishable from the big publishing houses. If a reader can hold your book in one hand, and a book published by Simon and Schuster in the other, and see the difference immediately, you have failed. Remember, you’re trying to remove the obstacles between your reader and the checkout stand (virtual or otherwise). The cover is the first indication of the quality within, whether you abhor that statement or not. Look, I’m not telling you how the buying public should behave. I’m telling you how they do behave. And if your cover smacks of unprofessional quality, don’t be surprised when the reader buys the Simon and Schuster book instead.
For now, start studying professional-quality covers in your genre and see how the big boys do it. I’m not suggesting we start producing copy-cat cliche covers. But I am suggesting that we have a duty to produce covers that meet or exceed the quality of the big publishing houses. We owe this to our readers. We owe it to our own sense of professionalism.

Frankfurt Book Fair - The future of publishing

CONTEC 2014: The future of publishing

Big data expert Viktor Mayer-Schönberger on the future of publishing
Frankfurt am Main, 29/08/2014 - 

Innovative presentations, interactive discussions, diverse networking opportunities: the technology conference CONTEC will take place one day before the Frankfurt Book Fair (8–12 October 2014). In a large number of sessions, more than 40 international speakers will address the questions and trends affecting the international publishing and media industries.

As a leading expert on “big data”, the Austrian lawyer and academic Viktor Mayer-Schönberger will shine a light on the future of the international publishing market. With his major works, “Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age” and “Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work and Think”, he has become well known as both a warning voice and an advocate of digitisation, with all its dangers and opportunities. In his latest book, “Learning With Big Data: The Future of Education” (with Kenneth Cukier; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2014), he examines the changes being triggered by big data in the field of education.

Marvel at 75 and Grant Morrison’s The Multiversity: the month in comics

Graeme Virtue on the latest venture from the Scottish genius, involving a black Superman and the return of Captain Carrot!

The Multiversity
The Multiversity. Photograph: DC Comics
Alternate universes have existed in comics for as long as domino masks and BDSM subtexts. You might expect that Grant Morrison – the cult creator of The Invisibles and a dead ringer for Lex Luthor – would want to mount the biggest and most mindbending alternate universe story ever: the punky Scottish comics warlock has never met a fourth wall he couldn’t break. Perhaps more surprising is that Morrison has been given the keys to the kingdom of DC Comics with a mandate to birth a gigantic Russian doll of nested worlds, reviving dusty old characters and inventing radical new ones along the way.

The first issue of The Multiversity, an ambitious nine-issue mini-series Morrison has been talking up since 2009, deliberately sidesteps the familiar faces of the Justice League to spotlight Calvin Ellis, the black president Superman of Earth-23, and Captain Carrot, a volatile bunny in a cape, as they battle encroaching baddies The Gentry across 52 universes. These realms include one where all DC’s iconic superheroes are supercute Japanese chibi characters, and one where Santa Claus is real (or at least as real as Green Lantern, the space cop with a magic wishing ring). 

Academic Collects 2.6M Copyright-Free Images on Flickr


American academic Kalev Leetaru has been going through the Internet Archive to build a database of copyright-free photos online.

He has uploaded the collection and tagged them on Flickr. So far the collection boasts more than 2.6 million images.

BBC has the story: “The photos and drawings are sourced from more than 600 million library book pages scanned in by the Internet Archive organization. The images have been difficult to access until now. Mr Leetaru said digitisation projects had so far focused on words and ignored pictures. ‘For all these years all the libraries have been digitising their books, but they have been putting them up as PDFs or text searchable works,’ he told the BBC.”

David Mitchell: 'I've been calling The Bone Clocks my midlife crisis novel'

Cloud Atlas author David Mitchell is back with another multi-stranded, time-hopping epic, and he is favourite to win the Booker prize

David Mitchell author
'I've got my next five books planned out. That's probably going to take me till I'm 60' … David Mitchell. Photograph: Patrick Bolger for the Guardian

The novelist David Mitchell doesn't believe in the death of the book. "Books take hundreds of years to disappear, once they're printed. That's just a fact, isn't it?" he says, mock quizzically. "But the internet, that depends on a network of power grids. That's not a matter of opinion. And those grids depend on energy sources. That isn't just some liberal sandal-wearing Guardian attitude." He smiles. And as the oil and gas run out, he asks, "Where is the energy coming from?"
    That is one of the questions powering Mitchell's new book, The Bone Clocks, which is possibly his best novel yet. True to form, it features a set of interlocking stories in multiple genres. There is a teenage girl running away from home in the 1980s, a sociopathic Oxford undergraduate cavorting in the early 90s, the story of a war reporter, a literary satire about a novelist and his critic enemy, and an epilogue of dystopian near-future science fiction, with civilisation retreating in a global "Endarkenment". Irrupting into these stories, meanwhile, is a supernatural war. The good guys are a group of people who get reincarnated 49 days after they die, with full knowledge of their past lives. The bad guys achieve a kind of pseudo-immortality – they stop ageing, but can still be killed by violence or accident – by murdering psychic children, "decanting" their souls into an evil wine. "A book can't be a half-fantasy any more than a woman can be half-pregnant," a literary agent in the novel says, not having read this one

    Saturday, August 30, 2014

    Books Update from The New York Times

    'The Bone Clocks'

    In David Mitchell's "The Bone Clocks," a 15-year-old girl runs away from home in 1984 and becomes entrapped in an otherworldly battle between good and evil that will follow her for 60 years.
    Also in the Book Review
    Rick Perlstein

    Rick Perlstein: By the Book

    The author, most recently, of "The Invisible Bridge," would like Chekhov to write his life story. "Sometimes I think he knows me better than I know myself, even when he's ostensibly writing about Russian ladies over a hundred years ago."

    'Suspicious Minds'

    A psychiatrist and his philosopher brother discuss how mental illness reflects culture.

    'Your Face in Mine'

    A man undergoes a surgical procedure to transform from white to black.
    Andy Coulson in 2012 and Rebekah Brooks in 2011, before they were charged.

    'Hack Attack'

    David Carr reviews "Hack Attack," in which Nick Davies traces his campaign to uncover the full extent of the British phone-hacking scandal at Rupert Murdoch's News of the World.
    Brittani Sonnenberg

    'Home Leave'

    A restless executive subjects his family to an itinerant existence on three continents.

    'The Narrow Road to the Deep North'

    A frail humanity survives the unspeakable in Richard Flanagan's novel of the Burma-Thailand Railway.

    'Mr. Gwyn and Three Times at Dawn'

    A celebrated British author embarks on a strange new career in these linked novellas by Alessandro Baricco.
    Vanessa Manko

    'The Invention of Exile'

    A Russian immigrant, deported from the United States, attempts to reunite with his family.

    "A Jolt to the Heart" launched in Christchurch

    Felicity Price's eighth  was launched at  Paper Plus Merivale earlier this week.

    Set against the backdrop of a city in turmoil during the drama of destructive aftershocks, post-traumatic stress, and the strains of trying to rebuild lives and find a new normal for everyday existence, A Jolt to the Heart reveals the tremendous tenacity of people under pressure and the enduring power of love to overcome the odds. 

    Photo shows author Felicity Price with publisher Quentin Wilson.

    Journalist Revisits a Celebrity Biographer’s Fraudulent Ways

    The late author’s editor would not talk to reporter David Cay Johnston. Neither would Simon & Schuster spokesperson Paul Olewski.

    But there it is, nonetheless, detailed in the latest issue of Newsweek magazine. The litany of errors and fabrication committed by celebrity biographer C. David Heymann, who passed away two years ago in New York City:
    It’s too bad CBS didn’t want to hear more, because all the celebrity bios Heymann wrote for them and other publishers — dealing with JFK, Bobby Kennedy, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe — are riddled with errors and fabrications. An exhaustive cataloging of those mistakes would fill a book, so a sampling from his long career will have to suffice.

    Lincoln's Watchdog

    Shelf Awareness

    Ever-vigilant Sammy "acts as security" at the Abraham Lincoln Book Shop in Chicago, according to owner Daniel R. Weinberg.

    Who really won?! The speech awards from Wednesday night's New Zealand Post Book Awards

    Booksellers NZ- 

    Written by Elizabeth Heritage, freelance writer and publisher

    Tena koutou ladies and gentlemen, and welcome back to the second annual Elizabeth Heritage* New Zealand Post Book Awards Speech Awards. 
    These prestigious awards recognise excellence, wit and verbal strangeness in the speeches given at the NZ Post Book Awards ceremony by authors, judges, publishers, and associated distinguished personages.
    The first speaker, Nicola Legat, chairperson of the Book Awards Governance Group wins the Most Deft Handling Of One Of The Elephants In The Room Award. As we all know, this is the last year that New Zealand Post are sponsoring the book awards. Possibly in honour of the departing New Zealand Post logo, the whole space at Te Papa was decorated vivid red, including red lighting and red orchids entirely submerged in vases on all the tables (not a metaphor for NZ publishing, we do hope and trust). Legat, one of the first speakers, wasted no time in addressing this issue head on. Have they lost New Zealand Post sponsorship? Yes. Have they found a replacement corporate sponsor? No. On the upside, PANZ, the NZSA and Booksellers NZ will be forming a trust to take the awards forward.
    Congratulations to judge Miriama Kamo, who wins the Best Hint Award for warning us early in the evening that the winners were “not in all cases a foregone conclusion” (note precise phrasing) and that the judges were “absolutely confident in their decisions” (see Exciting Shock Revelation later on).
    This year’s Most Heartfelt Speech Award goes to Rebecca Macfie, author of Tragedy at Pike River Mine from Awa Press, which won the NZSA E. H. McCormick Best First Book for Non-fiction. Judge Dick Frizzell described her winning book as “passionately dispassionate,” and this was exactly the characteristic she displayed on the podium, speaking with authority, humility and gravitas. Bravo.
    Frizzell is also a winner - he gets the coveted Most Blokey Speech Award, for the way he interspersed his excellent prepared remarks with charmingly informal asides (“ya know what I mean? … it’s a winner, obviously, because it won”). I was also very taken with something he said to me afterwards about the judging process: “It felt good to be part of that distribution of worth.”
    Poet Vincent O’Sullivan, whose book Us, Then won the Poetry Award, is the recipient of the Vive La Revolution! Award. He quoted Kiwi poet ARD Fairburn, who said “poets of the world, unite! – you have nothing to lose but your daisy chains”, before noting that there are currently more publishing poets in Aotearoa than there are Commisioned Officers in our armed forces. He ended with a battle cry: it’s not too late to take the barricades!
    Sir Michael Cullen once again picks up the Most Off-Topic Speech Award, managing to pretend to talk about the book awards while actually delivering several well-placed political barbs: “I have not received an apology [for non-attendance tonight] from Judith Collins, but then why should we be singled out”; he can’t wait for John Key’s autobiography Look, At The End Of The Day and Winston Peters’ My Life And Death As A Stand-Up Comic. This got a good laugh - though not as much as the audio track from the finalists promo video (particularly the sounds accompanying Max Gate).
    Congratulations to judge Kim Hill, who wins the Most Deft Handling Of The Other Elephant In The Room Award. Naturally we were all expecting the superstar The Luminaries to sweep the board. Our first hint that this may not in fact be the case came when it failed to win the the Neilsen Booksellers’ Choice Award. There was an audible ‘hmm’ noise of taken-abackedness in the room. When it won the People’s Choice Award and the Fiction Award, we were all lulled into a false sense of security. But – Exciting Shock Revelation – it is not the Book of the Year! Instead, that honour goes to Jill Trevelyan’s splendid biography of iconic Wellington art dealer Peter McLeavey, from Te Papa Press.
    Hill commented that The Luminaries “polarises readers”, drawing some in immediately but not hooking others ‘til the end. It didn’t polarise the judges though - when I asked Frizzell whether the judges’ decision was unanimous, he replied “oh, shit yeah”. So why did McLeavey win? “Jill’s book just cleaved closer to home” (we paused while I acknowledged his excellent pun) “It’s about our cultural evolution as a nation”. Hill agreed: “it’s descriptive of a huge era”.
    Finally, I am excited to announce that Eleanor Catton is the first ever recipient of the new Genius Book Angel Award. As an inveterate attender of booky events, I have heard her speak many times now, and she always impresses me with her grace and mana. Tonight was no exception. Graciously, she announced that all her prize money from tonight’s winnings would be put towards a grant for writers to enable them to take time to read. This grant does not yet have a name, although Catton is thinking maybe horoeka (lancewood), since that is a tree that “begins life defensively then becomes more confident”. What an absolutely fantastic idea. I agree wholeheartedly with an overheard comment from the audience: “she just gets it so utterly right every single bloody time.”
    So that’s it for 2014: congratulations to all the finalists and winners. Sponsorship willing, I’ll see you all again for more strange and marvellous book awards speeches next year. 
    Share your opinion of the book awards with Elizabeth Heritage at 
    Written by Elizabeth Heritage, freelance writer and publisher

    * Elizabeth's views are her own, and are not representative of the view of Booksellers NZ, the Book
    Awards Governance Group, or New Zealand Post. 

    Amis novel rejected by German publisher

    Martin Amis’ new novel The Zone of Interest, set in a fictionalised Auschwitz, was turned down by the author’s usual publisher in Germany, Hanser, The Guardian reports.

    Gallimard, Amis' customary publisher in France, will also not publish the book, which is to appear instead from publisher Calmann-Lévy.
    Amis reportedly told German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that the manuscript wasn't "sufficiently convincing" for publisher Hanser, which has published his five previous books. No other publisher has yet bought the German rights.

    In his interview with the German paper, Amis said he thought Hanser had rejected the book on literary merit, not because of the subject matter. "Germany has reached a stage where younger people are eager to talk about the past, and the country has developed a sober perspective on that criminal period in its history. That's why I was surprised when the publisher rejected the book," he said.
    The publisher did not understand the main character, SS officer Angelus "Golo" Thomsen, he added.
    Amis said he thought Gallimard rejected the book because of a change in editorial direction, not because of a problem with the subject matter.

    Bruce Springsteen to publish children's book

    Outlaw Pete is based on his 2009 song about a bank-robbing baby

    Bruce Springsteen: children’s book is ‘a meditation on sin, fate and free will’
    Following in the footsteps of musicians including Paul McCartney, Madonna and Dolly Parton, Bruce Springsteen has written a children’s book.
    Titled Outlaw Pete, the book is based on Springsteen’s 2009 song of the same name, and was illustrated by Frank Caruso.
    The publishers Simon & Schuster said that the book is “based on the celebrated song about a bank-robbing baby whose exploits become a meditation on sin, fate, and free will.”
    Bruce Springsteen Outlaw Pete
    Bruce Springsteen’s book Outlaw Pete.

    Inside Dr. Seuss Inc.

    Most children's book franchises fade over time, but Dr. Seuss's fantastical empire is hatching more sales than ever; Horton trumpets 'Anti-Bullying Day'

    Aug. 28, 2014 - The Wall Street Journal
    Theodor Seuss Geisel died in 1991. The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images

    In the early 1950s, a former ad man and modestly successful children's book author published a series of illustrated stories for children in magazines like Redbook. They were short, two-to-three page spreads with stamp-sized drawings and minimal coloring. He hoped to publish them in book form but another project gained steam.
    In 1957, he published a book that became an immediate best seller, turning him into a global publishing phenomenon. By approaching learning to read as zany and fun instead of boring and dull, the book altered the children's literature landscape. His name was Theodor Seuss Geisel and the book was called "The Cat in the Hat." While some of the magazine stories eventually made it into a book during his lifetime, others never did.

    Cathy Goldsmith, an executive for Random House, is the last remaining employee to have worked directly with Geisel. Noah Rabinowitz for The Wall Street Journal

    On Sept. 9, Random House will publish "Horton and the Kwuggerbug and More Lost Stories," the second collection of Dr. Seuss's forgotten magazine work. The previous volume, "The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories," reached No.1 on the New York Times best-seller list when it was released in 2011. Random House is betting even bigger on "Horton," with an extensive marketing campaign and a large first print-run of 250,000 copies. "It tickles me that a whole new generation will get to read and experience these characters, some new and some familiar," said 

    Space Opera strikes up again for a new era

    From Guardians of the Galaxy to Ancillary Justice, sci-fi is returning to alien worlds where distinctly earthly, political dramas play out

    Friday 29 August 2014   

    NASA Robonaut 2
    Invitation to new worlds … NASA's Robonaut 2. Photograph: Keystone USA-ZUMA/REX

    Science fiction is not a genre. The most successful literary tradition of the 20th century is as impossible to neatly categorise as the alien life forms it sometimes imagines. But "sci-fi" does contain genres. The rigorous scientific speculation of Hard SF. The techno-cynicism of Cyberpunk, or its halfwit cousin Steampunk. The pulp fictions of Planetary romance and the dark visions of the sci-fi Post-Apocalypse. These genres flow in and out of fashion like the solar winds. After years condemned to the outer darkness of secondhand bookshops, Space Opera is once again exciting the imagination of sci-fi fans.

    At the box office Guardians of the Galaxy has resurrected the kind of camp space adventure made popular by Flash Gordon, while on the printed page Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie has scooped the prestigious double honour of Hugo and Nebula awards. Stories of space exploration have never lacked popularity. In the early 20th century when it was still possible to think space might be crowded with alien civilisations, stories like EE "Doc" Smith's Lensman series were immensely popular. But as we probed the reality of outer space we found only infinities of inert matter and a barren solar system.