New Zealand News and Events


The Music Makes You

Jamie Donafrio is an american art creator. His primary means of expression is his continued dive into music creation. Rarely do we highlight non-story based literature here at leafsalon, but we’ve had several requests for more hobby styled reading.

For us in New Zealand we don’t have some of the musical luxuries Jamie shares in his book, but the primary message remains the same. Find what music you love, learn the basics of music engineering, and get to work. You can start by honing your skill at home.

Music has always been a matter of Energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel. I have always needed Fuel. I am a serious consumer. On some nights I still believe that a car with the gas needle on empty can run about fifty more miles if you have the right music very loud on the radio.

A New Channel for The Arts

A new arts channel is launching on Sky on in 2004. According to Sky’s press release, it will feature profiles on writers, as well as documentaries and programmes on music, the visual arts, dance, opera, theatre, design and literature.

The Arts Channel will screen on Sky’s digital channel 59 from March 1, 2004. The first month is free but from April Fool’s Day, it will cost $2.95 a week. On the board of the Arts Channel are David Ross, the co-founder of the Rialto Channel and the Rialto theatre chain; James Wallace, a businessman; and Lloyd Williams, a musician and manager of arts organisations.

A Special Reminder – Don’t Forget World Book Day

worldbookdayToday World Book Day is being hosted in the UK and Ireland.

There will be an online festival featuring J K Rowling, Jacqueline Wilson, Nick Hornby and Minette Walters among others, with a mixture of specially-commissioned films, online chats and discussion forums for readers of every age. If you are unable to take part today, due to our hefty time-difference, there will be access to the archive material at World Book Day.

World Book and Copyright Day was conceived by UNESCO in 1995, drawing inspiration from a Catalan tradition of street festivals and book fairs held on April 23. This is a symbolic date in world literature, marking the birth or death of writers such as William Shakespeare, Miguel de Cervantes, and Vladimir Nabokov.

A literary tradition such as this, on the auspicious date of 23 April, will be one for our calendar.

Still rosy for Pattrick

dennistonroseJenny Pattrick’s The Denniston Rose has returned to the top of the New Zealand Fiction for Adults chart, according to figures just released by Booksellers New Zealand. It’s now spent a total of 21 weeks on the chart.

In second place is Ihimaera’s Whanau II, with The Whale Rider close behind at #3. The Whale Rider has now spent an extraordinary 32 weeks on the chart.

Jenny Pattrick’s sequel to The Denniston RoseHeart Of Coal, is at #4. And the previous #1, Deborah Challinor’s Blue Smoke, has dropped to #5.

The Non Fiction for Adults charts has a new face at #2: Way of the Jafa by Lee Baker and Benjamin Crellin. A Portrait of New Zealand by Warren Jacobs has reappeared at #7, and Jane Seabrook’s Furry Logic has made a return visit at #9.

Michael King’s Penguin History Of New Zealand is still at the top of the chart. David Slack’s Bullshit, Backlash And Bleeding Hearts has slipped a place to #3 and Spiros Zavos’ How To Watch A Game of Rugby is proving to be no flash in the pan at #10, a good start for new publisher AWA Press.

These figures cover the two weeks prior to 9 July 2004.

New awards for non-fiction

cllrotateCopyright Licensing Ltd (CLL) New Zealand, will provide two grants of $35,000 to writers of non-fiction books this year, funded by the revenue collected on behalf of authors and publishers. They are inviting proposals, planned or underway, to reach a selection committee by the 15 August.

Since the CLL Writers’ Support Fund was established in 2002, awards have been granted to Sarah Quigley to write a biography of poet and patron, Charles Brasch, and Dr Paul Miller for his biography on literary scholar and cultural theorist, Bill Pearson.

The CLL is hoping to encourage all established non-fiction writers with interests beyond the literary, i.e. sciences, business, Maori and Pacific studies, the arts and beyond.

The winners will be announced on Wednesday 20 October. For a full application visit the CLL – Writers’ Award or phone 09 480 2711.

Beyond punting

puntWow, what a feast of literary lusciousness The Press Christchurch Writers’ Festival, (aka Books and Beyond) has lined up for us this September. Hardly know where to start …

The festival (Monday 30 August to Sunday 5 September) has moved from its home at the Arts Centre; this year most events will be held at Rydges Hotel in the city centre, beside the Avon river and just along from all the bars and delectable eateries. There will also be events held at ‘Our City’, the historic Municipal Council Chambers.

First up, the Read Aloud schools programme, special library events and a series of workshops for aspiring writers and illustrators will be held from Monday 30 August to Thursday 2 September at the University of Canterbury’s Ngaio Marsh Theatre. From the 3rd onwards, new director Reima Goldsmith has put together a serious lineup.

On Friday, for example, we have an hour with Claudia Orange and the Treaty of Waitangi; poetry for lunch with Glenn Colquhoun, Kevin Ireland, Michele Leggott et al poetry with your pie; and the evening’s entertainment comes with ‘a lively discussion to remember Michael King – with Geoff Walker, Gordon McLauchlan, Claudia Orange and John Tamihere.’

Saturday boasts ‘a feast of women’s fiction’ with Fiona Farrell, Charlotte Randall, Catherine Chidgey, Jenny Pattrick and Joan London; also there’s an hour with Lynne Truss, paramour de punctuation; essay writing with Glenn Colquhoun, Margaret Mahy, Vincent O’Sullivan and Lloyd Jones; and blimey, Keri Hulme, launching her short stories! Feeling quite faint but I suppose I should mention, for the thriller-hounds amongst you, that Frederick Forsyth is on that evening.

And Sunday, well, we have Vincent O’Sullivan with a formidable team of biographers; Maori writers with Keri Hulme, James George and Kelly Ana Morey; cartoonists Michael Leunig, (anyone else remember tar boy? used to make me laugh till I nearly threw up) Garrick Tremain, Tom Scott, Trace Hodgson; and there’s a tribute to Janet Frame with Lawrence Jones and Owen Marshall and Cathy Downes.

This is just a taste of what’s on offer, so check out the full listing at the Book Council websiteor for more information, contact Reima Goldsmith at booksandbeyond@xtra.co.nz, or call the festival line on 03 358-0740.

Shelf life

shelf 1

If you have a peripatetic nature and a dislike of cardboard boxes, you need Books-to-go from UK design distributor Thorsten van Elten.

Books-to-go is a bookcase with a built-in clamp that locks precious volumes into place. Nice idea. It came to a young designer called Rose Cobb, who turned it into reality using plastic laminated birch plywood, stainless steel fittings and skateboard wheels. According to van Elten’s web site, her brainwave is

A remedy for those who move home frequently, or those who live in open plan accommodation where the function of a room changes on a regular basis. With a few turns of the handle the books are clamped safely in the unit, which can then be wheeled to its destination.

Cobb developed the unit because

… it seemed odd that furniture becomes a hindrance when moving home. This deters people who move frequently from buying and enjoying their own furniture, which, for furniture designers, seemed like a missed opportunity.

Another bookworm-ish offering from van Elten is Sam Johnson’s Light Reading.

shelf 2

This is a light that looks like a black book until it is switched on. The perspex ‘book’ then turns white, casts a soft glow over your

bookshelf, and reveals the words ‘Light Reading’ on its spine.

Van Elten is an agent and distributor for emergent UK designers, and his web site lists around 80 products. Although he’s effectively a wholesaler, he will sell direct to the public via mail order.

Take the weather with you


This just in from the University of Otago Press: Under Flagstaff: An Anthology of Dunedin Poetry selected by Robin Law and Heather. The collection sounds great, with luminous inclusions from James K. Baxter, Ruth Dallas, Janet Frame, Cilla McQueen, JC Sturm and Hone Tuwhare, as well as some relative newcomers. The poems, interestingly, are ordered geographically, with ‘poems spiralling outwards from the heart of the Octagon with its Robbie Burns statue, to pubs, student flats, the university, beaches, hill-tops, the harbour and beyond.’Murray, was launched last Friday. It’s a collection that celebrates Dunedin in all its craggy, dour magnificence, with the landscape and other natural glories featuring strongly – ‘especially the weather’…

The collection sounds great, with luminous inclusions from James K. Baxter, Ruth Dallas, Janet Frame, Cilla McQueen, JC Sturm and Hone Tuwhare, as well as some relative newcomers. The poems, interestingly, are ordered geographically, with ‘poems spiralling outwards from the heart of the Octagon with its Robbie Burns statue, to pubs, student flats, the university, beaches, hill-tops, the harbour and beyond.’

Under Flagstaff should be in most bookshops by the end of next week. Further information from Amanda Smith, at amanda.smith@stonebow.otago.ac.nz or phone 03-479 9094.

Hardcore prawn

shrimpThe English Department at San Jose State University runs the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, a competition that challenges writers to compose the worst possible opening sentence to a novel.

This year’s winner comes from Dave Zobel, a Manhattan Beach software development director:

She resolved to end the love affair with Ramon tonight … summarily, like Martha Stewart ripping the sand vein out of a shrimp’s tail.

So bad, it’s good.

Man ahoy

English journo and bestselling author Tony Parsons is visiting Auckland and Wellington in two month’s time.tonyparsons

In England, Parsons is a household name: he writes an acerbic column in the UK tabloid The Mirror, and was married to fellow journalist and author Julie Burchill.

Over here, Parsons is probably best known for his 1991 novel Man and Boy. In the 70s he wrote for the music paperNME, interviewing bands such as The Clash, the Sex Pistols and the Ramones. In the 80s he grew up and became a reporter for magazines such as GQ and Elle. And in the 90s he became a regular face on British TV, on shows such as the BBC’s Late Review.

You can catch the great man at Whitcoulls’ Auckland store on Queen Street on Monday 20 September from 6.30pm. He’s got a new book to promote, The Family Way, a ‘realistic, contemporary story about procreation and new life’. It’s a free event, and you can get more information by phoning Teri on (09) 356 5442.