Commonwealth Writers Prize nominations announced

This year’s Commonwealth Writers Prize is being hosted here in New Zealand.  In 2007 a Kiwi author was triumphant with Lloyd Jones’ Mister Pip coming up trumps.  Will this be repeated in 2009 to the delight of the home crowd?  Who knows?

The New Zealand authors who feature in the shortlist are Paula Morris for Forbidden Cities (Best book), Mo Zhi Hong for the young adult novel The year of the Shanghai shark and Bridget van de Zijpp for Misconduct (both nominated in the Best First Book category).

My money would be on Aravind Adiga to win something given his double nomination.  His debut White Tiger has already picked up the Man Booker and is nominated again for Best First Book, and his second offering Between the Assassinations is up for Best Book.  It’s good to be Aravind, I think.

The award winners will be announced in May as part of the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival.

Necrology – February 2 to February 20, 2009

Necrology – a list of notable people who have died recently. Now a regular feature on our blog.

  • Ted Bracey, 1936-2009
    Well known New Zealand artist and art educator
  • Blossom Dearie, 1926-2009
    Jazz singer and pianist, one of the great interpreters of American song in the post-war era
  • Hugh Leonard, 1926-2009
    Pugnacious playwright who led the post-war Irish dramatic revival and relished literary battles
  • Ian Prior, 1923-2009
    Distinguished New Zealand epidemiologist whose life work was dedicated to the improvement of public health. Also a collecor and patron of the arts
  • Edward Upward, 1903-2009
    Gifted writer admired by Auden and Isherwood but whose early promise remained unfulfilled

The most popular nude guy in Hollywood

He’s featureless, naked, and holding a sword. If it weren’t for the fact that he’s plated in 24-karat gold and just over a foot tall, he’d be the stuff of nightmares but as the emblem of the Academy Awards, Oscar is the guy that everyone wants.

I’ve always enjoyed watching the Oscars, especially the extravagances of the red carpet, but I’d never really thought about the behind-the-scenes dramas that must play out when you’re putting on the most watched awards show in the world. The egos alone must be hell to juggle. Maybe Oscar is a nightmare after all?

I do like a bit of a Hollywood exposé so I’ve really enjoyed dipping into The big show: High times and dirty dealings backstage at the academy awards. In it author Steve Pond gives an insider’s view of the Oscars, behind the glamour and velvet curtains, with candid backstage photos of some of the film industries biggest names. There’s quite a bit of swearing and a lot of concern over the visibility of nipples (both Julianne Moore’s and Jamie Lee Curtis’s get a mention) among other things and when I watch this year’s ceremony (on Monday 23 February, NZ time), I think I’ll be wondering about all the Academy staffers running around frenetically backstage trying to keep the Oscar beast in check…