Most wanted

coverNot to be outdone in giddying-up for The Press Christchurch Writers Festival, I have compiled a list of authors with the most.

Author with the most taonga possibilities – Patrick Evans. Impossible to top the Evans family placemats shared with the audience during his recent lecture at the Christchurch Art Gallery on post-colonial  literary theory and his book The Long Forgetting, but he can try.

Authors with the best programme promise – Liam McIlvanney and Iggy McGovern as they look at “a shared history of religious bigotry, political violence and alcohol abuse”. With accents.

Author whose book I have had read aloud to me the most – Emily Maguire.  As far as a 19-year-old of my acquaintance is concerned this woman invented feminism.  We’ll see about that when she’s on the panel with Marilyn Waring.

CoverAuthor rarely seen but much admired – Rosemary McLeod. Also the author who doesn’t write enough books. Particularly looking forward to the immaculate bob and  the jewellery.

Author seen before and also much admired – Alexa Johnston. A stand-out at  Auckland Readers and Writers 2009.

But it’s not all beer and skittles at writers festivals, literary liggers have worries too and my biggest is what to wear to Ladies, a Plateand the New Zealand Fashion Design event at Christchurch Art Gallery.  A library T-shirt probably.

I can’t stop but I don’t care!

So, I’m new to this. I’m contributing to the Library blog for the first time, and it’s The Press Christchurch Writers Festival no less. I’m thinking three words;  jump and deep end!

I have at present more books than I know what to do with. At home – by my bed, on the coffee table, on the floor by the couch and on my desk at work and they are being dipped into, being read or scanned quickly. All to ready myself for the people and their stories, which I’m hoping to absorb at the festival

CoverLast weekend was spent being moved and inspired by the lives and photographs within Mark Beehre’s Men Alone – Men Together and I’m so looking forward to listening to him talk about the journey both he and the men he talked to took to get their lives on paper.

My night time reading is a mad mash up of memories of a New Brighton childhood courtesy of Bruce Ainsley’s Gods and Little Fishes, Owen Marshall’s latest selection of poems, Sleepwalking in Antarctica, and Rachael King’s The Sound of Butterflies.

CoverThe coffee table has Home:  Civilian New Zealanders remember the Second World War by Alison Parr, and a few more poetry books piled on top, including Cup by Alison Wong, who has just won the New Zealand Post Book Awards for her debut novel, As the Earth Turns Silver.

I will hopefully get to listen to All of the above authors at sessions at the festival – find out what they love about their craft, where they get inspiration and also find out if they have a passion for  libraries and all they can offer!

Not only are the new and old  book smells filling my nostrils and keeping me keen, but I’m hoping being in the presence of greatness at the festival will inspire me to finish all my bits of short stories and novels and stuff that at present just taking up space on my computer’s hard drive.

Forward to the festival, forward to enlightenment!

Would you like a Mexican with that?

Cover image for "Viva la Revolucion" cooking book.I arrived here 12 years ago from far, far away ( Cancun, Mexico to be more precise) and in that time I’ve managed to become a fully fledged Mexi-Kiwi. I know all about the Treaty, I’ve grown to love whitebait patties and pineapple lumps, I have lots of Kiwi friends and I’ve even had a dabble at learning Te Reo.

Whenever I mention my country, I usually get appreciative nods and an immediate “I loooove Mexican food“.  That puts me in a strange position. On one side I am feel proud to come from a country which boasts a world-famous gastronomy. On the other…I feel a bit of a sham. I have a feeling most people would be shocked it they knew that the Mexican food they know and love is not really that Mexican!

Mexican food is very different from what most people in NZ think it is. I had never seen a hard shell taco until I went to Taco Bell in Miami, and my first burrito was at age 25, in Los Angeles. Unfortunately most people’s impression on Mexican food is mince stuffed, sour cream covered, ultra deep-fried creations invented in the States.

Real Mexican food is not something you will find in any fast food outlet. It is fresh, full of flavour and amazingly varied. Oh, and the heat is optional. Yes, you heard right, chilli is something that we do eat a lot of , but unlike what some people might think, not all food is hot!

So have a go, get yourself a Mexican recipe book and try it out. I’d be surprised if your opinion changes, you’ll still love Mexican food but at least you’ll know that you love the real thing!