Re-Draft: where publication is the prize

posterAre you passionate about writing? Always wanted to be published? Then Re-Draft is the competition for you!

This annual event for New Zealand’s teenage writers is organised by Dr Glyn Strange , director of the School for Young Writers, and judged by Tessa Duder and James Norcliffe.  You can submit poetry, stories, scripts or songs which are then judged.  Each entrant can submit up to three pieces of work. Successful writers will then be published in Re-Draft.

Here’s an excerpt  from a  poem written by Emily Adlam in last year’s edition of Re-Draft, The world’s steepest street:

It was not the same
Where are they, all my lost places?
I went back, but found only emptiness.
The smell was of cinnamon traces
instead of burnt varnish; the air
touched differently, as if it had learnt tenderness
for someone else.
The past was not on display in glass cases.
Maps and addresses are no use to me
and there is no convenient office
where I may reclaim my property.

Moving, moody, funny clever – there certainly is an abundance of talent out there.  Get your hands on a copy of ‘The world’s Steepest Street’, read it and re-read it, then write you own literary masterpiece!

Entry forms  can only be found in the back of the book  (which you can photocopy at your local library) or buy a copy through the School for Young Writers . Entries close 30 September 2011.

Following the Christchurch Writers’ Trail

Denis Glover Denis Glover, Blanche Baughan, A.K. Grant, Elsie Locke. That used to be my route to work.

You might have spotted those names, and others, on plaques about town. They form part of  The Christchurch Writers’ Trail.

Many plaques aren’t accessible at the moment,  but I’d like to think the Christchurch rebuild could enhance and add to the Writers’ Trail. We’ve definitely got more local writers and poets to celebrate.

Displaced Reader – Harbour views

Photo of Lyttelton  Library visitThe Displaced Reader has been on holiday – possibly due to having my local library reopening and the lovely autumn gardening weather.  Said weather (and how much longer it might last) finally prompted me to plan a trip through the tunnel to Lyttelton library.

I had visions of a scary trip with trucks and there were a few. Also it is important to note that you can sometimes get held up if a special cargo has to be escorted through the tunnel. But once on the other side the sun was shining and battered Lyttelton was revealed. It was shocking to see the damage and the changed aspect of the main street. On the positive side some shops have reopened, there is rebuilding as well as demolition and a lot more sun shines down the street.

Lyttelton library sits cheerfully pink and bathed in sunshine. Inside it is all bustle as preschool story time is in full voice. The place has a nice relaxed feel and there are quiet corners. The usual excellent choice of stock is on display. It was a library I’d love to visit on a more regular basis. I took a few happy snaps to capture my impressions.

Outside you can’t keep good coffee lovers down and there were five caffeine and food options handy to the library including a stall outside and the funky Loons around the corner. Fish and chips were also a harbourside option. A Saturday trip would give the opportunity to visit Lyttelton Market as well. The port still bustles and the harbour is revealed at every corner. The number 28  bus runs regularly to Lyttelton and also down to the ferries. Pick a nice day and add on a trip to Diamond Harbour. I’d recommend a visit soon.

I’m handing over the Displaced baton to Bronnypop who’s first assignment keeps the harbour theme going – Diamond Harbour library.

Mō tātou, ā, mō kā uri, ā muri ake nei – For us and our children after us: TEDxEQChCh

TEDxEQChChNgāi Tahu’s vision brings together the essence of TEDxEQChCh last Saturday, 21 May 2011. Over 700 people gathered at Burnside to be invigorated by outstanding speakers. Internauts from all over the globe watched the live stream online. Coincidentally, TEDxTokyo was held on the same day.

Decorative rubble, safety hats and high visibility vests were displayed on a stage where Bob Parker restated his intention to make Christchurch safe and community led.

In order to make this happen, have you added your ten cents yet? Share your ideas!

Popular topics were sustainability, achieving certainty from uncertainty and creating an iconic city not a boring one. As Karen Blincoe pointed out, sustainability can be quite a broad term. My favorite definition is the one coined in 1983 by the Norwegian Prime Minister for the UN: “Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

If you would like more information about this event, read this impressive coverage by a 16-year-old Christchurch student.

Hope is in the air. There are a lot of good ideas around, now they just need to happen.

Christchurch is bringing the music on back

It’s all on.

You can now starting booking for your NZSO concerts for the year and I am assured that the CSO will not be far behind (make sure you keep an eye on their website over the next couple of weeks, or the newspaper from mid June).

There is a new tent village going into Hagley Park where Canterbury Celebration Theatre will be presenting the Wintergarden Season, a mix of cabaret, music and Kidsfest events. It is also expected to host the Jazz Festival and Arts Festival, New Zealand Cup and Show Week, and World Buskers Festival later in the year.

All of a sudden I’m feeling just a bit more happier about winter coming on.

Say Hello to magazines

If you stand in the magazine section of your local library, you get to see your whole life flash before your very eyes without going to all the bother of getting wet and drowning.

All the enthusiasms of the past are on display, like Parenting and Burda mags for me. Hard to believe I once made a garment from Burda. Nowadays just understanding the pattern and refolding it to fit would probably stave off Alzheimers for a few years to come.

In these post-you-know-what days, mags are flying off the shelves. Which just goes to show that they have not suffered the predicted drop in popularity with the advent of internet. In fact, linking to mags on internet is the new symbiotic triumph. Have a look at Marion’s blog to find out how to get the best out of our on-line resources.

I think it was Oprah who once said in her namesake mag: if  surfing the net is like speed dating and  diving into a book is like a full-blown relationship, then reading a magazine is the equivalent of having a really good fling (without, might I add, any of the expense of having to invest in new undies).

While you are down in the mag hood, treat yourself to a little magazine therapy. Connect with the person you are soon to be (The Oldie for me), the person you’d like to be now (Red) and the person you very narrowly missed becoming (Shambhala Sun) and wonder afresh at who it could possibly be that regularly indulges in flings with Scale Military Models International!

Left Neglected: Recommended by Jodi Picoult … and me

Cover image of "Left Neglected"There is nothing particularly remarkable about the way Lisa Genova writes, but for some reason I couldn’t put her novel Left Neglected down. My life is nothing like the main character’s: I’m not married; I don’t have any children; I’m not especially career driven, nor do I dream about having a big house in the suburbs; and my brain doesn’t ignore information on the left side of the world. Yet I was completely and utterly engrossed in Sarah Nickerson’s journey to recovery from a traumatic brain injury.

I had never heard of the fascinating neurological syndrome Left Neglect until I picked up this book, but apparently it’s quite common. Lisa Genova has a PhD in neuroscience and obviously did extensive research on the syndrome in order to write about it.

I found myself covering my left eye at times to try to understand what it would be like to think that the left side of the page I am reading or the food on the left side of my plate doesn’t exist because my brain can’t register it. I tried to imagine not being able to feel my left arm or leg, as if these limbs were separate from the rest of me, as if they belonged to someone else entirely.

It was Jodi Picoult’s rave review printed on the cover of Left Neglected that made me want to read this book. I’m glad I did. While there are many differences between Sarah and I, there is one key experience I could relate to, and this is what I loved most about her story: I understand what it’s like to have your life changed forever in an instant; everything you have to adjust to and adjust within yourself as a result; and how, no matter what difficulties you must now face, you can always find the hidden blessing if you allow yourself to really look.

What books have you picked up just because another author you like has recommended it? Did you agree with their praise?

Rachel Dawick and Tirsi play for New Zealand Music Month

Rachel Dawick came to Christchurch as part of her ‘Follow my Tears’ tour, during which she hopes to collect stories of women in nineteenth century New Zealand to turn into songs. When I arrived at Hornby Library, Rachel was already deep in conversation with her audience. They were discussing the untold stories of New Zealand’s first woman magician, a woman bullock team driver and an early twentieth century woman racing driver. Their theory was that women have always done these things, but their stories disappear rather than making it into the history books. Rachel’s performance deserved a bigger audience, she sings her well crafted original songs with panache and uses them to tell stories in a most absorbing way.

Tirsi, at South Library, were a rare treat. In fact I think this is the first time I have heard Renaissance music performed live in Christchurch. I was drawn into their performance space by the sound of a very pure female voice as it floated out over the bookstacks. It was the voice of Lois Johnston and she was accompanied beautifully on the lute by Jonathan Le Cocq.

These were also musician that communicated well with their audience, taking us on a tour of Renaissance Europe around 1600 in song and imparting interesting facts along the way. Did you know the lute was so widely played at the time that they used to hang them on the walls of barber shops so that customers could play them whilst waiting for a haircut? Altogether it was a charming performance and deserved the enthusiastic reception it gained from the audience.

Love those lists! Have a play in our new BiblioCommons catalogue

CoverHave you taken a look at our new library catalogue yet? I’ve spent quite a bit of time exploring BiblioCommons recently, and I think I like it… a lot. It’s the perfect place for opinionated people like me to go and be, well, opinionated. You can speak your mind about library materials you love or hate, agree or disagree with other people’s comments, tell everyone what (or what not to) read, watch or listen to, and much, much more.

During my adventures in BiblioCommons, I’ve come across lots of weird and wonderful lists other librarians and library users have made. Here is a collection of my favourites (of what I’ve seen so far):





Live music is just the thing …

The LoonsFinding some great live music in a funky venue in Christchurch is a bit tricky these days, so I was pretty happy when I arrived to a packed Loons bar in Lyttelton last Wednesday night.

Two groups, the Pony Club and Sumo Jazz, ripped into some pretty impressive stuff and the audience was deeply appreciative. They are part of the New Music Collective  –  an initiative to simply get live music out there. The launch night session was a great start;  I’m hoping to catch Greg Malcolm and the Silencio quartet next time.

The “mood lighting” in the Loons bar provided a suitably groovy atmosphere – I think it was the upside-down lamp stands dangling from the ceiling that did it for me. Every second Wednesday local musicians of all genres will be performing, giving us a chance to think local when it comes to live music.

The music section on the library website has a section devoted to the Christchurch music scene. Check out the timeline, the poster collection and there’s even a bit about past venues. More live music can be heard in libraries over the rest of the month.

Speaking of music venues, it might be nice to share some memories about some loved but not lost (hopefully not in our minds anyway) old favourite music spots. I am already missing Poplar Lane sessions …

Every month is music month though, where do you go these days?