Chatting with the locals

With Laurence Fearnley in Christchurch

Have you ever fantasised about having a chat with any of our local authors?

Whether this would be a dream come true for you, or your worst nightmare, you might enjoy having a look at some of the interviews that intrepid librarians have already conducted with local authors on your behalf.

What’s it like to get up-close-and-personal with an author whose work you love?

First read that author’s books! Sounds obvious, but… interviewers have been caught short before. You’ll start to feel confident. At this point, don’t be tempted to read other interviewers with their super cunning questions, it will crush you. The day of the interview dawns and you walk with boots of lead to the venue thinking all the while: Why, why, why do I do this to myself? The interview starts and amazingly, the esteemed author is a lovely, interesting talker as well as a gifted writer. At some point there is interview lift-off and you feel high. Back home, you transcribe the interview (this is so much easier to do if you remembered to switch on the recorder). And then it is all over. Until next time.

I counted at least twenty interviews with New Zealand writers at this library link; here’s a couple to get you started:

  • Paul Cleave Christchurch-based author of taut, psychological thrillers who has achieved international recognition
  • Sarah-Kate Lynch and Bronwyn talk food, drink, love and white pj’s in this fun interview
  • Laurence Fearnley  and I love the same book – one of hers – so that was a good start!
  • Fiona Kidman talks friendship and writing with Rachel

Top of my list of Kiwi writers to interview in the future would be Lloyd Jones and Shonagh Koea. How about you? Any New Zealand author you’d like to chat to, and what would you really like to ask?

Singularity – New Zealand e-book month

Charlotte Grimshaw’s collection of interlinked stories, Opportunity, was shortlisted for the 2007 Frank O’Connor International Prize, and won New Zealand’s premier award for fiction, the 2008 Montana Book Award. She has described Opportunity as a single, unified composition, less a series of stories than a novel with a large cast of characters.

In Singularity, her powerful new collection, she has continued to develop the structure she explored in Opportunity. Characters from that book reappear, and new characters are added. The stories in Singularity cover a wide range of territory, from childhood innocence to adult desperation, from the depths of poverty to cushioned affluence, from London to Los Angeles, Ayers Rock in Australia to the black sand beaches of New Zealand’s wild west coast.

The stories can be read as discrete pieces, yet each contributes to a unifying narrative. Richly detailed, vivid with local colour, each story is an inspection of human motive and of the complex ties that bind five principal characters together.

You can read Singularity as an e-book from our Overdrive collection.

Singularity  is also available as a paper book.

Making jam, making love, some big questions and great pictures: Cool stuff from the selectors

Love with a chance of drowning: A memoir by Torre DeRoche.
Ivan, a handsome Argentinian obviously ticked all the right boxes for this author as she battled seasickness and a morbid fear of water to accompany him a year-long voyage across the Pacific.  Good to read if you like a touch of romance with your travel!

Jambusters: the story of the Women’s Insitute in the Second World War by Julie Summers and A green and pleasant land : How England’s gardeners fought the Second World War by Ursula Buchan

Two books about working as a community, making do, thriftiness, recycling, and mucking in.  You will find these books in our history section, but the lessons learned are just as relevant today.

Fifty shades of feminism by Lisa Appignanesi
50 years after the publication of the Feminine Mystique and following in the footsteps of another type of Fifty shades, fifty women reflect on what being a woman means for them today. Contributors include some well-known writers eg  Siri Hustvedt, Kathy Lette, Kate Mosse and Jeanette Winterson.

Africa: Eye to eye with the unknown by Michael Bright
Seen the series? The book gives you the opportunity to really pore over the stunning photography.

Rubelli : a story of Silk in Venice by Irene Favaretto
The story of the Rubelli family and their textile company in Venice going back to the 18th Century. Lots of gorgeous illustrations of their beautiful material.

The Wonders of life by Brian Cox
Featuring (on almost every page if you are to believe this digested read by Jim Crace in the Guardian weekly) Brian Cox, the rock star of the science world, Wonders of life looks at those big questions about  the amazing diversity and adaptability of life.