The Secret Lives of New Zealand Children’s Authors

Which New Zealand illustrator often gets chocolate on her artwork? Which New Zealand author once wet her pants in fright? Whose nickname is Giggleswick? Who loves to eat strawberry sandwiches? You can find out the answer to all of these questions in our New Zealand Children’s Author pages.

In our New Zealand Children’s Author pages we have interviews with New Zealand children’s authors and illustrators.  You can find out their favourite foods and authors, embarrassing moments, nicknames, what they were like at school and much more.  You’ll find interviews with authors like Margaret Mahy, Des Hunt, Elizabeth Pulford and Melinda Szymanik.  Some of our featured authors have even written short stories that you can read anywhere, anytime.  There is Giant Jimmy Jones by Gavin Bishop, The McGoodys by Joy Cowley, and It’s Quackers Around Here by Maria Gill.

We’ve added two more interviews recently, with R.L. Stedman (author of A Necklace of Souls) and Sue Copsey (author of The Ghosts of Tarawera).

This week we are celebrating New Zealand Book Week so there is no better time to check out these fun, entertaining interviews with some of our wonderful New Zealand authors and illustrators.

Off the shelf (2)

As followers of our blog will know, voracious reader Robyn has been sharing with us on a regular basis the titles that she has been adding to her For Later shelf. This time she reports back on some of the titles that have graduated to her Completed shelf.

An art theme to some books that came off the For Later shelf recently.

Gothic Wonder by Paul Binski
Cover of Gothic WonderA beautiful book. All the images are lovely to look at but my best ones are the gargoyles and the manuscripts. Favourite chapter is called the Pleasures of Unruling, featuring the unforgettable phrase ‘genitalia in marginalia’.  Gothic Churches were so expensive the monks were “very eager to highlight any financially winning miraculous or semi-miraculous events”. Finding a cache of coins was popular – a sure sign that God would provide and it was O.K. to just keep building.

Everything Is Happening by Michael Jacobs
Cover of Everything is HappeningIt’s good to look at things in detail sometimes, but lots of words on lots of pages on one work of art can be very daunting. This look at Velásquez’s painting Las Meninas (‘the maids of honour’ in Spanish) is both detailed and short. But it still manages to say some fresh things about a work that has been analyzed more than most.

Francis Bacon in Your Blood by Michael Peppiatt
Francis Bacon is a great and terrifying artist. He is also reputed to have said: “Champagne for my real friends, real pain for my sham friends”. Two reasons to read a book about him.

What books have moved off your For Later shelf recently?

Wrapped up in bookshops – NZ Bookshop Day Saturday 31 October

Tell you what book launch, Scorpio BooksSaturday 31 October is the inaugual NZ Bookshop Day. Pay a visit to a local favourite, or try someplace new.

Here’s a grab-bag of my Christchurch bookshop hangouts (do tell about your faves in the comments):

then

  • East’s Bookshop – perfectly centrally located for a browse,  saw Jasper Fforde talk there.
  • Smith’s Bookshop on Manchester Street – a cornucopia of books, you could lose yourself for hours in its rambling bookwilderness.
  • Scorpio – like a platter of temptation. (bought a book about typography called Just my Type)
  • Book city – by the IRD. I used to go there a lot with my Dad on work lunchtime rambles. The books are still in there if you peer in. (bought a book about Bronzino)
  • That shop by South City that had loads of Taschen books. (Pierre et Gilles)
  • The Children’s Bookshop – when I was a new Mum, me and my wee girl were always hanging out on Victoria Street. (Mouk)

now

  • Scorpio Books, still. The bijoux one in the Re: START, with an occasional foray to Riccarton for the big brother shop. (Bought books by Morrissey, Nick Cave, Jarvis Cocker  etc)
  • IMG_8596Best books – a pop up book store, a fab part of the new Christchurch. (as pictured)
  • The new Smith’s Bookshop at the Tannery in Woolston. (bought High noon for coaches)
  • Edgeware Paperback Centre. Shelves everywhere, heaving with books. (Bought Gwenda Turner ABC and a Raymond Briggs book)
  • University Bookshop – oh boy, not just for students. (bought a little book about bookshops)
  • Comics Compulsion in Papanui – a regular visit now is part of our lives. Comics rule! (Bob the Burger and My Little Pony comics)

To all the bookshops – and the people who make you tick and hum – you are the goodies. Love your work.

IMG_6016 Tell you what book launch, Scorpio Books

More about NZ Bookshop Day

What’s on in Christchurch

There’s a Snap me reading photo competition and an All Good: A New Zealand Colouring Competition.

Booksellers list of what’s on – here’s the Christchurch events:

Piccadilly Books – Celebrate your bookshop with your children! Bring the children in-store at 11m for a playful interactive storytelling show with Kirsty Collett, author of Fly Story Fly and while your young ones are being amused there is something for the Mums and Dads happening at the same time, internationally acclaimed postnatal educator, author, director and practitioner of BabyCues, Philippa Murphy will be in-store to chat to parents and sign copies of her book.

The Original Children’s Bookshop Christchurch
It’s Halloween, so dress up!  Spot prizes for the best costume, colouring competitions for all ages – win books, gift vouchers, Book Tokens and a Hugless Douglas toy and slippers.  Local illustrator Jenny Cooper will be instore from 11.00am – 2.00 pm and Helen Taylor will join her at noon and be here until 3.00pm.  At 2.30pm community librarian Zac McCallum will be here for story telling.

University Bookshop Canterbury  – Banned Book Quiz – Test your knowledge and be into Win!In celebration of NZ Bookshop Day UBS is running a banned/challenged book quiz. Penguin Random House, Walker Books, Hachette, HarperCollins and Nationwide Books have all kindly donated items for their awesome gift pack. Come in and give it a try! The winner will be announced on the 2nd of November.

Paper Plus Northlands – Conversation Couch & Speed Dating
Paul Cleave and Joe Bennett will be taking pride of place on a “conversation couch” at the front of the store where customers can join them for a beer/wine to discuss their books, or any other book/topic of their choosing. Kind of like speed dating with a famous author…

Scorpio Books – Meet with Local Authors and Poets
Patrick Evans, Being Eaten Alive, Making It and Gifted will be instore in the morning and over lunchtime meet Fiona Farrell, The Broken Book, The Quake Year and The Villa at the Edge of the Empire and during the afternoon meet with poets Jeffrey Paparoa Holman and Frankie McMillan. Enter the Colouring In competition and visit the store to be in to “Win Your Height In Books”.

Kia ora Keri – 30 years ago Keri Hulme won the Booker Prize for Fiction

Cover of The Bone People‘You’re not pulling my leg, are you? … Bloody hell – it’s totally unbelievable!’

That’s what Keri Hulme said when she won the Booker Prize (now the Man Booker Prize) on 31 October 1985 – nearly 30 years ago. She scooped up New Zealand’s first Booker Prize with her debut novel the bone people.

It’s a book that New Zealanders have engaged with in a unique way. At last year’s Auckland Writers Festival, it was acclaimed the inaugural Great Kiwi Classic. I think I was at uni when I read it. It was unlike anything read before, or since.

There’s a great piece in Booknotes unbound where some booky people talk about the bone people. Peter Simpson reproduces part of his 1984 review:

…The Bone People might be seen not only as a cultural document of immense significance to New Zealanders of all races and as a major novel in its own right, but also as an important advance in the development of New Zealand fiction, effecting a new synthesis of the previously separate Maori and Pakeha fictional traditions.

Librarian Jacqui (purplerulz) said of Keri Hulme: “She’s a polarising author, but the bone people was wondrous for me, her use of words, description of the landscape and the people who lived in it were so evocative to me and when I travelled to the southern West Coast after that, it made all the more sense”:

The wind has dropped. It is growing very dark. The shag line has gone back to Maukiekie, bird after bird beating forward in the wavering skein. The waves suck at the rocks and leave them reluctantly. We will come back ssssoooo… they hiss from the dark.

For a full account of Keri’s Booker win, read Keri Hulme’s Bone people wins Booker Prize.

I am a fan of Keri’s writing in Te Karaka. Here’s a recent piece on the NZ flag debate.

I am a vexillologist manqué, you see. I love flags and learning about them and flying them whenever I can, whenever it is appropriate …The one flag I never flew was the official New Zealand ensign. It is dreary and derivative, and has never spoken to my mind or heart.

Kia ora Keri, always someone who speaks to the mind, and to the heart.